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iSTEAM: Visual Analysis and Ethnobotany


​​The iSTEAM, Visual Analysis and Ethnobotany problem-based workshop is designed to encourage an exploration of how we communicate using dyed materials. We will examine our distant past from ancient cave paintings to our present day contemporary works of art through hands on experiments, chemical analysis and documentary photography. Participants will dive into the philosophical and anthropological questions of humankind and the necessity of decorating, to the actual processes, characterization and photo/video documentation to present their findings during the program closing event.

About the Presenters:

Jocelyn Alcantara-Garcia​

Assistant Professor, Art Conservation     

Jocelyn Alcantara-Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware. She is a conservation scientist with research interests that involve historic paper and writing materials alongside natural dyes related to textiles and their trade. She has participated in numerous interdisciplinary teams of conservators and scientists, with work that spanned from pre-Columbian murals to modern artists’ paintings degradation. Before joining UD, she led research that mapped iron gall inks through their chemical profile, which helped in understanding the evolution of this important material and its degradation. Most recently, she pioneered research on Norwich wools and their trade, and teaming up with art historians, they are starting to unveil the secrets of master dyers from one of the most important textile producers in history. She has conducted scientific research on the cultural heritage arena at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the United States; the National Museum Contemporary of Art Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Spain; the National Council of Conservation of Cultural Heritage (CNCPC-INAH), the General National Archive (AGN) and the Institute of Physics (IF-UNAM) in her native Mexico.

Jon Cox​     

Assistant Professor, Art & Design

Jon Cox is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Project Liaison in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Lab at the University of Delaware. He has served as a Board Member of the Dorobo Fund for Tanzania since 2006. Cox’s latest published work was a six-year documentary book project with hunter-gatherers in Tanzania titled Hadzabe, By the Light of a Million Fires. Cox has directed over twenty photographic study abroad programs across the globe including destinations to Antarctica, South East Asia, Tanzania, Australia, Tasmania and several countries in South America. He was a pioneer in the field of digital photography, served as the adventure photographer/writer for Digital Camera Magazine and authored two Amphoto digital photography books. Cox is the 2014 co-recipient of a National Geographic – Genographic Legacy Fund Grant to support a collaborative cultural mapping initiative with the Ese’Eja hunter-gatherers living in the Amazon basin of Peru.

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  • Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories
  • 221 Academy Street, Suite 402
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-6400
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