Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

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Brief description of program/project development and components:

There are currently four components to our program:

  1. Artist-in-Residence Program. Began in 2013. Every year, we invite four to six young artists to spend anywhere from one to three weeks interacting with our faculty, students, and writers. Each artist receives free room and board, a stipend, and a supplies budget. Each artist currently contributes one public program during their internship. Every year, we show retrospective works at Pearson’s Art Center, in Okoboji, Iowa.
  2. Writer-in-Residence Program. Began in 2014. Every year, we invite one or two young writers, typically but not exclusively, from the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop or Iowa State University’s graduate Writing and Environment program to spend anywhere from one to three weeks interacting with our faculty, students, and artists. Each writer receives free room and board, and a stipend. They currently contribute one public program during their internship.
  3. Writers Internship. Began in 2012. We offer one, six-week, Writers Internship in the fall. We provide a cabin, working space, and a generous stipend to give writers an experience working, and developing ideas, in a natural environment.
  4. Faculty Projects. Many of our faculty produce popular works based on their professional responsibilities or interests. For example Mike Lannoo’s book “Leopold’s Shack and Ricketts’ Lab: The Emergence of Environmentalism,” and the soon-to-be completed living history film project “Nancy Ricketts.”

Relationship with core science, education, cultural programs at the site: Each of our summer artists and writers interact with our academic and research faculty, their students, and our outreach staff. These interactions often take the form of participation in class field trips, field research programs, and outreach community programs. Informal interactions occur during meals, and during evening and weekend gatherings. During academic field trips, faculty will often explain something from a scientific perspective, then offer the artist or writer the chance to comment on their perspective.

System for sharing and archiving outcomes: We have been better at sharing people than outcomes. We currently have no system for archiving projects, although this is in the development stage.

Funding: through the operating budget of the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory Regents Resource Center budget as well as stipends from our 501C3 group “Friends of Lakeside Lab.” Funding has been consistent and will continue to be.

Impediments: None.

Future expectations and hopes:  Our future programing will revolve around two different types of internships: those for new applicants (our current program) and those for returning internees (proposed). We are finding that many of our best interns spend quite a bit of time simply orientating themselves to the outdoors and the strange world of biological field stations. By the time they are ready to create, most of their internship has passed. What they do create is spectacular, but they could do so much more if given more time. We plan on inviting a subset of these folks for a second internship, to continue to develop their art, this time in a familiar environment.

Contact person:  Michael J. Lannoo (