In the Round Series // Moving A Land Acknowledgment Statement Toward Action and Practice

This project communicates the vitality of acknowledging and learning about Native American cultures throughout the year.

Jenn Stucker 
Associate Professor
Bowling Green State University

Heidi Nees
Assistant Professor
Bowling Green State University

To situate the importance of Land Acknowledgment and Native American voices to the BGSU community, we established a year-long series for 2022 by hosting six speakers, one in each area from the Arts at BGSU: Creative Writing, Art, Design, Music, Theatre, and Film.

Our goals for the IN THE ROUND:

  • Educate our students and the broader campus and local communities about artistic expressions and processes with which they might not be familiar
  • Create space that is inclusive of Indigenous voices and Indigenous works that are currently underrepresented at our university
  • Contribute to decolonizing curriculum by offering opportunities for faculty to incorporate the guest artists’ engagements into their course syllabi
  • Connect members of our university community to Indigenous artists and help to build relationships with the artists that may foster further collaboration
  • Support BGSU’s strategic goals toward diversity and belonging

This project creates opportunities to enrich the learning, experiences, and perspectives of all members of our campus and local communities. Exposure to the artists’ works and techniques through which they share their experiences, worldviews, and reactions to the cultural and historical moments we all find ourselves can facilitate growth and dynamic learning opportunities for students, staff, and faculty. Furthermore, this project does not limit this celebration and visibility to Native American Heritage Month (November). While we recognize and appreciate the importance of this month, we also believe in sustained programming. This project communicates the vitality of acknowledging and learning about Native American cultures throughout the year.

Through this comprehensive project, the IN THE ROUND Speaker Series works to advance the contemporary presence of Native and Indigenous peoples to promote education, understanding, empathy, and reflection for the public good.

Creating, producing, and facilitating IN THE ROUND required:

  • Researching and curating the speaker series list in consultation with the Arts academic units
  • Regular meetings and email communications with a variety of stakeholders (approximately 800+ email correspondences and growing)
  • Fundraising ($44,000 for 2022) and budgeting for honorariums, travel, hotel, event rentals, photography, hosting, and promotions
  • Collaborating with the Arts areas, the Office of Diversity and Belonging, and Bowling Green community partners to coordinate events for maximum impact and reduce overlaps
  • Coordination of speaker invitations, travel arrangements, event agendas, classroom visits, ICS BG Ideas podcasts, radio interviews, and community activities at the Wood County District Public Library
  • Working with BGSU’s Jerome Library to produce LibGuides of collected research and resources for faculty, staff, and student access
  • Design of ITR promotional materials (website, social media content/posts, posters, thank you notes, digital signs, advertisements, post-event documents, and ephemera) to publicize the series and sponsors
  • Inviting university leadership to officially open the speaker series with the Land Acknowledgment statement and an introduction to the importance of creative work as a witness to our histories and envisioning new futures

The artists in this series engage in critical examination and exploration of issues facing Native and Indigenous Americans, including, but not limited to, sovereignty, representation, ecology, historical narratives, and present perceptions through a variety of artistic and expressive means. These outstanding speakers reached over 200 attendees at each event and connected their work to 1200 people from students, staff, faculty, and Bowling Green community members.

2022 In The Round Speakers

  • SETH THOMAS SUTTON, Artist. Activist. Filmmaker. Professor.
  • CAROLE LINDSTROM & MICHAELA GOADE, Author & Illustrator of We Are Water Protectors.
  • SADIE RED WING, Designer. Educator.
  • FRANK WALN, Hip Hop Artist. Music Producer.
  • MARY KATHRYN NAGLE, Playwright. Lawyer.
  • PAT PRUITT, Metalsmith Artist.

As creators of IN THE ROUND, Stucker and Nees soon realized creating a single-year event would not be enough to move BGSU’s Land Acknowledgment statement from words into action. Therefore, they have already secured $19,000 in funding for their Spring 2023 IN THE ROUND event. In March, the series will host Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal, author and illustrator of the award-winning children’s book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story.


Jenn Stucker is an associate professor and chair of Graphic Design at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). She earned her BFA degree in Graphic Design from BGSU and her MFA in Graphic Design from Eastern Michigan University. Her work appears in several books on design, such as Graphic Design: The New Basics, Introduction to Graphic Design: A Guide to Thinking, Process and Style, and Collaboration in Design Education. She has also received award recognition in numerous design publications and has presented at several design conferences across the country and internationally on her teaching and research interests of design pedagogy, community engagement, and creative placemaking. She has co-chaired two AIGA Design Education conferences and, in May 2023, will chair the UCDA Design Education Summit. In addition to co-creating In the Round with collaborator Heidi Nees, Jenn is pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at BGSU.

Heidi L. Nees is an Assistant Professor of Theatre in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University. She teaches theatre history and studies courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, she directs in the department’s production program. Her research interests include theatre historiography, Native American drama, representations of the American “frontier” in performance, and outdoor historical dramas. Heidi has published in Theatre History Studies, Popular Entertainment Studies, Theatre Annual, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, and Ecumenica, and is currently working on a monograph about representations of Native American histories in outdoor historical dramas. Heidi is also the co-creator, with Associate Professor Jenn Stucker (School of Art), of In the Round: a guest speaker series featuring Native American and Indigenous creatives at BGSU.

Body Type

Samantha Flora
Co-Founder and Designer
JAM Studios and Fat Kid Type Foundry

Centered around issues of identity, the body, womanhood, and how they interconnect with design in the context of body image and the body positivity movement, Body Type: An Analysis of Fat Identity and Fat Bias in Graphic Design, is an extensive body of research which connects type, design, and the body through humanistic tradition.

In addition to a brief overview of the research, presenter will discuss Body Type—a typeface based on her own bodily proportions, which seeks to interject the fat female form into an industry where fat bodies have been marginalized by practice. It is a story of radical self-acceptance that seeks to redefine what self-love means to the modern woman and how that change can be—and should be, shaped by design.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 5.1: DePaul University on October 27, 2018.

Reveal, Empower, Propel: Design Education for a Tenacious Community

Herb Vincent Peterson
Associate Professor of Design: Coordinator of Graphic Design
Co-Founder of Marion Design Co.
Division of Art + Design
Indiana Wesleyan University

Wendy Puffer
Assistant Professor: Coordinator of Design for Social Impact
Co-Founder of Marion Design Co.
Division of Art + Design
Indiana Wesleyan University

No larger than 30,000 people and deeply bruised by a downtrodden economy rooted in racial tensions, the rustbelt town of Marion, Indiana begs to become triumphant once again. A community previously slated to become the thriving metropolis of the Mid-West, now promotes a residue of the past with blighted storefronts, broken homes, and vast and vacant warehouses. Here lies the real crossroads of America. Never before has there been such a need to see Design as a mechanism to reveal a true identity within a community and empower its people to propel forward into a new chapter of vibrant life.

How can design empower radical change? How can students learning design employ empathy to develop relational design practices and drive trust in a community plagued by deep trauma? What is the responsibility of University design programs connected to rust-belt and blighted American towns?

This is the story about a social design studio and the subsequent movements that change how we consider community activism and design education. The studio of faculty and undergraduates face wicked problems head on while gaining experience conducting ethnographic research with community members. The environment of unbridled growth of ideas, reflective of the academic model of the middle ages, encourages individuality and freedom of thought. Through an immersive experience where students learn to become design leaders, the social design studio of Marion Design Co. utilizes design thinking strategies engaging community toward authentic relationships, bringing much needed hope and innovation.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 3.3: Kent State University on Saturday, March 11, 2017.