a2ru September 2016 Newsletter
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A Message from Laurie Baefsky, Executive Director

  Greetings a2ru Partners and Friends,
  Welcome to a new academic year!

  New members: Last month, I had the pleasure of welcoming
  The   University of Georgia as our 35th a2ru partner. This month,
 we welcome The University of Arizona as partner campus 36! Their Museum of Art, School of Art, Office of Research and Discovery, and Provost are jointly supporting a2ru on their campus. We look forward to their rich contributions.

Conference Updates: I invite you to explore our *new* 2016 national conference "ArtsRx" webpage. Hosted by CU Denver, we kick things off November 3 with Liz Lerman, followed by 3 days of 50+ sessions presented by representatives from more than 35 universities.

Research Updates: At the a2ru national conference, Gabriel Harp, a2ru research director, will lead discussions and workshops on multiple a2ru initiatives developed this past year. These include:
  • a new "ThirdSpace" aggregator and peer-reviewed platform developed out of last year's 2015 national conference exemplar presentations;
  • a new Keystone Guide being developed to help facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations; and
  • a sneak peak at the early stages of a new searchable website and repository to house over 600 interviews for future research, captured from early-stage Mellon Foundation-funded research. This site is being hosted by the Inter-collegiate Center for Politics, Science and Research (ICPSR).

a2ru Will Be Represented at the Following Upcoming Events:

National Academy of Sciences Update: a2ru will be in Boston, October 13-14 serving on the committee for the first regional information gathering workshop on the Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels. We're proud to have FOUR a2ru campuses clustered in the greater Boston area (Boston University, MIT, Northeastern University, and Tufts University). I encourage those campuses to come out for the many open sessions! All sessions are free. More information below.

Read on for more a2ru news. Here's to an impactful fall!


a2ru Welcomes
The University of Arizona!

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities is proud to welcome The University of Arizona as our newest a2ru partner.

a2ru National Conference, ArtsRx: Creative Venture, Wellbeing, and the New Humanities

University of Colorado Denver
November 3-5, 2016. 
Registration is now open here

MacArthur Fellow, Liz Lerman will kick off the conference with an opening keynote on arts and wellbeing, Thursday, November 3. Multimedia artist, author, educator, and inventor, Todd Siler will keynote on November 4.

We’ll be joined by Randy Cohen, Research Director from Americans for the Arts, discussing the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, and Manuel Bagorro, Artistic Director from Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project for a special panel on Creative Interventions in Wellbeing. With a2ru using foresight as a crosscutting lens to motivate our work and as a recognized core skill for academic leadership, J.D. Talasek, Director of Cultural Programs at the National Academy of Sciences will moderate a Futures Panel, with student respondents from MIT, UT Dallas, and UC Denver. And lots more! This conference coincides with Denver’s Arts Week downtown – so be prepared for a full slate of after-hours events.  

Student Travel Grants Available

a2ru is pleased to announce our new Student Travel Grant Program, which is open to any undergraduate or graduate student of a partner institution, and would like to attend either the annual a2ru conference, the Emerging Creatives Student Summit, or any other a2ru event or workshop.

a2ru Student Travel Grants of up to $250 will be awarded. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and only a limited number are available for each a2ru event.

Interested students may fill out and submit their application HERE.

Awardees will be notified of grant decisions within two weeks of submission. Expedited grant reviews may be reviewed by request on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions about the grant, or the application process, please contact Deb Mexicotte, ArtsEngine Associate Director, at

The University of Cincinnati is actively seeking cooperative education and apprenticeship placements for students as they launch the nation's first and only mandatory co-op program for Fine Arts students.  These students bring specializations with a variety of 2D, 3D, and electronic media applications to employers across the country and the globe each semester, working in full-time professional experiences.  UC's program leverages a rich history of more than 100 years of cooperative education, and nationally ranked programs in art and design.  Practicing artists and craftsmen, non-profit organization, galleries and museums, and any other members of the arts community with an interest in connecting this program as a new partner are encourages to contact Jason Britton at 513-556-0151 or and to visit and

53rd Annual Conference
Grand Rapids, Michigan during ArtPrize
October 5-8, 2016

Click here to register now! 
Bring your Chairpersons of Visual Arts Departments! 

