Canal by Canal is an exhibition of photographs of the land, water, and people connected by ancient irrigation waterways in Valencia, Spain, by Jason Reblando, assistant professor of photography in the Wonsook Kim School of Art at Illinois State University. Reblando made the photographs in support of research by Dr. Erik Nordman, professor of natural resource management at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, for his book, The Uncommon Knowledge of Elinor Ostrom: Essential Lessons for Collective Action (Island Press, 2021). Nordman and Reblando traveled extensively to research the important legacy of Elinor Ostrom and her groundbreaking thinking around “common-pool resources.” Ostrom’s case studies of everyday people working together to sustain and share resources, ranging from water to forestland to decarbonization efforts, are more relevant than ever as we grapple with contemporary environmental crises. Her revolutionary thinking earned her the Nobel Prize in economics, the first woman to do so. The exhibit and accompanying programming will showcase the landscape, community of irrigators, and thousand-year-old water court of southeastern Spain – just one of Ostrom’s successful examples of environmental governance that have stood the test of time.
About the Exhibit Contributors
Jason Reblando is an assistant professor in the Wonsook Kim School of Art at Illinois State University and an artist and photographer based in Normal, Illinois. He received his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, and a BA in Sociology from Boston College. He is the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to the Philippines and an Artist Fellowship Award from the Illinois Arts Council. His work has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Politico, Camera Austria, Slate, Bloomberg Businessweek, Marketplace, Real Simple, Places Journal, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Reader. His photographs are collected in the Library of Congress, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Pennsylvania State University Special Collections, the Midwest Photographers Project of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Erik Nordman is Professor of Natural Resources Management and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. In 2019-20, he was a Visiting Scholar at Indiana University’s Ostrom Workshop. Nordman has written on a wide variety of environmental topics, from urban stormwater management and land preservation to renewable energy. His work has appeared in mass-market publications such as Quartz, The Conversation, and Bridge(a Michigan public affairs magazine). Nordman holds an MS in forest ecosystem management and a PhD in natural resource policy and economics, both from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse University. He served as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, 2012-13.
About the Center for a Sustainable Water Future
The Center for a Sustainable Water Future is an interdisciplinary initiative that brings together academically diverse faculty from across campus to advance research, creative expression, teaching, and outreach activities promoting and enhancing effective and viable water solutions and stewardship within Illinois and with regional, national, and global partners. Through action research, the interdependence and relationship with water will be explored, investigated, and shared promoting a broader sustainable water ethic for the future.
For more information, visit WaterCenter.IllinoisState.edu/.
The exhibition and programming are sponsored in part by the Alice and Fannie Fell Trust.