Gallery Spotlight: The Field Notebook

Published on Mar 01, 2016

By Jaclyn Jermyn (‘16)

Now open at the Hokin Gallery, the Field Notebook is inspired by the field notebooks of Columbia College Chicago professor and paleontologist, Robin Whatley. The exhibit incorporates the experiences of Whatley and the Columbia students who traveled with her to work with fossils in Arizona’s Painted Desert, as well as the sketchbooks of Columbia students, faculty and alumni across all majors and concentrations. Visitors are also encouraged to contribute by to uploading pages from their own collections

“Scientists use field notebooks to record observations and to play out ideas and theories,” says Bob Blandford, a coordinator of visual arts management for the Business and Entrepreneurship department. “We realised all sorts of disciplines use notebooks and journals. Whether you are a writer or a fashion designer or an architect, all disciplines use simple pen and paper as a tool.”

The exhibit was developed by the Hokin Project, a gallery management practicum program open to students of all majors through the Business and Entrepreneurship department. To create this exhibition, the Hokin Project put out a call for sketchbooks, either in progress or completed, as well as final pieces of work inspired by ideas that came out of sketchbooks. There is also a digital journal installation that projects additional pages, including those that can be submitted by visitors by emailing horizontal photo files to

Hokin Gallery: The Field Notebook

“It’s really cool to be recognized for the creative process and not just the product,” says Nikki Doron (‘17), a Graphic Design major whose sketchbook was selected to be included.

The exhibit also incorporates augmented reality technology—a first for The Hokin Project. This interactive element was conceived and developed by David Christopher Krause, a lecturer in the Cinema Arts and Science department, in collaboration with Meredith Bahuriak.

“[The notebook] is just another recording and communication tool,” says Krause. “[Augmented reality] is going to become part of that world. We wanted to bring a little of that in and think, what would the future of the notebook look like?”

The augmented reality technology can be utilized through any smart phone. Attendees are encouraged to download the free DAQRI app and scan the Hokin logo found around the gallery space for additional digital content like a 3-D model of one of the fossils found on the Painted Desert dig.

“It is an amazing thing to be apart of something like this and see it go from an idea on paper and a table discussion to be a fully functioning and beautiful exhibit,” says Arts Management major Carly Strand (‘16) who has worked on the exhibit concept for the past two semesters.

The exhibit runs now through April 2nd, Monday through Friday, 9am to 10pm and Saturdays from 8am to 6pm. The Hokin Gallery is located on the first floor of 623 S. Wabash.

(photos by Kai Caemmerer)