Conference Agenda
Roundtable Presenters

Maryrose Flanigan Joins a2ru as New Associate Director

a2ru is excited to welcome Maryrose Flanigan as our new associate director. She joins us after having served as division coordinator for Literature and Arts Education at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2010-2016. There, she coordinated the Art Works grant category, the creative writing and translation fellowships; Poetry Out Loud; and the NEA Big Read. With degrees in creative writing, poetry, and French from American University, John Carroll University, and a language certificate from Sorbonne University in Paris, France, she has also served as associate editor for Office of Communications and Public Affairs (OCPA) at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), in Washington, D.C.

Deb Mexicotte will be moving into a new role as ArtsEngine associate director on the University of Michigan campus and will continue her work leading the a2ru Curricular/Co-Curricular committee.  

Your Brain on Art (Part 1 of 2) - Setting the Stage

Edgar Cardenas
Mellon Research Fellow

A summary and reflection on a session titled "How the Creative Arts and Aesthetic Experiences Engage the Human Mind and Promote Creativity and Innovation" presented at the 2016 International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging (MoBI) and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation and Creativity hosted by the University of Houston.

Serendipitously, this panel – and its ensuing question and answer session – framed the underlying discussions that would unfold over the course of the conference. As such, I will pivot to the questions raised through these discussions around the intersections of art, neuroscience, and creativity, rather than cover the content of the conference in a linear fashion. To elaborate, the topics that arose were: (a) how the study of aesthetics in neuroscience is evolving and should evolve, (b) how are we to conceptualize where creativity is located in the brain, (c) what should we classify as a creative act, and [Read more]

Save the Date!
 2017 a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit

WATER: New Directions Through Arts and Science

University of Florida, Gainesville 
February 8-11, 2017

No community on this planet is without its water-based challenges. Water-centric grand challenges are many, ranging from access and social justice issues in local and global contexts, to environmental degradation, to toxicological challenges, to saltwater incursion into freshwater, to sea level rise. Uniquely situated less than two hours from the Gulf Coast and from the Atlantic Ocean in an area known for its numerous freshwater springs, the University of Florida has great strength in local, regional, national, and international research and creative activity when it comes to these and other water-centric grand challenges. [Read More]

Open to all students of a2ru partnersApply online now through Friday, December 9, 2016!

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) advances the full range of arts-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice to acknowledge, articulate and expand the vital role of higher education in our global society.

Partnership in a2ru remains open. Information on how to become a partner can be found by clicking here. We invite you to review the a2ru brochure outlining a2ru's key arts forward initiatives and partner benefits.


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine invites you to attend the first regional information gathering workshop for the consensus study on the Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels. Over the course of this workshop, the study committee will hear from scholars, educators, and administrators on the models, practices, opportunities, and challenges for integrative approaches to teaching and learning and will consider the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities and arts with science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students.

The workshop will be held October 13-14, 2016 at Le Laboratoire Cambridge (650 East Kendall Street, Cambridge, MA). We welcome you to join all public sessions as indicated in the agenda. Please direct questions regarding this workshop to Ashley Bear at

We hope you will join us for this event. Please register HERE.

Materials-Based Research Grant

Sponsor deadline: November 16, 2016
The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) has announced a new, pilot grant initiative that will support the expanding definition of craft-based research and promote collaboration between the fields of Craft, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The Materials-Based Research Grant is an award of up to $15,000 granted to interdisciplinary teams of researchers for an 18-month grant period. The goal of these collaborations is to encourage mutually beneficial innovation in Craft and STEM through focusing on materials and process-based research. The teams should include one maker and one professional working in a STEM-based field (e.g. Material Science, Manufacturing, Environmental Studies, Medicine, Structural Engineering, etc.). Past CCCD projects have addressed the intersections of craft and sound, digital technology, design, social justice, and community engagement.

Grant guidelines are available at


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