Temple Grandin to speak in Ann Arbor on September 9

It’s just been announced that noted animal scientist and advocate for the autistic, Temple Grandin – a woman recently immortalized on film by Claire Danes, and honored as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people – will be coming to speak at U-M as part of the School of Art & Design’s Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitor Series. The event, which is scheduled to take place at the Michigan Theater, is free and open to the public on a first come first served basis. Following is the School of Art & Design writeup:

“Thinking in Pictures”

Temple Grandin is a Doctor of Animal Science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry in animal behavior. Facilities she has designed are located in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she has designed for cattle are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many people to reduce stress on their animals during handling.

As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the hug machine designed to calm hypersensitive persons.

Images of the hug machine, for those who are interested, can be found here.

And here, for those unfamiliar with her work, is a scene from the documentary, “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow.”

I’m too shy to stand up and ask during the event, but I’d be curious to know if she’s ever been consulted by those entities involved in the design and construction of prison complexes, or, for that matter, schools and airports. It seems as though there might be quite a bit of overlap.

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  1. East Side
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s weird how someone who essentially made slaughterhouses more efficient became such a beloved character in American popular culture. I wonder what the title of the lecture, “Thinking in Pictures,” means.

  2. East Side
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    OK, I found out. It’s the title of her book on autism.


  3. Kim
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The Penny Stamps lecture series is one of the best things that the University of Michigan has going for it right now. They consistently bring great people to Ann Arbor, and they make them available not only to students but to the public. And it’s a great partnership with a local, non-University institution – the Michigan Theater. There should be more things like this.

  4. Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    An innovative thinker and doer.


  5. Edward
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I hope she’ll discuss her fashion sense. I don’t mean that as a joke. I truly find her look fascinating, and I’d like to know her thoughts on fashion.

  6. Keifer
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to know if she eats meat. On one hand she seems very sympathetic to these cows, but, on the other, her job is to make the process of slaughter more efficient. It could be argued that it’s also less cruel for the cows. But, slaughter is slaughter. Are there no other areas of research where she could contribute that perhaps were less objectionable? Or doesn’t that matter to her?

  7. jeff davis
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    An interesting event happened on the campaign trail today. while campaigning as a write-in for mayor on a side street in down town around 530 pm a prostitute offered me a sexual favor for a few dollars. i told her “no thanks” then it happened again 10 minutes later just 2 blocks away & a different woman. also told her “no thanks” my focus then turned to trying to find a cop. not having a cell phone on me i kept my eyes open for 1 in downtown. 15 minutes later i still hadn’t found 1 so i went into a local business & called the police. 1 of the women was now working the corner with no luck just across the street. my question is: how are we as a city going to attract families & businesses to our city when we have this crap going on in the middle of the afternoon on our busiest street? the interesting twist to this story is that i was wearing a campaign shirt that read “bring jobs back 2 ypsi, write-in jeff davis for mayor.

  8. D
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Temple Grandin does eat meat- she tried not, but it didn’t do well for her. The best way to take care of cattle and the most influential thing to do is recreate how they are killed to minimize terror. Some 300 million Americans eat meat, that is not going to change soon, but what she did change makes an amazing difference for these animals. You should definitely read her several books, or come to the lecture.

  9. Posted August 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Coincidentally reading Animals In Translation right now and excited for this! This is one clear case where efficiency is not the enemy since the increases in efficiency for slaughterhouses due to Ms. Grandin’s inventions and consultation are basically entirely due to more humane treatment of the animals, e.g. spooked and stressed animals slow things down as does kill failure. She also has some really smart things to say advocating policing systems with success benchmarks and accountability for slaughterhouses versus zero-tolerance policies which tend to encourage the hiding errors and corruption to cover up non-compliance. An amazing life effort to alleviate suffering and still going strong.

  10. Posted August 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this, I hadn’t heard and now can plan on attending. She’s an amazing woman and I agree, I’m curious about her fashion sense also.

  11. Edward
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    It’s hard for me to reconcile my fondness for her and my deep hatred for factory farming. I understand that the work that she’s doing is important, and that she’s responsible for improving the lives of these animals in some ways, but I can’t get beyond the fact that it’s happening within the context of these giant, disgusting meat factories.

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