Whiteley Center 20th Anniversary . 2020
Tribute from artist Barbara Mutscheller
Twenty years ago Helen and Arthur Whiteley gave U of W, Friday Harbor Labs, Whiteley Center. It was their vision, to provide a retreat for scholars and artists to contemplate, create and write in a peaceful and quiet environment.
In October 2019, I was honored to be accepted for a month-long stay at the Whiteley Center to carry out my creative work. This creative work was a life size sculpture named Virago, meaning a woman of masculine strength or spirit. Her composition is a wire skeleton reinforced by a 5 ft metal rod, encased in fabric dipped cement. Positioned and fixed on a 45 inch metal base. Her design is stylized, three dimensional, vague in feature but distinguishable form, making it possible for women to identify with each other across national, racial and religious boundaries. The purpose for this sculpture is a declaration to women of the “Me Two” movement and denotes the fundamental change taking place for women of this earth.
As I took up residence in the Craftsman Style cottage and idyllic Macfarlane Art Studio I found that nature is integrated into the total design of both structures. I am reminded of the day as I closed up my studio and turned back to check all was off, and found a deer(a large buck) gazing into the window. A bit startled at first but calmed by his soft brown eyes, I felt perhaps he was just curious to see what I did each day.
Each day on campus brought contemplation of the scenery surrounding the campus, insight into my talent as an artist and inspiration from other HRWC visitors and scientists. Through shared dialogue, taking part in scientific experiments and attending lively lectures, my art work encompassed all of these parts. A time capsule with stories, artifacts and quotes collected from the above, was buried in the body of Virago to commemorate my journey.
“I once read that in a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike” ~ Paulo Coelho, Aleph.
My path was filled with incredible natural beauty, and inspiration from deep rooted visions that live within the Whiteley Center. This fortunate journey helped me to bravely embrace new artistic mediums and crafts, emboldened my steps for future artistic endeavors and brought renewed strength to continue my dedication as a sculptor.
It is with a joyful heart that I thank Arthur and Helen Riaboff Whiteley for their gift to me…becoming a participant in their dream.
Poems by Sarah LaRue
Written at the Whiteley Center in 2019
Tribute from Whiteley Scholar - Ellen Gottheil
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the Whiteley Center and to all the people who keep it running, for the opportunity to work here in 2019 and 2020. Coming here has been a uniquely valuable experience in my career. Last year my experience was tremendously enriched by the interactions with other scholars: firstly, a colleague from across the country with whom I had been collaborating before coming here. Being able to meet in person throughout the week was so beneficial for both of us. I also appreciated conversations with new colleagues I met at the Whiteley Center itself. Despite or perhaps because of the difference in disciplines, the conversations led to wonderful new perspectives.
This year, because of COVID, there was not the richness of interpersonal perspective, although I still Zoomed with my colleague across the country, grounded in North Carolina. But the physical environment itself is still a magical support for creative thought: the views of the water, the trails through the woods, the lovely architecture of the cabins: it all speaks to the soul and I got more work done here in this creative sanctuary in a week than I would at home in a month. Not only was I able to continue work on supporting physicians in the psychiatry department at the U.W. (additionally challenging now with COVID), but I was also able to create a first draft for a novel I am writing which is about psychiatrists suffering from burnout. Just living and breathing the air here is an inspiration for which I will be forever grateful.
Michael Honey, Fred and Dorothy Haley Endowed Professor of Humanities, UW Tacoma, and Radcliffe/Harvard Institute Fellow
I first met Arthur Whiteley not long after the Center opened. I was holding the Harry Bridges Chair of Labor Studies for the University of Washington, and one of my colleagues in labor studies told me this was the place to go to get some writing accomplished. I was struggling to write a book about Martin Luther King, Jr. I had a fellowship and a book contract but the task nearly overwhelmed me, and I wasn’t sure I really belonged on the grounds of the UW’s famous marine laboratory. Arthur in his typical inquisitive fashion put me at ease. He told me of his own admiration for King and quizzed me, asking what I could say that hadn’t already been said? Rather than write another book about a famed civil rights and nonviolence leader, I told him, this would be a book about a radical prophet seeking to end racism, war and poverty, who gave his life in a strike for worker rights and dignity.
