Students from Tufts University continue to reflect on the benefits on arts-integrated interdisciplinarity based on their experience at the a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Conference. “It was one of the best conferences I’ve attended,” says Matthew McMahan, a graduate student of drama.
Quinn Wongkew, a senior studying Mechanical Engineering, realized the need for a common lexicon that supports interdisciplinary collaboration. He came to this understanding when he noticed that his own major’s academic jargon didn’t quickly register with students from other disciplines. “”Giving people a common translator would be helpful and is the most difficult part.”
Surveying the collaborative landscape allows a university to recognize how arts-integrated interdisciplinary is evolving on campus. Partnership with a2ru has served as a catalyst for awareness with regard to how different disciplines on the Tufts campus collaborate with the arts.
Nancy Bauer, Dean of Academic Affairs for the School of Arts and Sciences, notes: “The arts enhance what we’re doing in our mission both educationally and co-curricularly across all sorts of activities that happen on campus…a2ru got us to take an inventory of what we were doing and notice the extent to which wonderful artistic collaborations were already underway.”
Last year, Dean Bauer and Professor Joseph Auner (Music) carried out a survey of projects within the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering that apply artistic theory and practice to teaching and research. They found multiple art-related collaborations happening on campus, such as a project between the Tufts Art Gallery and the Tufts Silk Lab for communicating and designing the biomimetic functions of silk.
Photograph featuring Matthew McMahan by Yuto Watanabe