PMA Podcast Episode 47: Kelly Richmond & Andy Colpits from the Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures

In this episode, Leah Ingalls, a junior in PMA major, and Chris Christensen, IT Support, meet with PMA graduate students Andy Colpitts and Kelly Richmond to discuss their upcoming event "The Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures: A Coalition and Celebration for the World to Come."

PMA Podcast · Episode 47 - Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures

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Chris Christensen  0:11 

Hello and welcome to episode 47 of the PMA podcast. In this episode, Chris and Leah meet with two time-travelers from the year 2030: At Assistant Manager of Cross Temporal Communications and At Secretary of Joy and Play to discuss their upcoming event with the Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures. Well, here we are, once again, at the PMA podcast. We have somebody in the studio today who was somebody before, in the past, and is now somebody here in the, in the current time, but will also be somebody different in the future, which is really true for all of us. But let's not get into that too deeply. Gary was here last time we recorded, he was here for a couple of podcasts, several podcasts, and Gary found another job elsewhere, outside of Cornell. So, Gary is no longer with us, hope he's doing well. I mean, he's with us. He's here. Yeah. You get what I'm saying. However, very happy to invite Leah Ingalls. She is here with us as a new podcast co-host.

Leah Ingalls  1:11


Chris Christensen  1:13 

Or co-anchor? I don't even know what we want to call it.

Leah Ingalls  1:14

I don't know, I don't have a title yet. We’ll have to figure that out.

Chris Christensen  1:17 

All right, a shared responsibility.

Leah Ingalls  1:18


Chris Christensen  1:19

Welcome aboard.

Leah Ingalls  1:20 

Thank you. I'm very happy to be here.

Chris Christensen  1:22 

Leah, you want to talk just a little bit about yourself and what you're doing here at PMA?

Leah Ingalls  1:26 

Sure, I am a PMA major. I am in the class of 2025, which is a fancy way to say I'm a junior, I would say my concentration is in film slash video production. And, yeah, I think that's, is that good?

Chris Christensen  1:45 

Fantastic, fantastic. In the studio today, we have, and I have to get this right, The Assistant Manager of Cross Temporal Communication, and At Secretary of Joy and Play to talk about the Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures. Would the guests like to talk about themselves a little bit?

Andy Colpitts  2:09 

Absolutely. Yes. Thank you very much for the introduction. I am At Assistant Manager of Cross Temporal Communications. We are both here representing the Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures from the year 2030. That's right, we have come back from the year 2030 because we're a little distraught, really. Looking, looking back as we can now in the year 2030. At this year, this juncture in time, we feel that people are a little distraught, a little disheartened about the state of the world. And in 2030, we're doing pretty good.

Kelly Richmond  2:45 

You'll be shocked to hear.  So, hello, I am At, what is it? I am At Secretary of Joy and Play from Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures in the year 2030. Things are much better in 2030 than you would expect. I know currently, all your predictions, scientific, cultural, astrological, all seem to point towards impending disaster. And the wonderful insight we can bring to you from only seven years in the future is things get better.

Chris Christensen  3:21

Okay, I’m happy to hear that.

Kelly Richmond  3:22

They get, they get much better than you would think. And so, our department was formed as part of the Ithaca municipal government to help ensure that this beautiful, joyous future that we have already experienced, but you have yet to experience is going to come about. And so, my colleague was able to construct a time machine for us to come back and create an event to spark this joyous revolution. In the way, the best way we know how which is a dance party.

Chris Christensen  3:58 

Oh, well, that sounds like fun. Do we know much about the time machine? Like how did that work go?

Andy Colpitts  4:05 

Honestly, after, after I watched the last few seasons of Doctor Who it came together quite easily, the technology is, it's there. Even in 2023 I think you'll realize before too long that we're not far.

Chris Christensen  4:18 

Okay. All right. Easy enough. How's my retirement going? In 2030? Am I doing, did you check in?

Andy Colpitts  4:26 

Yeah, you've, you've already retired. It's great. You retired early. It's terrific.

Chris Christensen  4:30 

Oh, good. Yeah. All right. So I have that to look forward to. Leah, you have any questions for them?

Leah Ingalls  4:37 

Yes. So in this event, where and when is this event going to be taking place?

Andy Colpitts  4:44 

Yeah, so this event will be taking place on October 14, partially here at the Schwartz Center, and partially down at the Soil Factory which is across town right next to Ithaca Beer Co., if you know where that is. And we'll begin in the morning at 10 o'clock here taking place in the film forum. And then in the afternoon starting at 4, we'll be down at the soil factory.

