Interdisciplinary Summer Research Circle

16 October 2023
By Chloe Fandel, Assistant Professor of Geology; Jake Morton, Assistant Professor of Classics; Andrea Mazzariello, Assistant Professor of Music

This research circle began from the premise that despite our very different disciplines and associated methodologies, the three of us (Chloe Fandel, Geology; Jake Morton, Classics; Andrea Mazzariello, Music) could grow our summer projects together. In fact, the differences between our approaches actually fueled a deeper understanding of our individual work, seeing it in relation to other ways of knowing, holding our own priorities with perhaps a little more lightness, and a greater sense of possibility.

We’d come into summer work with specific agendas. Jake Morton would do fieldwork in Greece and planned to then work through articles that were at various stages in the publication pipeline. Chloe Fandel set out to move her research more fully into the geologic landscape of Minnesota, doing boots-on-the-ground work in sites that were new to her in a regular weekly rhythm. Andrea Mazzariello planned to do a combination of recording studio work and preparation for live performance of electroacoustic work, at a functional programming conference in Seattle in early September.

Interestingly, everyone’s work took an unexpected turn, sometimes drastically so. It seemed that the ability to communicate these transitions in priorities, approaches, and even products to each other allowed these changes to really move the work, to redefine creative and research directions. Because of our partnership, the idea that work could evolve and change wasn’t a thing to contend with alone. We saw it happening across disciplines and we saw it happening across individual projects. For Jake, involvement in co-authored papers shifted, as he worked with a student as well as with a former VAP here at Carleton and the expectation regarding active writing versus more conceptual work needed to be renegotiated and reimagined. For Chloe, the discovery of the record-keeping and planning processes for geothermal projects at Carleton became a surprise point of research emphasis and a genesis for future work. For Andrea, midsummer performances yielded unexpected interest in a new project from a musician in attendance.

Because we were able to chart the course of these changes together, and encourage each other to follow the threads, detours came to real fruition. Jake will be submitting two articles this fall, to ExArc and to Greece and Rome Journal. In addition, this summer’s work became the template for a full summer’s work in 2025 in terms of future teaching and research.  Chloe worked on a poster presentation for a major conference in her field, and laid the groundwork for a grant application to the Keck Geology Consortium. Andrea finalized a new commission in terms of its composition, performance, and recording, working with a novel instrumentation and linking notated work to music he’d only ever really understood by rote.

This research circle afforded all of us the opportunity to reinvigorate our work, to return to teaching and to expand our research with enthusiasm and renewed energy. It celebrated the idea of not yet knowing, of discovery in the midst of following other prerogatives, and loosened for us a sense of needing to move in sequence down a prefigured path. We’re grateful to have recognized these new potentials in each others’ work, and to have supported each others’ courage to actualize them.