Ideas magazine is an exhibition catalog meant to contextualize and illuminate the work of the researchers, leaders, and creators who visit Purdue’s Honors College as part of the annual “Visiting Scholars” series. Content of the magazine is created by members of the Visiting Scholars seminar class and student editors.
History of Ideas
In the summer of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty, staff, and students at Purdue University worked nonstop to retool our usual way of teaching, learning, and living. As we installed outdoor classroom tents, purchased facial coverings and practiced wearing them, established best practices for Zoom-ified class meetings, we also realized that the strictures of the “Protect Purdue” plan would mean that we could not host our series of visiting scholars in person. In pre-pandemic years, the Honors College brought a number of distinguished scholars and creators to campus. When we are able to host our visitors in person, they stay in our on-site apartment, meet students for coffee, conduct in-person workshops, performances, and lectures.
What to do when such face-to-face engagement is impossible? When it violates the strictures of the “Protect Purdue” meant to keep us all safe?
In the fall of 2020, rather than coming to campus, our distinguished speakers “visited” virtually. The Honors College livestreamed a series of recorded interviews followed by question-and-answer sessions, open to the public. Smaller groups of students met—always virtually—with our visitors to ask follow up questions. Our partners across campus hosted livestream seminars and performances so that we could engage even more deeply with our visitors’ work.
The inaugural issue of Ideas magazine was created as a way to open up the Visiting Scholars series to more people—to offer contextual material about our visitors and their work and provide links to the recorded interviews. The pieces included in the issues of the magazine were created by students—members of the Visiting Scholars seminar and a talented team of student editors.
Volume 1 is an experiment. A draft. A collaborative pilot project. A pandemic-driven pivot from in-person forms of learning to online, asynchronous learning. We built the plane while we were flying it, so you’ll likely see some less-than-perfect bit and pieces. No doubt we’ll have to open up the engine again to tinker with it to get it really soaring. But it’s off the ground! As our own Amelia Earhart put it, flying “may not be all plain sailing. . . . But the fun of it is worth the price” (p. 96).
Earhart, A. (1932; 1977). The fun of It. Academy Chicago Publishers.