Kelly Richmond  5:11 

And just to be clear, October 14th 2023, this is why we're here is to make sure this October 14th event goes forth.

Chris Christensen  5:20 

Okay. Now, are there, are there keynote speakers that are going to be present at this event?

Kelly Richmond  5:27 

Yes, so, myself, At Secretary, and my colleague At Assistant Manager are the hosts for the event. But we do have a guest speaker from your own time who is coming in to kick things off for the day. So that will be Professor Ian Garrett from York University in Toronto, who is also the Director for the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, which is an international cooperative that is working to educate and, educate and train folks in more sustainable practices in particularly the performing ats in the media arts. So he's an expert in what's called eco scenography and is going to come in and join, and join the Department of Arts and Futures, for the day to help bring that skill set into our community.

Chris Christensen  6:32

Very good.

Leah Ingalls  6:34 

So, I'm hearing that after these keynote presentations, that there will be a long table discussion.

Kelly Richmond  6:44 

Yes, so, so in the morning, we're going to gather the Schwartz Center, we're going to hear from Professor Garrett, we're also going to hear from many organizations based in Ithaca in 2023, who are already doing really fabulous work, uniting their performing arts practice, and environmental activist and sustainability research, and just general land based care in Tompkins County. So we're going to hear from all those folks about everything it is they're already doing. So not a focus on the future, not even necessarily focused on the present, but a gathering of all the resources of what we've already done and what, what we, what skills we already have. So that's the morning, and then in the afternoon, when we move to the Soil Factory, we're going to do an exercise that is called the long table. And really what it is, is a performance action. So every single person who comes to the Ithaca Department of Arts and Futures has an opportunity to participate in the long table, it is a performance of a conversation. If that sounds strange, it is. Really, what I want to… Don’t, don't worry about it, if you're listening to this, just don't worry about it. If you come and you bring your attention, and your enthusiasm, and your imagination, and whatever interest you have in the performing arts and or in environmental causes, into the room, trust us, let us guide you, it's going to be really fabulous. But what I want to sort of say to everyone is if you're someone who has a lot to say, and a lot to share, that is going to be space for that. And if you're someone who is more comfortable witnessing and listening, there will also be space for that as well. So the most exuberant performance as well as the most private listening will, will both be held for in that space. And then once we have done that performance action, there's going to be a wonderful dinner. And then a live music performance by the band Motherwort to kick off our dance party. So that's kind of the layout.

Chris Christensen  9:02 


Andy Colpitts  9:04

If you don't know the band, Motherwort, in the year 2030. They're world famous.

Kelly Richmond  9:09 

So get in now.

Andy Colpitts  9:10 

So get in now. I actually came back on my time machine earlier this year and saw them performing at Grassroots. It’s kind…

Chris Christensen  9:17 

Hey, I was there. I didn't even realize you were there. Wow, I didn't even see you.

Andy Colpitts  9:23 

Honestly, it's become kind of a legendary performance.

Chris Christensen  9:27

Wow. Oh, good.

Andy Colpitts  9:28

In the future. People remember it.. They also remember IDAF. And it's a big deal.

Chris Christensen  9:35 

So, I'm not familiar with the Soil Factory. I don't know why I'm not familiar with the Soil Factory.

Andy Colpitts  9:41 

Oh my goodness. The Soil Factory is a wonderful space that is dealing with, that's working in the arts, that's working in science, thinking about, like the name suggests, soil and is run by several soil scientists that are also professors here at Cornell. But it's also a community of people that you know are hosting movie nights, dinners, art exhibitions, performances, many other kinds of events. Kelly, if you want to say a little bit more as well,

Chris Christensen  10:11


Andy Colpitts  10:13

At Secretary, excuse me.

Kelly Richmond  10:19 

Yeah, the Soil Factory, we're so delighted that they have partnered with us to host the event because really, we see the work that they're doing as sort of exemplary of the type of work that both is already going on in Ithaca and Tompkins County, and also, we are hoping to imagine different versions of different iterations of more collaborations, more experimentations through IDAF. So yeah, if you've never been to the Soil Factory, this will be a great opportunity to come in, get introduced to the space. There will perhaps be some scientific experiments and some alt, other artistic happenings occurring simultaneously with our event. But it's kind of a magical space that you have to, you have to visit to understand.

Chris Christensen  11:10

All right.

Leah Ingalls  11:12 

Interesting, I just want to throw a question out there. If you were to imagine an ideal attendee or demographic for this event, who, on campus or otherwise, do you hope, really hope attends?

