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Hosted by Midwest SPE, this panel discussion will focus on the work of three artists whose practices have expanded during the pandemic to include community activism and the various ways the pandemic has impacted communities in the US.  Spanning across areas of the Midwest and topics that include engaging with homeless communities, changes in worship practice, and the impacts of artwork in public spaces each artist will present the work they have been doing during this challenging time of upheaval and shifting priorities.


Society for Photographic Education, SPE, is the leading forum for fostering understanding of photography in all its forms and related media. SPE engages a worldwide membership and affiliated communities through a range of supportive platforms including conferences, events, and publications.

Elizabeth M. Claffey is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Indiana University in Bloomington and a 2019-20 Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.  She has an MFA in Studio Art from Texas Woman's University, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies. In 2012, she was awarded a William J. Fulbright Fellowship.  Elizabeth's work focuses on identity, kinship, isolation, issues of the body, family history, and cultural/institutional practices.  Among others, her work has been recognized by PDN Magazine, Center Santa Fe, The Eddie Adams Workshop, and Don't Take Pictures Magazine.​

Image Credit: Elizabeth M. Claffey

Robert Dickes is an Assistant Professor in Photography and Digital Imaging at the University of Southern Indiana. Rob’s work bridges the commercial and fine art worlds. His work has been seen in magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as well as in museums and galleries around the world. He received his BFA in commercial photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and his MFA in studio art from the University of Kentucky


Aimee Tomasek is an Associate Professor of Art at Valparaiso University and serves as the Art Department Chairperson.  Tomasek is a documentary photographer, and her photographs address visually the social and cultural relationships between industry and regionalism along with more personal institutions such as faith, ethnic foundations and a sense of community.  She holds an MFA from the University of Kentucky.

Date: September 24, 2021
Time: 12:00 pm CT

Cost: FREE
Location: 21c Museum Hotel | 55 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611

All in-person events will be conducted in accordance with current city and state guidelines in effect in September. Masks will be required at all indoor events.

Image Credits: Aimee Tomasek and Robert Dickes

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