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11orono lgh Digital Humanities 11 illTo coincide with Digital Humanities Week 2011, Joline Blais joins permaculture experts Julia and Charles Yelton, social media hackademic Craig Dietrich, Rural Maine Partners’ Claudia Lowd, and members of the Wabanaki community in hosting “Social Media and Sustainability” at LongGreenHouse, a clearinghouse for sustainable culture on the edge of the U-Me campus.

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Digital Humanities Logo smaPhoto archivists and Twitter sociologists, guerilla gardeners and best-selling Kindle authors descend on Orono, Maine for the 2011 Digital Humanities Week.

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Still Water co-director Joline Blais trades a 45-minute car commute for an hour and a quarter on an electric bike.

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09orono spr lgh was Perma 16 illThe Still Water Permaculture Guild, located at 5 Chapel Road in Orono (LongGreenHouse), is inviting anyone who is interested to come to their “field days” this Friday (April 22) and next Wednesday (April 27), from 12 noon to 4pm. The Guild has been working to transform a normal residential yard into a perennial garden with edible fruit, vegetables, and herbs, using permaculture techniques.

If you would like to see a model of “edible landscaping,’ want to learn about permaculture gardening, or just want to get your hands in the soil, this a great opportunity.

Please send a e-mail to william [DOT] giordano [AT] umit [DOT] maine [DOT] edu, or just show up. For more information about the Stillwater Permaculture Guild, visit PermacultureUMaine.wordpress.com/events/

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One of the coldest weeks of the year didn’t stop attenders of Aurono Borealis, an outdoor performance at LongGreenHouse this January.  Intermedia MFA students in Joline Blais’s LifeArt class organized a “council of beings” that attracted a variety of faculty, students, and members of the Wabanaki community.
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Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito presented models of open governance on November 12 at U-Me’s Promise and Problems of Transparency conference. Organized by Desiree Butterfield-Nagy, the event featured a “hyperblog” organized by Blais and Ippolito with help from Still Water Senior Researcher Craig Dietrich.

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This fall, five UMaine students will practice sustainable living as part of their education  in a permaculture homestead at the south edge of campus .

Inheriting a greenhouse, coldframe, swaled garden beds, perennial gardens and the planting of food forest trees along a corridor into campus from former student projects onsite,these students will model green living as an education option.

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This year’s crop of New Media Majors from the graduating class have created more than just a couple dozen outstanding capstone projects. By inventing startup companies based on cradle-to-cradle design and other local economies, many have envisioned a future for themselves in which earning a living is compatible with living sustainably. And some have businesses that are already taking off.

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Distant Neighbor Screenshot smaOn March 30, 2010, Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito present “Beyond Facebook: From Cliques to Kinship” as part of the University of Maine’s Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program.

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For the first time, the New Media Department of the University of Maine is offering a course in Contagious Media–the use of the Internet, street performances, and other viral techniques for garnering recognition in the digital age.

Dearmainestreet Leaf

After surveying some technical underpinnings of existing social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, the class examines techniques for splicing these networks together to disseminate viral concepts, or memes, for artistic or political ends.

Student projects have so far combined such technologies as blogs, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as such low-tech strategies as flashmobs and launch parties. One particularly successful scheme involved printing the url for DearMaineStreet.com–a site designed to air feedback on dysfunctional course management software purchased by the university–on real maple leafs and then scattering them around campus. Photographs of these leaves, including the domain, made their way onto the front page of the Maine Campus newspaper and generated sufficient buzz to spike visitors to the Web site.

Many of these student projects will be on view at a “Contagious Idea” expo coming up in December. These include a class project to create a social network tailored to the New Media Department called NMDnet.

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