He loved it. Whenever I saw him, he would ask how my work was going. I kept coming back. The Whiteley Center allowed me to put my other teaching and service concerns behind and focus on my writing task. Five years later, it became a 500-page book titled Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign (2007), and won the Robert F. Kennedy and other national book awards. I became hooked on the Whiteley Center and the Friday Harbor Labs. I have returned many times (I don’t know how many). I published three more books and produced a film, “Love and Solidarity: James Lawson and Nonviolence in the Search for Workers Rights.”
During each visit, I thought of Arthur’s kindly encouragement to go down this path of intense study and writing in a beautiful, secluded environment. I knew he would appreciate my interdisciplinary quest to help students, scholars and activists to reframe our understanding of today’s struggles for racial and economic justice. I met other scholars from all disciplines and all over the world. I treasure a book of poems translated and given to me by Fu-Shiang Chia, as we exchanged books.
During each project, Kathy Cowell, who became my guiding light and welcomed and plugged me into events on campus and in town, and helped me to maximize my time here. I came to feel almost like a family with the dedicated staff members and thank all of the people in the grounds crew, the cafeteria and maintenance crew, and the students and fellow scholars, artists, and writers I have met here. Coming to the Whitelely Center became a pilgrimage for me (and sometimes my partner Patti Krueger). I often arrived discouraged but I always left invigorated, inspired, and with a sense of renewed possibility.
I tip my hat with love and solidarity to all the people, including the Advancement Board, who continue to make possible the Whiteley’s interdisciplinary vision and the lovely place where it all happens. As the Black freedom movement song says, let’s carry it on.
You can also view Michael Honey's recent Radcliffe talk on YouTube.
Painting by Robyn Malcolm
Ted Lefroy, Adjunct Professor Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Please find attached a photo of a painting Robyn did of the path to our cottage while we were at the Whiteley Centre in May 2016 ...
We enjoyed our time there a great deal and it proved to be very productive for me. Here is a link to an 800 Word article, "New research turns Tasmanian Aboriginal history on its head. The results will help care for the land" featured in The Conversation summarising a research project that started with a grant application written at the Whiteley Center. There is a link in the article to a paper in the Journal of Biogeography describing the study in full. Kind regards, Ted
Nature beyond Solitude by John Seibert Farnsworth
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies and Sciences, Emeritus, Santa Clara University
I used my time at the Whiteley Center to complete revisions on a book project, Nature Beyond Solitude: Notes from the Field. The book was published by the Comstock Publishing Associates imprint of Cornell University Press on March 15, 2020, the same week when bookstores went on lockdown in twenty-six states.
There is no better way to deal with revisions, especially the ones suggested by the snarky peer reviewer, than to step outside and breathe in the atmosphere of the Salish Sea. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend to revisions in such a restorative place.
Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Marine and Environmental Sciences Savannah State University, Whiteley Scholar 2007
One of humanity’s most admirable characteristics, in my view, is our ability to see beyond the biases of our upbringing. When we clarify our perspectives by examining the tendency of dominant groups to promote mythical versions of history to preserve dominance over others, we are more likely to recognize and respect the dignity of every person and the principles upon which our nation was founded.
Though I suspected as much as a child, it truly revealed itself around 1959. When I was an awkward, introverted pre-teen with severe self-confidence issues, Mr. Lee Prettyman Jr., the Director of Aquatics at the Hartford, Connecticut YMCA taught me to swim (read taught me self worth and confidence at time when both were sorely lacking) and regaled us with stories of SCUBA diving on shipwrecks and encountering large sharks, moray eels and octopods. Years later, I found a feature article on the legendary SCUBA diving instructor and explorer in Ebony Magazine. As a swimming instructor, he would always single out those youngsters struggling the most (like me) during free swim for frentoring = friendship/mentoring. He wouldn’t let me sink or fail. He had my back. Being in and under the water became my escape - I felt buoyed and empowered by it. I’ll never forget the pain and anger that I saw in his eyes when some brat non-African American youngsters said something (perhaps the n-word?) that he heard. I hope he spent no extra energy with them. He was why I became a marine biologist and used SCUBA as a research tool. I would like to think that what I did with my life perhaps was a form a repayment in some small measure for what he did for me.
