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University of Iowa News Release

April 24, 2006

UI Photo-Essay Contest Seeks Submissions by June 1

All Iowans are invited to participate in a University of Iowa project, "The Animals Among Us," by submitting a photograph and short essay exploring the relationship between Iowa's people and animals. The photos and essays will be judged in two separate competitions, one for K-12 students and another for adults. The winning entries will tour throughout the state of Iowa in 2007.

Iowans may submit their photos and essays online at Participants can also e-mail for a printed entry form.

Each participant is welcome to send one photo and essay. Entries are due by June 1. The essay, in no more than 250 words, should describe the significance of the photo image and reflect on the pictured animals and the writer's relationship to the animals.

"The Animals Among Us" project asks Iowans to consider the many ways that they depend on animals and animals depend on them. One of the goals of the contest is to inspire Iowans to reflect not only on their pets, but also on farm animals, wild animals, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, even insects.

Two separate exhibitions will feature the winning entries beginning in October 2006. The Old Capitol Museum will host the adult photographs and essays; the Iowa Children's Museum will display the children's winning entries. All winning photographs and essays will also travel to museums, schools and libraries across Iowa beginning in January 2007.

UI faculty members at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies are coordinating the contest as part of their ongoing study of the role that animals play in culture and society.

"We hope that the competition and upcoming exhibitions start important conversations about the roles of animals in the lives of Iowans and draw attention to the quality of life issues that humans and animals share," said Teresa Mangum, associate professor of English and Obermann Center Scholar.

The six Obermann Center faculty members coordinating the project include: co-organizers Mangum and Jane Desmond (American studies and International Programs); Kim Marra (American studies and theatre arts); Mary Trachsel (rhetoric); Pamela Trimpe (Old Capitol Museum and Museum of Natural History); and Ed Wassermann (psychology). All are faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The organizers are also planning additional programming throughout fall 2006.  Plans include an animal film series, hands-on programming, and formal presentations.

More information about "The Animals Among Us" competition is available at or by contacting Karen Smith at

"The Animals Among Us" contest is sponsored by a grant from the UI Office of the President as part of the Year of Public Engagement. UI President David J. Skorton has declared the 2005-2006 academic year the Year of Public Engagement, during which the University community is intensifying its efforts and sharpening its focus on engagement with the public and public issues at the local, state, national, and international levels. More information is online,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, or Lesly Huffman, 319-384-0077,; Program: Karen Smith,