Drexel Unites to Promote One Book, One Philadelphia
Every year, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s 2017 One Book, One Philadelphia program brings Philadelphians together to read, discuss and celebrate one book. Drexel has been a longtime community collaborator with the initiative, but this year marks a change in its support — namely, a more concentrated effort on behalf of Drexel programs and colleges to create interdisciplinary panels and discussions to enhance the reading and understanding of this year’s chosen One Book, One Philadelphia novel, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
Drexel has participated in the Free Library’s annual program many times over its 15 years of existence, though usually through the efforts of individual professors or programs. This year, however, people and programs from across the University worked together to create and promote a variety of interdisciplinary activities.
Faculty and staff members from the College of Arts and Sciences, the A. J. Drexel Autism Institute, the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, the Pennoni Honors College, the Dornsife School of Public Health, the Office of Student Life and the Office of Equality and Diversity have prepared four events that are free and open to all participants.
The cross-collaborative nature of the University’s programming relates to the protagonist of the 2003 mystery novel, who is a young boy with an autism spectrum condition.
“This book and the on-campus events planned around it present a wonderful opportunity for participants to consider and discuss the ways in which neurodiversity, specifically, and individual differences, in general, effect and enhance our ways of interacting with and understanding the world around us,” said Gerard Hoefling, PhD, director of the Drexel Autism Support Program in the Office of Student Life.
Last year, for example, students, faculty and community residents involved with Writers Room, a College of Arts and Sciences initiative within the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, attended the launch event for One Book, One Philadelphia and wrote reflections on the program afterward. Flash forward one year later and Writers Room is hosting and participating in a slew of events.
“We see so much deep learning happen when our writers from the community and those from campus get together to write and share their work,” said Valerie Fox, PhD, teaching professor and Faculty Writing Fellow in the University Writing Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We think it is important to introduce community writers to what's going on around campus, and also to introduce Dornsife activities to our "traditional" full-time students.”
The organization will host a pre-event interactive experience before a panel on Feb. 22 that will relate to a writing workshop held at Lindy Terrace on March 7, for example. Writers Room Advisory Committee Chair and community resident Carol McCullough will also speak alongside faculty, staff and students from the A. J. Drexel Autism Institute and the Drexel Autism Support Program at the Feb. 22 panel.
“This year's selection teaches us that many of the 'curious incidences' of behavior in children or adults we as strangers encounter in passing are not to be judged harshly but recognized as manifestations of adjustments which allow them to live their own lives in a complex world,” said McCullough. “We readers are made aware that while the highest brilliance can coexist with social awkwardness and blundering misstep, as we improve our own abilities to read the clues before us to recognize what we see, judgment can be replaced with compassionate understanding.”
The One Book, One Philadelphia program runs until the beginning of May. Here are the events that Drexel is participating in and/or hosting:
Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Pen & Pencil Club, 1522 Latimer St.
Join Painted Bride Quarterly, one of the country’s longest-running literary magazines, for a taste of their "Slam, Bam" improv writing game, plus a night of literary readings. Come get inspired by their interactive game, plus a lineup of local writers who will share their responses to themes in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Painted Bride Quarterly is co-edited by Kathy Volk Miller, a teaching professor of English and director of the graduate program in Publishing as well as the Drexel Publishing Group in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Feb. 22, 5 p.m.
Mitchell Auditorium, Bossone Research Center, 3140 Market St.
Join Drexel University in unpacking “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” as you discuss the experience of the protagonist and gain a greater understanding that comes from thinking about this hypothetical scenario. The program will include faculty, staff and students from the A. J. Drexel Autism Institute, the Drexel Autism Support Program, the College of Arts and Sciences, and partners across the University.
There will be a 5 p.m. reception and 6 p.m. program. The pre-event reception will include interactive experiences to engage attendees in thoughtful and reflective ways. Writing samples created during the reception will then be shown off at the Writers Room:
What Was What Can Be event on March 7.
March 7, 4:30 p.m.
Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, 3509 Spring Garden St.
Mark Haddon, author of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” says the secret of all good writing is crossing things out. Join Writer's Room to discover what we learn when we clear away what was in order to make space for what can be. A free community dinner that is open to all will immediately follow the workshop. This program is hosted by Drexel’s University Writing Program and the College of Arts and Sciences.
March 7, 6 p.m.
Northeast Regional Library
Individuals with varying perspectives of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) including policymakers, researchers, family members, and self-advocates, will speak to their unique experiences in their various roles of having ASD, supporting individuals with ASD, or working in the field of ASD research and policy. Craig Newschaffer, PhD, the founding director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Dornsife School of Public Health will moderate this panel. The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute applies a public health science approach to address challenges facing individuals with ASD and their families.