An interdisciplinary delegation from Illinois State University traveled to Chicago to explore connections with Mexican and Puerto Rican museums and communities. Consisting of Isra El-Beshir of Illinois Art Station; Associate Professor of Graphic Design Archana Shekara; Associate Professor of Spanish Juliet Lynd; and Professor of Sociology Maura Toro-Morn, the group visited the National Museum of Mexican Art, and met with Illinois State alumna Thelma Uranga-Baca, who is the communications and development manager at the museum.
Puerto Rican poet Eduardo Arocho provided the delegation with a tour of the murals along Paseo Boricua, the heart of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. The day ended with a visit to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, where Billy Occasio, CEO and president of the museum, discussed incoming exhibits and the need to encourage college students to envision careers with museums.
“Interdisciplinarity is an important principle of the creation of knowledge in this global age, but exactly how do we operationalize that principle?” asked Toro-Morn. “We do that step-by-step, talking to colleagues, doing research that draws from other disciplines and by going places with colleagues. Our trip to Chicago is how interdisciplinarity gets built one small step at a time. By bringing together insights from the fields of art, history, sociology, languages, and community development, we educate our students to be informed leaders who will shape the future of our cultural institutions.”