Confluence Center communes
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Javier Duran, Associate Professor of Spanish and Border Studies, speaks at The Helen S. Schaefer Poetry Center to welcome the new Confluence Center for Creative Learning on Monday, October 24.
The Confluence: Center for Creative Inquiry welcomed the community during a ceremony at the UA Poetry Center on Tuesday.
The new UA center acts as a cohesive unit that encompasses programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The center “aims to be a world-class incubator for interdisciplinary research and creative activities that identify, address and work toward solutions pertaining to the current grand challenges” of humanity, according to its website. Javier Duran, the center’s director, said it is in essence a liberal arts program focused on research and creativity.
The center was established about a year ago, but the ceremony was its official announcement to the UA community about its existence on campus. He said the center hopes to be open soon, but is undergoing renovations in its new home on Helen Street and Fremont Avenue.
Duran explained that the center aims to foster and promote growth of interdisciplinary studies and scholarly activities with an “outside of the box” approach for undergraduate students.
“Confluence has been spawned specifically to provide a common space, both literally and figuratively, where intuitively disprate endeavors might find congruence. Music and mathematics, dance and engineering,” said John Olsen, a regents’ professor in the School of Anthropology.
The center also provides a way for students to enroll in topics that would otherwise be divergent, and how those fields of studies may interact.
A notable feature of the center is its partnership with the Arizona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. Lauren Johnston, a junior studying ecology and evolutionary biology and editor in chief of the journal, said the center provides a space for students to do research and have a chance to show what kind of interdisciplinary study is being done at the UA.
Johnston said that she and her partner Emma Kleiner, a junior majoring in art history and history, “thought this up before Confluence came about as a way of highlighting interdisciplinary research that students are doing on campus that sometimes doesn’t always fit into say, the geography journal, or any of the number of journals that we publish on this campus.”
Johnston added that they currently have an open call for research papers for the journal. She said they can be submitted through the Confluence website until Jan. 15. They expect to have the first edition published by April 2012.
UA President Eugene Sander congratulated the administration of former President Robert Shelton for funding the center, and said its central mission fills an important niche in the social sciences.
“I think it was an excellent idea and I can tell you that I look forward to the long history of this center,” he said. “I think it will have a bright future here.”