Author, film executive to be keynote speakers at URI graduate student conference

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96 participants coming from 32 schools, 7 countries

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 19, 2008 – The University of Rhode Island will hold its 2008 Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, Saturday, March 29 from 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Titled “Space, Place, and Imagination,” the conference provides a forum for the work of graduate students at URI and other institutions of higher learning.

Most sessions will be held in Independence Hall, 60 Upper College Road. The closing reception will be in the Hardge Forum at the Multicultural Center, 74 Lower College Road, from 6 to 6:45 p.m.

Conference presenters represent a broad range of disciplines including literary studies, writing, history, drama, film and media studies, art and art history, women’s studies, environmental sciences and psychology. So far, the conference has attracted 96 participants from 32 schools and seven countries.

The registration fee before March 1 is $20 and $25 after. The fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch, closing reception and conference materials. Both keynote talks are free and open to the public. Lunch will be in the University Club.

Deborah Davis, the author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X, will give the first talk at 1 p.m. following lunch in the University Club. Davis is also the author of Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball, The Secret Life of Frames: One Hundred Years of Art and Artistry and the forthcoming Newport, Gilded: Riches, Romance, and Reversals of Fortune in America’s Most Exclusive Resort.

Mark Urman, the U.S. theatrical head of THINKFilm, a privately held production and distribution company founded in September 2001, will give the 5 p.m. keynote address at the Multicultural Center. Prior to THINKfilm, Urman was co-president of the U.S. Theatrical Releasing division of Lion’s Gate Films, where he engineered the marketing and distribution of such successes as Gods and Monsters, Affliction, Shadow of the Vampire, The Red Violin and The Dinner Game. He was executive producer of Monster’s Ball, for which Halle Berry won the Oscar for best actress.

For further information, contact Laurie Carlson at 508-847-3845 or at

Sponsors of the event are the Graduate Student Association, the URI Alumni Association, the Graduate School, the Multicultural Center, the Research Office, and the College of Arts and Sciences.