Schemel Forum Hosts Two Collaborative Programs This Spring

Feb 5, 2013

The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum will offer two collaborative programs, which are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 5:30 p.m., acclaimed Pennsylvania photographer and author Sally Wiener Grotta will present a lecture titled “From Hand to Heart to Mind,” followed by a reception in connection with her visual exhibition, “American Hands.” Whether she is writing or taking photographs, Grotta is the consummate storyteller. Her words and pictures, which have appeared in hundreds of magazine articles and numerous books, reflect her deep humanism and appreciation for the poignancy and beauty of nature.

“American Hands” is Grotta’s ongoing visual celebration of artisans – blacksmiths, weavers, spinners, glassblowers, bookbinders, rug makers, etc. – who are keeping alive the traditional trades that built our country’s diverse culture. Her narrative series of portraits captures both the fascinating creative processes and the individual personalities of the craftspersons. The lecture and reception will take place in the Scranton Heritage Room at the Weinberg Memorial Library.

On Monday, April 29, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum, and Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community and government relations at The University of Scranton, will moderate “The Medium is the Message: McLuhan’s Prophecy Revisited – Public Affairs and the Media in the 21st Century.” Scranton native Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., will also participate.

In the 1960s Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher of communication theory, made the radical assertion that “the medium is the message.” McLuhan’s insight was that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not by the content it delivers, but by the characteristics of the medium itself. Fast forward to 2013 and observe that the media, both public and social, are unimaginably influential in our daily lives, making it almost impossible to separate fact from fiction and public from private. From city mayors using Twitter to communicate with their constituents to Facebook memes declaring winners following the Presidential debates, the media transform the way we engage with public events and ideas.

The round-table discussion will explore the strengths and weaknesses of a media-driven world and ways in which we might get a grip on this new reality. “It has become apparent that with the increasing presence of social media, the media as a whole is much more than a carrier of information; it also impacts our personal lives,” said Myers. “Its ubiquity, as well as the globalization of information (and disinformation), makes our world a different place.” This event, which is sponsored by the Schemel Forum in collaboration with the Office of Community Relations, is limited to 30 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. It will take place in room 305 of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

To register, contact Kym Fetsko, events coordinator, at 941-7816 or The Schemel Forum is a program of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library. For more information about programs and memberships, contact Myers at 941-4089 or

The Schemel Forum is a program of participatory learning experiences aimed at cultivating the intellect and the imagination through study and discussion of classical texts and current policies, from the arts, history and philosophy to technology and theology. Founded in 2006 through generous gifts to the Rev. George Schemel, S.J., Fund, the forum has grown quickly from a handful of informal lectures to a comprehensive enrichment program of study, dialogue, performances and special events. Session fees vary by program.


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