Each month, The Stone House Center for Public Humanities interviews a humanities scholar or community member and asks them everything from why they believe the humanities are important to what they're currently binge-watching. We hope that our new blog series, Coffee & Questions, will inspire you, introduce you to a variety of people and fields, as well as create new conversations.
Our guest this month is Julia Null, Student Assistant at the Stone House Center for Public Humanities (CPH). Julia is an art major and graphic design minor at Slippery Rock University. She is from Canton, OH and currently a Senior at Slippery Rock University. After school, she hopes to find a position working as a Graphic Designer or Art Director. She assists the CPH in designing eye-catching event flyers, informational handouts, and program booklets. She also writes a variety of articles about the importance of the humanities.
What inspires you in your current position/role?
I am inspired by the past experience of designing various types of work. Through the knowledge and skills learned over the years I am able to be inspired to invent a new approach in designs.
What work experiences (past or present) have been the most educational for you, and why?
The most educational experiences have been in the event where I received corrections. When I have done something incorrect or have not known how to use a certain tool, I gain the most valuable knowledge. By learning from mistakes the information sticks better.
What's a book you've always wanted to read but haven't gotten around to?
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. I have seen the movie and heard the story many times as it is one of my favorites. However, I have yet to read the original book. I hope to find the time within the next few years.
What shows are you currently binge-watching?
I am currently watching Greys Anatomy and re-watching The Office.
What is the worst job that you had while working through your degree and what would you tell your past self now?
The worst job I ever held during college was when I worked at Wendy’s. It was a very humbling job. I was required to learn how to thrive in a hostile environment. I had to learn ways of dealing with difficult people. I also had to deal with the labor of wash dishes and preparing food. This job taught me to be patient, respect other people and most of all that I did not want to do this the rest of my life. It gave me the motivation to want to finish my degree to better myself and create better opportunities. I did not enjoy the time I spent working at Wendy’s but it did help me realize what I did not in life.
Why are the humanities important to you?
The humanities are important to me because it pertains to everything I do. Every subject and activity leads back to being a part of the humanities. Art is a major component in the humanities in my opinion and to me art is extremely important. Science and literature are equally important in my mind. The humanities is such a broad category it is hard to not believe they are important. The humanities give meaning and purpose to our lives.
Check back next month for more Coffee & Questions. In case you missed our previous interview with Dr. Joshua Drake, click HERE.
Science gives answers to the way things work and provides never ending questions, and the world relies on science to function. For example, our society depends on devices such as a smart phones, which were created as a product of science. It is extremely difficult to live in our society without skill and knowledge of technology, thus making science a necessity to survive. This does not mean the humanities are a lesser necessity. In fact, the humanities encompass who we are as humans and the meaning of life.
Although science and the humanities are different in many ways, they provide the same quality of work to life. We simply could not survive with just science or just art. They work together in harmony.
In an article by John Horgan, he describes the importance of science and the humanities combined: "We live in a world increasingly dominated by science. And that's fine. I became a science writer because I think science is the most exciting, dynamic, consequential part of human culture, and I wanted to be a part of that. Also, I have two college-age kids, and I'd be thrilled if they pursued careers in science, engineering or medicine. I certainly want them to learn as much science and math as they can, because those skills can help you get a great job. But it is precisely because science is so powerful that we need the humanities now more than ever. In your science, mathematics and engineering classes, you're given facts, answers, knowledge, truth. Your professors say, "This is how things are." They give you certainty. The humanities, at least the way I teach them, give you uncertainty, doubt and skepticism."
As Horgan explains, science teaches you facts, and the humanities teaches you uncertainty. We need opposites to function. Combined, they create a well functioning society.
Want to learn more about the Stone House Center for Public Humanities and how the humanities are helping our community? Click here to learn more.
The Impressions In Red Exhibition was a culmination of the international collaboration between the Fiber Art Studio at Slippery Rock University and the Academy of Fine Art in Gdansk, Poland, initiated by Barbara Westman, Associate Professor, Art. This was the fourth year of this collaboration. The exhibit ran in October 2017 as part of the National Arts & Humanities Month.
To learn more about the Stone House Center for Public Humanities & our upcoming events visit: www.stonehousecph.org
Our vision is to create a community of learners enriched, engaged and enlightened through the humanities.