Andy Colpitts  11:28 

Well, I think most importantly, we're hoping that it's, that it is both people from off campus, and in the wider community, is the most important thing. This is free and open to the public. And we hope to have people that are involved in land based work, whether that is you know, farming, whether that's environmental activism, what have you, or if you're involved in the performing arts, or if you're involved in neither of those things and are just interested. But really, those are those are the two large kind of groups that we're pulling from in terms of our guests and hoping to create conversations with people that are already interested in those things. But also, always welcome to people that are just dipping their toes in.

Kelly Richmond  12:10 

Another, another, ideal guest, archetypal guest, I might imagine is someone who feels really strongly that things need to change, especially our relationship to the natural environment, our relationship to taking care of the land, and feels a little overwhelmed, feels like they don't necessarily yet know how they can participate in that change, that has to be both practical, and cultural. It has to be a change of the way we imagine our stories, it has to be a change in the way we share stories with one another. And if that feels important to you, but you don't yet have a practice, or a community in which to route those values, and turn that into projects, then this could be a really great opportunity. Because we hope to create space for those types of plantings and you know, nourishings to happen.

Chris Christensen  13:25 

At Assistant Manager, you, you've developed the time machine, you're traveling back and forth. Any issues with the time machine? Is it pretty, pretty smooth, kind of runs like a top so to speak?

Andy Colpitts  13:35 

The windows fog up sometimes.

Chris Christensen  13:37

Oh, okay.

Andy Colpitts  13:39

And I don't, I don't quite know how to get rid of that. And the radio breaks down.

Kelly Richmond  13:41 

It also only goes backwards. You should mention that, like we're here now.

Andy Colpitts  13:46

Yeah, we're stuck.

Kelly Richmond  13:47

We're stuck.

Chris Christensen  13:47 

Oh, so you're, you're here for the duration. But you know, everything's gonna be okay going forward. So…

Andy Colpitts  13:53 

We were there before.

Chris Christensen  13:54 

Right. So you're okay with that. I guess that's a challenge. Any other challenges in terms of putting this together, IDAF, that’s coming up?

Kelly Richmond  14:04 

It's unusual, although not unheard of to have this type of on campus, off campus event. And we know, you know, having a morning and then having a break and then having an afternoon regathering. So, so that's been interesting, logistically to plan. One thing we're aware of is that the Soil Factory because of where it's located just outside of town is very inaccessible through public transportation. So because of this, we are going to offer a sign up on our website for anyone who might need to plan transport and then we are going to offer transport for folks from the Schwartz Center to the Soil Factory. So if you don't have access to your own vehicle or to someone you can carpool with, there will be that made available to you.

Chris Christensen  14:53 

And how do people RSVP?

Andy Colpitts  14:56 

On the PMA website there is a link for IDAF where you'll be able to find all the information about the event, as well as a link to RSVP.

Chris Christensen  15:05 

Okay, and that's

Leah Ingalls  15:11 

All right. And so, this sounds like a very, a very interesting sort of all day event that features a lot of different approaches to the sort of conversation that you folks are opening up. And I'm wondering, at the end of a very long day of this sort of cross disciplinary discussion, what are you ultimately hoping people are going to be taking away from this? If they're just sort of rolling things around in their head? What are they really going to be taking away from this event?

Kelly Richmond  15:42 

I really hope that people walk away, feeling rejuvenated, feeling, hopeful, feeling like they've connected to, hopefully someone they already knew coming in, and someone they didn't know. And that being asked to play, this is why I'm the Secretary of Joy and Play. But being asked to play in an imaginative space has given them just a little bit of energy, as well as a little bit of a concrete plan for creating something that maybe they didn't imagine before the event.

Leah Ingalls  16:27 

Beautiful, wonderful, and I imagine that the dance party will certainly help with the cultivation of energy.

Andy Colpitts  16:32

That is the hope.

Chris Christensen  16:37 

Are there any additional details that you'd like to promote about the event? Things that we haven't covered so far?

Kelly Richmond  16:45 

Share it while, while, widely? What? I was gonna say share it wildly.

Chris Christensen  16:50

I like that.

Andy Colpitts  16:50

Share it wildly.

Kelly Richmond  16:51

You can do that too. Please share it wildly. Yeah. And, like, we've planned dinner for a giant crowd. So we're really hoping that folks can come and take full advantage of some play and some food and some dancing.

Andy Colpitts  17:09 

And we should say that while we hope that people will RSVP so that we can have some kind of an estimation of numbers, we do welcome you to just come the day of, even if you didn't, even if you didn't RSVP in advance. The more the merrier.

Chris Christensen  17:23 

All right. All right. I'm curious. And, apologies, if, if you mentioned this earlier, but you are from the future. Where were you physically in the future? Were you here in the Ithaca area?

