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Home » News » First Conference/Workshop of Clark Memorial Library Core Program Co-organized by Paul Niell

First Conference/Workshop of Clark Memorial Library Core Program Co-organized by Paul Niell

Published January 5, 2023

Associate Professors of Art History Paul Niell and Stella Nair (University of California, Los Angeles) completed their first conference and workshop of “The Forgotten Canopy” core program at the Center for 17th– and 18th– Century Studies in the Clark Memorial Library of UCLA, November 4-5, 2022.

Garden Pavilion, Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, UCLA.The event consisted of two days of meetings that brought Indigenous Knowledge Bearers and scholars from art history, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and archaeobotany together to expand upon a topic that began as a conversation between Niell and Nair about thatch construction. The conference was accompanied by a workshop in the university’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and supported by the American Indian Studies Center of UCLA. The workshop included a plant scavenger hunt; presentations by Bob Ramírez, (Tongva), President of the Gabrielino Tongva Springs Foundation, and Bonny Bentzin, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, UCLA; and a closing from Will Madrigal and the Traditional Cahuilla Bird Singers.

Dr. Niell writes,

This workshop would not have been possible without the dedication and creativity of a team of FSU and UCLA graduate students who worked to research plants in the UCLA Botanical Garden and to synthesize a guidebook for the workshop’s self-guided tour. The FSU production team was led by Amanda Brito and included Matt Hunter of Strozier Library and Estefanía Vallejo Santiago, who designed the guidebook’s cover. Research and writing were supplied by Amanda Brito, Olivia Hackney, Julia Kershaw, Jackie Padilla, Laura Parces (of FSU Department of Classics), and Tanya Pattison. Brittney Pieper assisted in the development of the conference website. The workshop served to transition the academic conversation of the conferences to a direct engagement with the original caretakers of the land and myriad issues of the local, ecological change, and sustainable practices. It was an enormous success!

“The Forgotten Canopy” returns for two additional conferences, February 10-11, 2023 on “Ephemeral Architecture” and April 14-15, 2023 on “Imperialism,” each of which will have its own associated workshop. The conferences will be lived streamed on the Clark’s Center for 17th– and 18th– Century Studies YouTube Channel.

Group photo of conference organizers and participants.

Above: The Forgotten Canopy co-organizers Stella Nair and Paul Niell; Fernandeno Tatavium Tribal President, Rudy Ortega, Jr.; Gabrielino Tongva Community Outreach Coordinator Mona Morales Recalde; director of the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA Shannon Speed; UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt; and Dean of Social Sciences Abel Valenzuela. Above right: Garden Pavilion, Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, UCLA.