I reckon learning about the history and contributions of the victims and descendants of the diaspora is as important as anything in this country, and in the world, right now. Would Charles Darwin have wanted to travel to South America as the ship’s naturalist on the HMS Beagle if he had not heard stories of ecosystems and culture of south America from his taxidermy instructor at the University of Edinburgh, John Edmonstone, a former slave born and raised there? Would a sick Robert Peary have gotten to the North Pole and lived to take all the credit if Matthew Henson, the African American and only non-Inuit to master dog sledding, had not literally carried him there? I think not.
I hoped that telling my marine biology students about the triumph and tragedy of the life of Dr. E.E. Just would inspire them. I believe that it did because some of them would offer observations like ‘If he could do that then, I can do this now’.
Ernest Everett Just was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1883. Mary Just, his mother, founded Maryville across the Ashley River and sent young Ernest north to get a proper education at Kimball Academy and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He excelled at both. After earning a doctorate degree, no major university in the U.S. would hire him because of his color. He was an early eco-developmental biologist who studied sea urchin egg development at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts in the summer. Most biology classes and courses still use his sea urchin development example in the development/embryology chapter and labs. Because he and his wife were rejected socially there, he engineered ways of working at marine laboratories in Europe where the egalitarian spirit existed and where high-achieving African Americans were celebrated. When Nazi Germany began dominating France, he was arrested and deported to the U.S. His spirit broken, he died of pancreatic cancer in 1941 at the age of 58. He had over 50 scientific publications including two books.
Higher education in the U.S. did not become significantly accessible to the non-wealthy and non-white in a significant way until the son of a New Hampshire blacksmith who could not afford college got wealthy and powerful as a businessman. Justin Morrill was elected to congress and sponsored First Morrill Land Grant Act of 1860 establishing the basis of federally-assisted agricultural and mechanical schools. A second in 1891 required southern states that denied access to public higher education to use some of the funding for the education of African Americans. The result was separate systems of higher education including the founding of Georgia State Industrial College in Savannah later to become Savannah State College and then Savannah State University.
History in general and what I learned in school specifically a youngster was not entirely what really happened. It was what those in power and control selected to be used in classrooms. That’s just the way it was. Though we have made progress in telling the whole story, for reasons all to clear and painful right now, the meager rate must increase and increase quickly. Our stories are who we are. The more we share them, the closer and stronger we become.
Gilligan, M.G., P. G. Verity, C. B. Cook, S. B. Cook, M. G. Booth, M. E. Frischer. 2007. Building a Diverse and Innovative Ocean Workforce through Collaboration and Partnerships that Integrate Research and Education: HBCUs and Marine Laboratories. Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 55, n. 6, December, 2007, p. 531-540. http://www.nagt.org/files/nagt/jge/abstracts/building_diverse_innovative_oc.pdf
Tribute from Andrew Gardner
University of Puget Sound, Professor of Anthropology,
The Whiteley Center has emerged as a pretty central feature of my scholarly existence. It may not seem so, considering that I’m only able to make it up to the Center for a short stint every year or so, but those times have been so very crucial to me and my productivity.
— In part, I think it’s the setting, and the solitude that’s readily available there. For me, time at the Whiteley Center has resulted in drafting numerous papers that I’ve published in the past five or six years. I’ll here list some of the most notable, to me, and briefly describe what they’re all about.
— “Reflections on the Role of Law in the Gulf Migration System,” published in the Journal of Legal Studies. Based on many years of fieldwork with transnational labor migrants in Qatar, in this paper I contend that Western-based critiques need to think more about the bureaucratic complexities of the legal system in Qatar, a state where nearly nine out of every ten residents is a foreign worker. In this paper, I hone in on the legal complexities that this demographic scenario produces.
—“The Journey to Arabia,” published in Anthropology Now. In this essay and collection of photographs, I provide readers with an overview of the migration system that shuttles tens of millions of men and women to the Arabian Peninsula for work. That journey begins, oftentimes, in the hinterlands of South Asia, and then involves labor brokers and manpower agencies in regional cities in the migrant-sending countries. Then the migrants board an airplane for their new, temporary home. Oftentimes that home is a dormitory-style labor camp, and life away from home can sometimes be difficult.
