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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"Kansas Farmers" exhibit to open August 11, 2018 featuring photos from KS NSF EPSCoR Research Collaboration

     The Spencer Museum of Art on the University of Kansas (KU) campus will be hosting an exhibit titled Kansas Farmers beginning August 11, 2018 through January 6, 2019.  This exhibit highlights fifty photographs taken by artist and Distinguished Professor of Photography in the School of Art, Design, and Creative Industries at Wichita State University, Larry Schwarm.
     In 2010, Dr. Schwarm began a collaboration with Kansas NSF EPSCoR researchers involved in the RII Track-1 Award OIA-1656006  titled Phase VI Climate Change and Energy: Basic Science, Impacts, and Mitigation.  The collaborative project, titled Bio-fuels and Climate Change: Farmer’s Land Use Decisionswas a sub-project of the Track 1 Award. This particular study examined farmers decisions related to climate change, water availability and bio-fuel market opportunities.  The research team created a database on land use, water use, climate and weather, water availability, surface water quality and bio-fuel markets and used this data to identify the driving factors behind a farmer’s land and water use decisions.  Photographs taken by Larry Schwarm were integrated into the study and added to the database to provide the visual imagery associated with farmers' decisions.  The exhibit will showcase these fifty photographs illustrating the realities of contemporary farm life in Kansas.
     This collaboration also produced a 2018 book that features the photos taken during the research project titled Larry Schwarm: Kansas Farmers. The book includes an essay detailing the Kansas NSF EPSCoR research written by Dr. Dietrich Earnhart, an economics professor and director of the KU Center for Environmental Policy, and the photographs that will be presented in the exhibit.  The essay discusses the core themes of the Phase VI award that addressed farmer land use decisions, climate change, and bio-fuel prospects.  The photographs capture the legacy of Kansas farmers' independent spirit and raises awareness of how much is at stake as the farming communities of Kansas look to their future.