Kelly Richmond and Andy Colpitts  17:36

In Ithaca, yes. Yes.

Chris Christensen  17:37

Oh, you were in the Ithaca area. Apologies if I missed that. Okay, well, I guess everything's still standing as it should be in terms of the Schwartz Center and the law school and nothing's slipped into the gorge or anything like that. I know that there's some structural issues that had come up at one point.

Kelly Richmond  17:51 

No, the city has radically, in fact, taken lots of actions to consider the flood zones, done some big infrastructure innovations. And perhaps that's something we might talk about at the event.

Chris Christensen  18:03 

Oh, very good.

Andy Colpitts  18:04 

Rents are even cheaper.

Chris Christensen  18:05 

Oh, well, I like that. Leah, do, are you, are you a renter?

Leah Ingalls  18:09 

I am not. No. But, perhaps in seven years time I could be.

Chris Christensen  18:14 

Okay. So you're gonna stick around then?

Leah Ingalls  18:15 

I think I have to, at this point. Yeah, I need to see this come to fruition.

Chris Christensen  18:19 

Yeah, a lot of people, that happens to undergrads and grads alike. They come to Cornell, and it's just so nice here in Ithaca. They just decide to stick around. So yeah, what are the rents looking like?

Andy Colpitts  18:31 

Oh, well, with inflation, they look about the same as they do now. But proportionally, it's less.

Chris Christensen  18:37 

Wow, that doesn't sound so good right now. But I guess in 2030, maybe it does.

Kelly Richmond  18:41 

There's also universal basic income then. So…

Andy Colpitts  18:44

And healthcare.

Kelly Richmond  18:45

Yeah, it's magical. Seven years, folks, you can do it.

Chris Christensen  18:49 

Good. Any new restaurants that we should know about? That we can look forward to?

Kelly Richmond  18:53

That would be spoiling things.

Chris Christensen  18:55

Oh, yeah. Okay.

Leah Ingalls  18:57 

Mhm. There needs to be some incentive to, to stay here and see what happens.

Chris Christensen  19:01 

Easy enough. Well, I guess I'll stick around too. Even if, I even if I do make the retirement happen. I'll stick around as well. Well, you know, the one thing we didn't talk about, I don't think, is the number of sponsors and co-sponsors that are involved with this event.

Kelly Richmond  19:21 

So many.

Andy Colpitts  19:22

So many. So we've got support from, of course, the PMA Department as well as PMAPS, which is the graduate symposium that that happens every semester here at, here in PMA. The Soil Factory, of course, but we also have support from multiple departments. The Gender, Gender, Feminist Gender and Sexuality Studies. American Studies…

Kelly Richmond  19:50 

The Rural Humanities at the Society for the Humanities, the Cornell Council for the Arts, and the Einhorn Center.

Chris Christensen  19:59

That's a lot.

Kelly Richmond  20:00


Andy Colpitts  20:01 

And Media Studies.

Kelly Richmond  20:02

Oh, yeah, and Media Studies.

Andy Colpitts  20:04

Didn’t say Media Studies. They're also helping us out. Yeah. So lots of sponsors have, have come out to help.

Kelly Richmond  20:08 

And we're really, really grateful for that. Because we are trying to, as much as possible, turn those funds into investments in our community, and to folks who are doing great work in both the arts and land based causes, so…

Chris Christensen  20:26 

Okay, okay. I guess I did ask you if there was anything we had covered already. Anything you wanted to add. Leah, do you have any additional questions?

Leah Ingalls  20:35 

Not that I can think of, but I will say I think this is really one of the best expressions I've seen of how interdisciplinary things can be here at Cornell. And I think it's really cool that this is situated within the Schwartz, that it is being supported by so many different departments. So…

Chris Christensen  20:54 

Well, thank you both for being here. It's been nice to have you on the podcast.

Kelly Richmond  20:58

Thank you.

Andy Colpitts  20:59 

Thanks for having us.

Kelly Richmond  21:00 

And you will find me at @SecretaryOfJoyAndPlay. That is my handle. But only in the future, you won't be able to find me online for at least another five years under that title.

Chris Christensen  21:16 

Okay, so we should put a little note in our iPhones or Androids depending on what we're using. Did those things still exist in 2030?

Kelly Richmond  21:24 

No, they're all inside our eyeballs.

Chris Christensen  21:26 

Oh, okay. But we'll be able to transfer that there. Between now and then. Okay, good. Good. Excellent. Perfect. Well, thank you so much.

Kelly Richmond, Andy Colpitts and Leah Ingalls  21:37

Thank you.

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