—“Imperial Diversity,” published in Areo Magazine. Based on my long fieldwork in Qatar, my employment in higher education, and my recent work with museums there, 1 In Qatar with my Bedouin friends, 2015. Tuesday, August 18, 2020 in this article I contend that the way that we Americans currently think about difference — what I call the diversity paradigm — is a paradigm that we’ve exported through our global dominance in higher education. While we might argue about whether this is a good or bad thing, for an anthropologist it’s always interesting to think about how values and ideas, as culture, are sometimes imposed on other ways of being in this world, and in this paper I contended that the scenario I describe should be thought about in that way. In retrospect, these assertions seem more apropos than ever.
Catherine Abbey Hodges
On a Fall 2016 sabbatical from full-time teaching at Porterville College in California’s San Joaquin Valley, I had an unforgettable month-long residency and have been pining to return every since. During that beautiful and intensely productive month, I wrote and revised a number of the poems that together form the core of my second book of poems, Raft of Days (Gunpowder Press, 2017).
Raft of Days opens with this poem that captures something of my experience:
Tribute fromLisa Richards
The residency I was privileged to both enjoy and benefit from at the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center was a magical, unforgettable time which allowed me to go deeply into my writing of a memoir, and to connect meaningfully with scholars, artists and scientists ensconced in their own projects.
The grounds of FHL are serene and lovely. I took many peaceful walks during my stay there, and had the opportunity to appreciate exquisite wildlife. Communing with nature allowed me to reconnect with my own essential nature. Only from my ability to reconnect with my essential nature, beyond personality and ego, could the telling of my story ever be possible.
The Whiteley Center has established itself as an inviting, invigorating place where the journey into the self will continue to guide creative thinkers towards a myriad of scholarly and creative works both educative and enriching. It is a hub of thought leadership, an infusion of light for souls weary of life’s daily treadmills, and an invitation to remember the importance of using our voices for the good of all.
I am profoundly grateful for the Whiteley Center’s investment in my work.
~Lisa Richards, L.C.S.W., B.C.D.
Poem by Moira Linehan
From her third collection of poetry, Toward (Slant Books, 2020). First published in Nimrod International Journal.
Tribute from Gerald Baldasty
On the 20th Anniversary of the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center
For 20 years, the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center has provided an environment for thinking, research, writing and scholarly collaboration for scholars at the University of Washington and other universities. I’m fortunate to be one of the many scholars who have benefited from Arthur Whiteley’s remarkable vision in making the Center such a vibrant part of the University of Washington and of Friday Harbor Labs.
More than anything, the Whiteley Center provides a place for uninterrupted thinking and writing. The Center is distant from busy jobs and routines. Such solitude limits distractions and enhances concentration. On more than occasion, I arrived at the Center with a pile of books and a big bundle of notes. By the time I left, a week or two later, I had done much to pull that raw research together. I was always surprised by – and grateful for -- how far I could get in my writing while at the Center!
Gerald J. Baldasty, Professor Emeritus Communication. UW Provost and Executive Vice President, Emeritus
Almost every year, starting in 2006, until 2019, usually for three or four weeks in January, always with my husband Gordon Fain spurring me on, I began a 14-year adventure in illustrating books, far exceeding my wildest imagination back in the early 2000s. Over a 25 year period, Gordon has written 5 books for which I have done all the illustrations. Three of Gordon’s books were given huge bursts of energy, and the illustrations were perfected, during stays at the Whiteley Center.
