2014 Place Project

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There are now more than 100 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLIs) around the country, though SSU was among the first. Each OLLI takes on the flavor or ethos of the community in which it lives. That community is framed both by the host university, and by the larger local or regional environment.

Explore Sonoma County this summer through its art, history, landscape, food and wine. Join us as curators, writers, vintners, naturalists, scholars, artists, chefs and historians lead talks and tours both on the SSU campus and in our surrounding community. OLLI students, SSU faculty and leaders in the cultural community will consider their collective roots and ideas of place in Sonoma County through compelling stories, reflections and dialogue.

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg, in his work The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community, argues that "third places"--where people can gather, put aside the concerns of work and home, and hang out simply for the pleasures of good company and lively conversation --are the heart of a community's social vitality and the grassroots of democracy. How do these "third places" figure into Sonoma County, and how do they help to construct the social fabric of one's life?

In the spirit of ideas worth sharing, TEDxSonomaCounty has influenced our thinking about "place" in this summer's Place Project, and some of the language used in our Place Project materials was drawn from their event. We wanted to share this attribution, as well as our common concern about the value of "place" in the region. We encourage you to attend the 2014 TEDxSonomaCounty event "Going to the Edge" on June 14th. To learn more, visit http://tedxsonomacounty.com/2014

Come find your place at OLLI SSU.

OLLI Off Campus: June 2014

A series of explorations into the community will immerse students in the natural and cultural history of Sonoma County. Each thread will have three destinations where scholars, curators and researchers will welcome members with a lecture and a tour. (Sites subject to change and availability).

Science: Laguna de Santa Rosa, Pepperwood Preserve, Osborn Preserve
Art: Di Rosa, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma County Museum
History: Historical societies, state parks, architectural monuments

Taste Matters
July 2014, Tuesdays, New Student Center, Sonoma Valley Room, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

How does one talk about place without reference to the vast agricultural and viticultural roots of Sonoma County? Speakers from the worlds of food and wine, including producers, purveyors, chefs and culinary historians regale members with gastronomic tales of Sonoma County. Join OLLI on the SSU campus for this new sensory series.

OLLI Off Campus and Taste Matters are generously supported by Connie Codding.

Place Matters
July 29 2014, New Student Center, Ballroom A, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

(includes lunch)

The "Place Project" will culminate with Place Matters on July 29, 2014, and will bring together students from all three OLLI campuses to document, discuss and create a "sense of place" in Sonoma County. Presented at the new Student Center (Ballroom A), the event will include three panels comprised of OLLI SSU students from all three campuses (main campus, Oakmont and Healdsburg), and chaired by faculty from three different SSU departments: Margie Purser, Anthropology; Ray Johnson, Wine Business; and Steve Estes, History. Each panel will explore a different aspect of place:

  • Place as Identity
  • Place as Memory and Legacy
  • Place as Community

Regional historian Gaye LeBaron will provide opening remarks, setting the scene for the discussions that follow. Creative expressions of place will include a juried art exhibition of work by OLLI students representing the complexity of place in Sonoma County, and a published anthology showcasing place-based writings from OLLI students. The selected artwork will be on view in The Hub, and local historical societies and museums will open their collections to OLLI students as part of the project. Finally, a concert by SSU students will root attendees in the performance of place.

Place Matters is generously supported by a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation.

To learn more or inquire about joining the "Place Project," please contact
Carin Jacobs, OLLI Director, at carin.jacobs@sonoma.edu or 707-664-3927.