Independent Scholars' Evenings

Our mission is to provide a free-standing, public forum for the support of area Independent Scholars and interested co-learners.

A free-standing Public Forum is provided for area and regional independent scholars to present their ongoing work in the presence of interested co-learners. The presenting of independent work as well as the possible dialogue following the presentation is designed to assist independent scholars and participants in furthering their work.

We hope to attract members from varying and different factions of the community in the sharing of their work.

In these days of solitary internet, it is a luxury to be able to have an active, free standing, Public Forum, where we, as
independent scholars, have no commitments except to share our ongoing work with interested co-learners.

To that end the Public Forum is reserved for the convenience of both academicians as well as lay independent scholars.

Finished art, articles, books, essays, music and other pieces of work by participants will be circulated among the supporters, other independent scholars and sponsors. Their work may be sent to affiliated educational institutions and attached files be circulated through The Institute web pages.

There is no charge for the Forum nor is there a charge for the circulation of their material.

The fifteenth-century portrait of St. Jerome famously embodies a familiar image: the scholar with his lion in a study poring over his books. The theme continues, perhaps unconsciously: " A work in progress quickly becomes feral.... it is a lion you cage in your study. As the work grows it gets harder to control... You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it.

If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, 'Simba!'
( Annie Dillard, The Writing Life [ New Your, 1989 ] 52).

To a certain taste, the appeal of this scene depicted in the painting is an irresistible model of the scholarly life: well-chosen books, seemly surroundings, dignity and tranquility.

Our domestic architecture, habitual apparel, choice of companions may differ from St. Jerome, but our powers of imagination and self-improvement let us indulge in the fantasy.

The historic Jerome may have has a different devotion directing his study, yet when we indulge the fantasy of identification with Jerome, we engage in an old exercise: authorizing the present out of the past. The unveiling of the painting in the fifteenth-century was designed to encourage the collapsing of the present and the past. As we go into the future, the lion in the study needs to be well tamed and well nurtured. Its boundaries clearly specified, its perimeters deliberate, either in implication or in definition.

Here is a venue for Independent Scholarship. The one which is provided by The Institute is one with a particular perimeter, specific to its own , in that the venue provides a consistent free-standing forum, in a building reserved for the purpose. This is unusual in the 21st. century. In downtown Moline, on 5th. Ave. is such an establishment. The co-learners may number in few or many. That is a minor factor. The major factor of note is that such a facility would exist at all for our productive work. Obviously, in the world of today, the forum is not restricted to Moline.

It is for us to make full use of the facility. And the forum. Regardless of our age.

Every Thursday evening, at 7.00 p.m. on the 2nd floor of The Moline Club, 513 16th. Street Moline the venue is open to the public, for a collection of co-learners in support of The Independent Scholar who is presenting their work for that specific evening, supporting and encouraging the presenter in his or her effort to keep mastery over his or her lion. Keeping, as Jerome did, the lion in the cage.


* Illinois Humanities Council.
* Iowa Humanities Council.
* Augustana College.
* The Institute for Cultural and Healing Traditions, Ltd.