With Gordon’s relentless pressure of chapter and individual figure deadlines to be reached, yet precision and accuracy not to be sacrificed, I was inspired with the four science books to learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, from the ground up, gaining in technique and in confidence during those stays at the Whiteley Center. Because we could work together, intensively for several weeks, with Gordon’s own example of focus, hard work and high standards, daily “in my face” (in the best way), my accomplishments in scientific illustration, such as they are, resulted from this unique opportunity the two of us had to work together at the Whiteley. With Gordon’s Greek poetry book, the illustrations were completely different from the science books. There, the impetus at the Whiteley was to broaden my pen and ink technique, by studying museum catalogues and art books, and to create my own “Greek” style, learning from the best ancient artists, the Greek vase painters themselves. Fred Ellis, of the Friday Harbor Labs, contributed an amazing light box, re-purposed from discarded Labs materials, with a uniquely-Labs sea-tank light source. Our very first day, almost before I had figured out myself what I would be needing, Fred arrived at our Cottage door with his own constructed light box, large enough to accommodate all my large-format pen and ink drawings. My Greek vase drawing project, illustrating Gordon’s Greek poetry translations, was able to take off the next day! This was many years before LED light boxes had become available commercially. But our “Fred Ellis Whiteley Light Box” was sturdy, dependable, and lasted 10 years. And because of this light box, I was able to proceed with another set of Whiteley projects, writing and illustrating my own childrens books, utilizing pen and ink large-format drawings, and water color. This would never have occurred, without the continued inspiration year after year from our Whiteley Center stays. I completed four childrens books, and designed a unique stuffed animal for each, as well as working on three more childrens books. The computer side of managing illustrations, learned from the four books of scientific illustrations, has proved immensely helpful in formatting my artwork for the childrens books, a welcome unexpected crossover from the years (in part, at Whiteley) struggling with Photoshop and Illustrator. The Whiteley Study Center design uniquely provided the chance for Gordon and me to spread out in Bob’s huge study, with changeable sky and ocean views, and provided us with the nearby array of calming cottages where Scholars could stay and unwind. Gordon and I together, almost every day, could walk for an hour in the surrounding Labs land, near the ocean or in the forest, after our work day was done, comparing notes on the frustrations, or successes, of the day. Thanks to Lynn Riddiford and Jim Truman, as well as Lona Shepley, a Scholar and wife of Scholar Joram Piatigorsky, for encouraging me to apply as a Scholar in my own right, rather than continuing every January as spouse of a Scholar. So from that time on, Gordon and I both attended the Whiteley as Scholars, working on joint projects, either science or Classics, but I also proposed projects for childrens books. Lynn and Jim were also incredibly supportive and welcoming to us both, starting when Gordon first decided to apply as a Whiteley Scholar back in 2006, and throughout the entirety of our years there.
I am so grateful for all the efforts of Kathy Cowell, there with us from the start of our 14-year Whiteley adventure, always sharing a smile and a story, and her latest beautiful photographs, as well as keeping the Whiteley Center front office organized and happy. Many were the times that our first weekend of arrival involved urgent email exchanges with Aimee to get my photocopy code, or a desperate cry for help from the computing staff when we had inadvertently deleted newly-made illustrations. Or Fred Ellis and his guys in Engineering fixing something minor in the Cottage. Problems large and small always solved with calm helpfulness! Also very important to me was to bring my cello along on our visits to the Whiteley. I was able to greet the sunrise (thankfully late, in those northern Januarys), or the 11:55 PM Friday Harbor ferry, with Bach or Kol Nidre. And even snuck in a few occasional Bach preludes on the upright piano in Dixie’sStudy when the Study Center was empty, late at night. Never dreamt then, that our son Tim would eventually use that same piano, during his own intense week at Whiteley, working on his violin concerto. For several of Gordon’s and my Whiteley stays, when our Choruses back in LA were to begin new difficult works, both Gordon and I practiced our singing in the Cottages! The soprano part to the B MinorMass Chorus “Cum sanctu spiritu” always recalls for me the view out Charlie’s Cottage. Where else in the world would a couple working together find such a beautiful place, inspiring us with such energy and creativity? We will be forever grateful to Arthur Whiteley’s vision and his insistence on so many details, large and small, that made the Whiteley Center such a magical, inspiring location. And we feel great gratitude to all who have kept it going and thriving with new generations of Scholars, to the present 20th year.
My time at The Whiteley Center was pivotal, and gave me the space I needed to dive into a new large scale work for violin and orchestra which I have now recently finished composing. I was able to bring the tranquility and intense focus I experienced in the music room there at the Center back into my own studio in Western MT. I'm so grateful for my experience, and look forward to returning again soon!