Art exhibition examines humanity’s relationship to technology

“Robots in the Social Landscape,” an art installation by Margaret Brommelsiek, will be on display in the newly-opened Dean’s Gallery on the second floor of the University of Missouri Kansas City‘s (UMKC) Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st St., Kansas City, Mo. from Jan. 19 through May 6. UMKC Friends of the Library will host an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 26 in the Miller Nichols Library’s Dean’s Gallery. Part of the Miller Nichols Library expansion plan, the Dean’s Gallery supports UMKC’s missions of community engagement. To RSVP, contact or (816) 235-1531.

Aptly located near the library’s book robot, “Robots in the Social Landscape” examines how humans have adapted to technology through living and working with robots and robotic objects. The exhibition was partially inspired by the book robot (also known as an automated high-density storage and retrieval system), which has relocated thousands of volumes of library collections and freed up more space for students to study and host meetings. A fascination with toy robots, a love of fashion and design and a growing interest in the place where technology and the body have begun to intersect also inspired the exhibition.

“With technology becoming woven into the buildings we use, the clothes we wear and the vessels we call ‘bodies’, I wanted to explore what this says about us as individuals, how this shapes our aesthetic sensibilities and how this changes the world around us,” Brommelsiek said.

Brommelsiek, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine and Chief of Staff to the UMKC Chancellor, holds a Ph.D. in Arts Administration with a focus in aesthetics and criticism, an M.S. in Marketing Communications from The Florida State University and a B.A. in Art History from Eckerd College.

Brommelsiek’s expertise includes aesthetics and criticism in the visual arts, program administration, policy development and interdisciplinary partnerships. She has served as the director for the Center for Creative Studies, an interdisciplinary center focused on exploring creativity and innovation across all academic areas and the effect that creative acts have on contemporary society. She also has served as the interim director for the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics in the School of Medicine, where she developed and co-taught “Body Image in Art, Advertising and Musical Theater”. Brommelsiek also has taught in the Department of Communication Studies.

In 2006, Brommelsiek was one of the artists selected for Avenue of the Arts in Kansas City, where she collaborated with artist Rolf Brommelsiek on “Rabone 9” – a sculpture with collaged panels. She also was selected to be in Eckerd College’s juried Alumni Exhibition in 2008 and 2009. As a principal investigator, her research and interdisciplinary artistic projects have received state and national funding, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (2004 and 2006); The Judith Rothschild Foundation (2005); The Missouri Arts Council (2006); and The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (2006). She also served as a co-investigator on a Science of Design grant funded by the National Science Foundation (2007-2009).

Prior to her work at UMKC, Brommelsiek was the director of New Mexico Arts, the state arts council where she helped to establish new interdisciplinary programs between the arts, social service and economic development. As director of the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, Brommelsiek oversaw four arts education programs designed to build partnerships and research opportunities from elementary school to higher education. Her work in the nonprofit sector includes creating partnerships between healthcare, social service and community organizations. Recent research has focused on ethnographical studies analyzing creativity to determine social, spatial, and embodied patterns associated with creative acts.

About UMKC Friends of the Library:

UMKC Friends of the Library is a membership organization dedicated to providing needed community support to strengthen collections and services of the UMKC Libraries. Since their founding in 1965, the Friends have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for the collections of UMKC’s Dental, Health Sciences, Miller Nichols and Music/Media Libraries.

About UMKC Libraries:

An essential partner in intellectual discovery, knowledge creation and empowerment, UMKC Libraries serves as the hub of learning activities for students, researchers and UMKC’s urban neighbors. Not only the home of books and print materials, the UMKC Libraries also provides access to a wide range of audio-visual media, over 300,000 sound recordings and rare and unique collections of books, photographs, manuscripts and maps. UMKC Libraries also links users to a world of scholarly information available through licensed online databases and journals and a vast network of reciprocal borrowing agreements with libraries around the world.

Miller Nichols Library, located on the Volker campus, is UMKC’s largest library and houses the general collection, Music/Media Library, LaBudde Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives. On the Health Sciences campus, the Dental Library and Health Sciences Library serve students and researchers in those disciplines. Along with its partners, the UMKC School of Law’s Leon E. Bloch Law Library and the Linda Hall Library, University Libraries is the comprehensive public research library for Kansas City and the very heart of UMKC.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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