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

Greetings a2ru Partners and Friends,
Spring and summer have been a busy time for the a2ru office, with a full range of updates to share with our growing network. 

2016 a2ru National Conference Update: Early registration is open! SEE HERE. We received 86 submissions for workshops, panels and breakout sessions in four categories of Arts & Health, Creative Venture, S.E.A.D, and the New Humanities. Four a2ru peer review panels of 26 scholars from 22 a2ru universities reviewed and scored all applications. A huge thanks to our panel of peers for ‘doing the work’ of a2ru this summer. Our conference will feature 35+ sessions, along with keynotes, plenary panels, art installations, pop-ups and performances, 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 and lead a student Metamorphing workshop.  More information on special guests and presentations may be found in the conference article below.

We welcome The University of Georgia to a2ru as our newest member! Their diverse faculty and students, along with their Willson Center for Humanities & Arts and Lamar Dodd School of Art will have much to add to a2ru’s portfolio.

In wrapping up the 2015-16 academic year, a2ru congratulates our 2016 Student Challenge Grant recipients.  I also invite you to check out what students from University of Colorado Denver, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and across the network had to say about our 2016 Emerging Creatives Student Summit hosted by the University of Michigan March 9-11. 
In April, a2ru launched a quick turnaround Creative Placemaking Survey to gather some basic information on how your campuses are intersecting with your communities. Our hunch was correct: a lot is going on, and in many cases it’s happening under the radar of nationally funded initiatives. Thanks to our 35 respondents from 19 a2ru campuses for the quick response!  Your feedback validates our work ahead, laying the groundwork for 2017 a2ru program module being created for this sector.  You may review the report here.

a2ru On the Road: Check out a2ru Mellon Research Fellow Edgar Cardenas’ blog report on the 2016 HASTAC conference, May 11-15 at Arizona State University.  Last week he and I traveled to Cancun, MX for “Your Brain on Art” — University of Houston’s 2016 International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation and Creativity.  I’m also pleased to report a2ru has been invited by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to serve on a two-year working Committee on Integrating Higher Education in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The first convening was in Washington, D.C. at the end of July. Thomas Ewing at Virginia Tech, Benjamin Hurlbut at Arizona State University, and Guna Nadarajan at the University of Michigan, will also represent a2ru member campuses on this committee. I couldn’t be prouder of a2ru’s solid contributions to this important national work. NOTE: Tom Rudin, Director of the Board of Higher Education and Workforce at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will lead an open discussion forum at our upcoming national conference around this key research topic.
Have a great summer! Check back early and often to the a2ru conference website as we update speakers and panels.

Warm regards,


a2ru Welcomes The University of Georgia!


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



The a2ru 2016 National Conference, ArtsRx: Creative Venture, Wellbeing, and the New Humanities will be hosted by the University of Colorado Denver on 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 and lead a student Metamorphing workshop.

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.


Please join us in congratulating our 2016 a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Challenge Grant Winners!

Three interdisciplinary student teams, comprised from participants in the 2016 a2ru Emerging Creatives Conference from member universities across the network have received Student Challenge Grant awards to further develop their projects over the next year.  

You may read more about these exciting projects here.

a2ru Circuits Webinars


An audio transcript is
now available for our most recent
webinar in the a2ru Circuits Series,
Integrating Creativity into Living Learning Communities.

This webinar features a2ru faculty and staff from Northeastern University, the University of Florida, and the University of Michigan, and was originally broadcast 
Thursday, May 19, 2016.  

a2ru Network Opportunities

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

Research Agenda Update
Gabriel Harp
Research Director


The aim of this brief is to identify emerging themes, technological drivers, and social practices that shape the future of scholarly communications in the arts and humanities. It consists of a qualitative analysis of 414 open-ended responses to the question, “What do you think will be the most important development in scholarly communication in the coming years?”

We envision our audience using these categories to foster their own thinking about the future...  [Read more]



Creative Placemaking Survey

Edgar Cardenas
Mellon Research Fellow


The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) released a targeted survey in April 2016 examining the role of creative placemaking in higher education. The purpose of the survey was to identify creative placemaking activity in higher education as grounding for the 2016 Arts Business Research Symposium, April 28-29 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Little is known about how creative placemaking intersects with higher education, despite a burst of activity in the last five years...
[Read More]

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is a community of 14,200+ members that share interdisciplinary “tools, research, insights, pedagogy, methods, and projects.” This year Arizona State University (ASU) hosted the HASTAC conference with the initial keynote address being provided by ASU President, Michael Crow, and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability Director, Gary Dirks.

[Read more]


a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit: Student Perspectives 


The a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit was held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on March 9-11, 2016, and it was the student participants that brought the innovation, vitality and perspective that made it a success!

To read commentary on the summit from participants Bailey Barrow, UAB and William Card, UC-Denver, and see a video showcasing many other student voices, follow the links!

The 2017 a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit will be held at the University of Florida February 9-11, 2016. The theme will be "Water".   


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.


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