James R. Swensen

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James R. Swensen is a graduate of BYU. He received his bachelor's degree in Art History in 1998 and his master's degree in Art History and Curatorial Studies in 2000. Swensen joined the Visual Arts faculty in 2007.

In the summer of 2010, Art History professor James Swensen was awarded the John Topham and Susan Redd Butler BYU Faculty Research Award from the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. The mission of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies is to promote the study of the Intermountain West by sponsoring research, publication, teaching, and public programs in a variety of academic disciplines. The award Swensen received is given to BYU faculty whose proposed research illuminates some aspect of the American experience in the Intermountain West.

The title of Swensen’s proposal was “A Vision Official: A.J. Russell’s Photo-documentation of the Construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, 1868-1869.” Swensen will be researching how A.J. Russell’s images (stereographs and larger formats) shaped the way the West was seen and sold to Eastern audiences. With this award Swensen will be able to conduct research in Iowa City at the Union Pacific RR Archives, in California, and along the route of the transcontinental railroad from Omaha to Promontory Point.

In 2011 Swensen was a director of the Capitol Reef Project funded by the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the Arts. James also collaborated with Richard Hull and Jason Lanegan to incorporate all facets of the Visual Arts Department. The project included students from all disciplines of Visual Arts and concluded with an exhibit, A Private Experience in a Public Space, at BYU and also at Snow College.

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