I am the proud #motherofdrones of two new drones housed in the Department of Communication at Pacific Lutheran University, where I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric. The drones (Phantom 3's) were procured from a PLU Online Teaching (PLUTO) Grant that calls for the use of drone technology in pedagogy. My drone pedagogy includes widening access to the technology, demystifying programming and privacy laws, and thinking creatively about what drones can do. As I learned, the privilege of owning a drone or two entangles you in the widely variant discourses and interests surrounding these objects.

As drone applications multiply, it is my belief that students, educators, artists, and policymakers should not just keep apace of developments in drone use; they should try to step back for a moment to consider what drones should do. "Life Under Drones" is an opportunity to do just that. Along with my colleague Dr. Kate Hoyt, the Leadership Team, and our Student Planning Committee, I hope to make space with leading artists, academics, and practitioners to shape the conversation about drones.

My academic stance on drones comes with a general suspiciousness of the technology, given how US police, homeland security, the military, and private citizens use certain drones to surveil those already vulnerable to systemic violence. Welcoming that suspicious hesitation, it feels essential to consider how drones extend and change forms of racist surveillance that predate the technology.

"Life Under Drones" is an opportunity to think about what it means to already live under the influence of drones. Surely, following this line of thought will lead to the conclusion that some drones need to become grounded, for "us" and others to no longer live under them. "Life Under Drones" also, however, asks after the potential of agency over, with, and through drones, and of looking back at drones. This open inquiry into drone technology is why I am excited to help visualize this scholarly and creative research symposium alongside other passionate voices.

Your support can help us bring this much needed conversation to PLU in the fall.

Marnie Ritchie Marnie Ritchie
View Our Campaign Page

Breakfast for a scholar, artist, or industry leader

We are inviting participants from all over the country to take part in the symposium. A gift of $10 will ensure one of our symposium presenters are well-fed, bright-eyed, and ready to partake in important conversations about drone technology.

Lunch for two scholars, artists, or industry leaders

We want our symposium participants to be nourished and supported as they share their work with the PLU community and beyond. $25 will go toward providing lunch in The Commons for our presenters.

Help transport symposium presenters to/from their hotel

With so many guests flying in from out of town, your $50 gift will ensure smooth transit between the hotel and the PLU campus.

Art Installation Equipment

We have a number of digital and traditional artists who will be installing their work in PLU's University Gallery. A $75 gift will help ensure our visiting artists can hang art, secure digital equipment, route power, create beautiful signage, and support the technological needs of the artworks.

One night of lodging for a visiting scholar, artist, or industry leader

We are expecting guests from across the country; $150 will help us cover the lodging costs for symposium presenters.

Fly in a scholar, artist, or industry leader

We will be covering the transportation costs of all symposium presenters; a $500 gift will pay for a guest's air travel costs.

Sponsor an out-of-town symposium presenter

$1,000 will cover airfare and a 2-night stay in a hotel for one prominent leader in the academic, technological, commercial, artistic, media, policy, and military industries. Help make this conversation as well-represented as possible.

Thank You for Your Gift

Our success relies on the generosity of our community. A gift today will have a lasting impact, and we are so grateful for it.

Completed! PLU Life Under Drones