Replica of ancient cave will transport visitors to China’s Silk Road

For ten days this fall, Bryant University will use virtual reality and painstakingly reconstructed replicas to bring an ancient Chinese cave and its artistic treasures to campus.

Dunhuang: An Oasis for East-West Cultural, Commercial, and Religious Exchanges Along the Ancient Silk Road  opens Sept. 27 in the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology. Bryant is the first academic institution in the United States to host this interactive exhibition.

The centerpiece is a replica of Cave 285 of the Mogao Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Gansu Province, China. This visually rich 6th-century cave is known for its exceptional collection of Buddhist artworks.

Through Oct. 6, guided tours will take visitors through the exhibition — a panoramic projection of the cave site — and into the reconstructed cave, an experience that will incorporate virtual reality. Events related to the exhibition include a series of seminars focusing on arts, culture, history, and religions represented in these caves.

Details about tour reservations and the complete calendar of events are forthcoming from the U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University.

Dunhuang was a melting pot of cultures and religions between the the 4th and 14th centuries. Travelers to Dunhuang dug caves into the nearby cliff faces, then decorated the caves with art in the hope of ensuring safety and success along the Silk Road. The result: The Mogao Caves house one of the world’s most extensive sites of Buddhist murals, statues, manuscripts, as well as art from Islamic and Greek cultures.

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Brown statement on proposed agreement with the Pokanoket

Brown University issued this statement on Thursday, Aug. 31, regarding a proposed path toward an agreement to resolve concerns of Pokanokets encamped on University-owned land in Bristol, R.I.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On Wednesday, Aug. 30, Brown University proposed a path forward toward an agreement with the Pokanoket tribe, which established an encampment on Brown-owned property in Bristol, R.I., on Sunday, Aug. 20. On Thursday, Aug. 31, the Pokanokets refused the proposed path forward.

Brown issued the following statement at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31. Previous Brown statements related to the encampment can be viewed here.

Brown Statement on Proposed Path Forward with the Pokanoket

Brown University is committed to a respectful process that resolves the Pokanoket encampment and addresses the future stewardship, conservation, preservation and sustainable access to the Haffenreffer / Mt. Hope property in Bristol, Rhode Island. Toward this end, the University has proposed a plan that respects the interests of the Pokanokets, as well as the interests of the multiple Native peoples with historical connections to Brown’s property.

The University is deeply concerned and saddened that this plan — as well as all efforts and entreaties to work toward an inclusive resolution — has been refused by the Pokanoket, based on their contention that other Native tribes do not have a legitimate interest in or a connection with this land.

The Pokanokets established their encampment on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Representatives from Brown met with the Pokanoket leadership on Tuesday, Aug. 22, and were presented with documents that demanded that the University grant them exclusive ownership of the Brown-owned Mt. Hope property. These documents had not been previously sent to Brown, and the Pokanokets have acknowledged publicly that Brown had no previous knowledge of their efforts to work with the State of Rhode Island to secure title to the land. Brown has record title to and ownership of the land, which was donated to the University by the Haffenreffer family beginning in the 1950s. It houses a museum, research center and nature preserve.

The University met again with the Pokanoket leaders on Aug. 28 to better understand their concerns. On Aug. 30, the University presented the Pokanokets with a “Path Forward Principles and Parameters” document. It outlines a proposed process to develop and implement a plan for the Brown property in Bristol that ensures conservation, preservation and sustainable access to Native tribes with ties to the property.

Key aspects of the plan include the following:

  • “a consultative process … that respects the historical interests of the various Native peoples related to this land”;
  • “conservation and preservation of, and sustainable access to, the historically significant and sacred sites on the property in a manner that is beneficial and respectful to the Native peoples that are related to this land, to the University, and to other stakeholders”;
  • “consultation and engagement with all Native peoples with an interest and stake in the past, present and future of the Bristol property,” consistent with principles of open access to Native peoples;
  • “a thorough cultural and environmental resource survey, including oral history, geographical information, and archeological and historical research, of the Bristol property;”
  • development of “consensus recommendations for the future of the property”;
  • Brown’s commitment to provide funding and staff to carry out the process; and
  • an end to the encampment to initiate this process.

Brown is disappointed that the Pokanokets (responding through legal counsel) have asserted that they are not concerned about the claims of other tribes to the land, and that such claims are “totally wrong.” The encamped Pokanokets have proposed another meeting to take place soon, and Brown is committed to further discussions with the hope of reaching agreement about a stewardship approach that is inclusive of the Native peoples that have a historical connection to the Bristol property.

Unfortunately, the modern Pokanoket group refuses to recognize the connection of the other peoples to the land, and that is something Brown does not find ethical or acceptable as owners and stewards of the Bristol property.

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Project Scientist’s STEM Academy Fosters Young Scientists at JWU

8/11/17 | This summer, Johnson & Wales University’s Charlotte Campus collaborated with Project Scientist to offer a STEM-focused summer academy for girls ages 4-12 with a passion, talent and aptitude for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This marked the first time the academy was held at JWU Charlotte.

“We love the urban location. It’s easy for parents to drop off their daughter on the way to work,” Project Scientist’s CEO and founder, Sandy Marshall, said. “We like the classroom space, the outdoor space for lunch and PE — and the technology. We Skype with STEM professionals from across the world.”

Students started their mornings in JWU Charlotte’s Hance Auditorium listening to STEM superstars, including Ashley Hall, a clinical research scientist with GlaxoSmithKline.

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Trust academics to design classrooms of future, says president

How do you create a university building that will encourage outstanding innovative teaching?

That question has vexed architects, educationalists and higher education leaders throughout the world for years despite billions of pounds being poured into flashy campus facilities. However, one US university believes that it has found a relatively simple answer: ask academics to design their own classrooms.

While undertaking a major upgrade of its Rhode Island campus, Bryant University asked its most innovative teaching staff to take the lead on the creation of a $31.5 million (£24.8 million) Academic Innovation Centre.

Teachers from all disciplines were invited to submit ideas for a syllabus that would be taught in a bold new way, with an eight-strong faculty committee choosing the best applicants to guide architects on plans that could put their ideas into action.

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