Imagine you walk into a parlor where a conversation is already taking place, and has been for some time. After listening, you join in, but at a certain point you must leave and the discussion continues on without you. This is how Kenneth Burke, philosopher and rhetorician, characterized the writing process. In his story the parlor is theoretical, but what if we were able to create a physical space where discussion, discovery, and collaboration could freely occur? This vision has culminated in the creation of the new English ThinkSpace, a place where undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni and faculty from across the English Department can meet and share new perspectives.
The idea for the 564-square-foot space was conceived in 2018 and completed in September 2021. An open bank of windows overlooking the IUPUI Campus Center keeps users connected to the outside world. Folding tables and stackable chairs allow for the space to be reconfigured within minutes for a variety of events and uses, including film screenings, writing workshops, work-in-progress talks, readings, student group meetings, project collaboration, and individual study. Thoughtful additions of device charging stations and a plethora of outlets ensure that both traditionalists and the technologically savvy can feel at home. In the future, the newly installed kitchenette will engender a Beatnik coffee-fueled haven.
The ThinkSpace was made possible with support from a $25,000 Learning Environments Grant from the IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning along with English Department funds. The School of Liberal Arts and the Department of English worked closely with staff from the IU Capital Planning and Facilities to design every aspect, from room configuration to furnishings to top-notch video and audio capabilities.
With the creation of the English ThinkSpace, we have the opportunity to create a place, a space with meaning, for members of the English community for years to come.