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Open CoLab

The Open CoLab provides a chance for students of all majors and disciplines to be supported as they create and share their work toward a common goal.

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Call for 2016-17 Submissions

Between Nov. 20, 2016, and Jan. 30, 2017, students may submit project proposals based in their own fields of study but related to and inspired by a shared theme and topic. Students may propose projects including, but not limited to, literary, performing, or visual artwork, research papers or studies, poster presentations, multimedia displays, and other discipline-specific mediums.

Submissions will be juried by a faculty committee, based on originality, relation to the topic and theme, contribution to the student's discipline, and interdisciplinary impact. Students with selected project proposals will be notified by Feb. 13. 2017. Those selected will receive a $250 stipend and contract to complete their project over first few months of the spring 2017 semester, with a due date of April 7. Projects will be displayed at an opening event on campus during the month of April 2017.

This first Open CoLab topic and theme is based on the work of photographer Chris Jordan. It centers on five photographs from the artist's Midway: Message from the Gyre series. The photos will be on display in the Lied Center lower-level gallery until Dec. 16, 2016, then moved to the permanent collection in Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library.

A pile of plastic bottle caps, other garbage and natural debris sit in a pile on the beach.A collage of other images creates an image of a man wearing a sweater.An albatross tends to a baby albatross in its nest.A pile of plastic bottle caps, other debris and bird feathers sit in a pile on the sand.

For further information and inspiration please see the following links:

Funding is graciously provided by the Whitworth University Strategic Initiative Funds Grant, which supports the Whitworth 2021 goals, including interdisciplinary studies across campus.

Open CoLab 2016-17 Timeline

  • Nov. 21, 2016-Jan. 30, 2017
    Accepting project-proposal submissions
  • Jan. 30-Feb. 11
    Submissions juried by faculty committee
  • Feb. 3
    Students notified of selected proposals
  • Feb. 20
    Deadline for signed contracts to complete projects and accept stipends
  • Feb. 20-April 6
    Project work period
  • April 7
    Completed projects due by 5 p.m. PST
  • April 2017
    Projects displayed following opening event

To Submit a Proposal

  • Create a document, no more than 500 words in length, which concisely describes the purpose and process for creating the project.
  • Be sure to address how the project relates to the topic and theme, contributes to your specific discipline, and fosters interdisciplinary study.
  • If applicable, the document may include up to 6 images to help visually describe the project.
  • The document must be in .doc, docx, or PDF format.
  • Attach your document to an email with the subject line: Last Name, First Name, Open CoLab Submission and send to Also include your name, email address, and phone number in the body of the email.
  • You will receive a confirmation of receipt reply within 48 hours.
  • Questions may also be directed to Be sure use the subject line, CoLab Questions, followed by your first name.

Welcome again to Open CoLab. We look forward to your creative contributions to our Whitworth community.

An albatross tends to a baby albatross in its nest.

Midway: Message from the Gyre
"Until my ghastly tale is told, this heart within me burns." –Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Plastic debris sits on top of a decaying albatross.

"On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses."


A decaying albatross reveals the contents of its stomach, pieces of plastic debris.

"The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean."


An albatross carcass sits on sand. On top, is a pile of plastic debris.

"Kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth."


An albatross carcass lies in a grassy field. Its stomach reveals a mass of plastic debris.

"Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here."