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2009 Lectures and Events

Pearl of the Snowlands: A Lecture on Buddhist Printing, With Patrick Dowdey

Friday, October 9th, 3-4:30 pm

Curator Patrick Dowdey of Wesleyan University will give a lecture on the Derge Parkhang (also called the Derge Sutra Printing Temple), its history, its prominent place in the unique culture of eastern Tibet (Kham), and its part in the revival of traditional Tibetan culture and religion during China’s reform period.

Founded in 1729, the Derge Parkhang is a world cultural treasure, a repository of the cultural memory, literature and art of the Tibetan people. The Parkhang stores more than 300,000 woodblocks that are used to publish sutra, commentaries and histories of Tibetan Traditional Buddhism.

Educational materials on the exhibit will be available for faculty.

Part of Focus China & Critical Encounters: Fact & Faith.
For more information, contact the Center for Book & Paper Arts

Daniel Kelm: A Conversation on Poetic Science

Lecture: Friday, November 13, 6:30 p.m.

Daniel Kelm writes: Poetic Science offers a way of being in the world that celebrates relationship and connection. It crystallizes the broad approach that I have developed in my life and work. By combining the perspectives of art and science it moves to unify what is commonly thought of as separate. Through this fusion of body and mind, heart and head, matter and spirit, we are able to enter into a more intimate relationship with materials. And, having learned to distinguish their characteristic rhythms, ask them each to lend their unique qualities to the expressiveness of our work.

A book is most successful at telling a story when all components work together toward a single effect. So why is it that we expect words and images to be used to artistic purpose, but rarely demand the same of the binding? To many the binding provides – at most – an additional surface on which to compose visual elements. This strikes me as a lost opportunity. The deep, expressive qualities of a binding are to be found not just on its surface, but in its form, material, and movement. When these integrally support the text and imagery there is a synergistic effect, and the impact is potent.

History, Printing, and People: The Derge Parkhang and Tibetan Cultural Revival

Panel Discussion: Saturday, November 21, 3:30 p.m.

With panelists Patrick Dowdey, Wesleyan University; Clifton Meador, Columbia College; Yudru Tsomo, Lawrence University; James Canary, Indiana University.

Panelist James Canary will make a presentation on Tibetan book arts as practiced today, after which panelists will present slide lectures on the Derge Parkhang’s role in the creation and preservation of Tibetan culture and the part that it plays in the daily lives of people in Derge. They will present the region’s recent history, the history of the revival of printing there in the 1980s after 20 years of religious and cultural suppression and discuss challenges which face the Derge Parkhang in the twenty-first century.


  • Patrick Dowdey is the curator of the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Wesleyan University. Patrick is a co-curator of Pearl of the Snowlands: Buddhist Printing at the Derge Parkhang at the Center for Book and Paper Arts. He and Clifton Meador conducted three summers of field research at the Derge Parkhang on the history and culture of Tibetan Buddhist printing and printmaking. Their photographs, video and ethnography provide a vivid introduction to life in Derge and to the ancient printing process still in use at the Parkhang.
  • Clifton Meador is the Director of the MFA program in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. Meador is a photographer, writer, and designer who makes books. His recent books explore history and place through narrative and experimental design. Co-curator of Pearl of the Snowlands: Buddhist Printing at the Derge Parkhang, he designed and provided the photography for the accompanying exhibition catalog.
  • Yudru Tsomo is Assistant Professor of History at Lawrence University. A scholar of Sino-Tibetan relations, Yudru Tsomo received her PhD from Harvard University. Her dissertation, Local Aspirations and National Constraints: A Case Study of Nyarong Gonpo Namgyel and his Rise to Power in Kham (1836-1865) is a cornerstone in the study of the history of eastern Tibet.
  • James Canary is a Special Collections Conservator at Indiana University. He began studying Tibetan language and culture in the early 70s and has traveled extensively in the Himalayan region researching papermaking and documenting papermakers, scribes and printers.

​the 10th Annual Edible Book Show & Tea

Tuesday, April 1, 2009

Event Details

  • Wednesday, April 1st
  • 6 PM to 8 PM
  • Viewing and voting 6 PM – 7 PM
  • Devouring Books 7 PM – 8 PM
  • Columbia College Chicago Library, 624 South Michigan Avenue

The Edible Book Show & Tea is the most amusing thing since sliced bread; in fact, sliced bread was a vital ingredient in several of last year’s edible books. Created by Judith Hoffberg of Umbrella Editions, this is an international event, which occurs in multiple venues and time zones and consists of talented cook-artisans such as you, concocting book-like sculptures made of food and bringing them to the Columbia College Library to be consumed. Some of last year’s edible books were made of yummy things such as chocolate, salami, and of course the ubiquitous sliced bread.