a2ru Working Groups

To continue the important conversations that start at the a2ru conference each year, a2ru has launched a series of working groups and communities of practice for our members to have year-round opportunities to share knowledge and best practices, collaboratively develop action and research plans, and to pursue shared funding for inter-institutional projects.

If you wish to participate in a2ru working groups and you are not currently affiliated with an a2ru institutional member or have an individual membership with a2ru, please consider supporting a2ru’s mission by becoming an a2ru member to the best of your ability. We welcome unaffiliated individuals and independent artists, and those that work in community settings for nonprofits, to the Arts in Public Health group regardless of membership status.

Current topics include:

Academic Metrics

Chair: Ivica Ico Bukvic, Virginia Tech

This group meets every second Wednesday at 3 PM EST/noon PST. This group is pursuing a shared research and action strategy to develop artist-driven assessment protocols in research university contexts that make legible and better promote the unique intellectual and creative contributions of arts- and design-based faculty, which are not well represented by current dominant models such as Academic Analytics.

Interdisciplinary Centers and Institutes

Chairs: Mary Beth Leigh, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Emily Ryan, University of Kansas

This group meets on the third Thursday of every month at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST. This group gathers those interested in learning more about the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration on a college/university campus and support for this work in all stages of interdisciplinary center development–from early ideation, planning, and implementation stages to those engaged with mature and stable centers–into dialogue and community to help advance their unique goals and missions.

One of the best practices for arts integration is the establishment, programming, and sustaining of Interdisciplinary Centers (broadly defined*) to lead to policies, practices, research, and teaching that are holistic, connected, and innovative.

Topics the group will continue to explore include:

· Metrics for impact

· Funding models

· Physical structures / reliance upon them

· Relationships to surrounding communities

· Solutions to barriers/challenges

· Shared understanding/messaging around the importance of an interdisciplinary center and programming

Arts in Health Educators

Chair: Ferol Carytsas, University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine

This group meets on the second Monday of every other month. This group is working on curricula development, including establishing certificates, minors, and majors in this area of study, and coordinating and exploring the intersections in arts in health, entrepreneurship, and arts management (field definition, taxonomies, student employment in this field, pedagogical tenets of this emerging field including social justice and equity).

Arts in Public Health

This group meets on the fourth Monday of every other month, to build an action and research agenda for arts in public health researchers and practitioners in higher education settings and beyond.

AI in the Arts

Chairs: Daragh Byrne, Carnegie Mellon University; Aaron Knochel, Penn State University

Generative AI has had a seismic impact on arts and design in the last year. From the ethical concerns that have driven litigation to the torrent of graphics-generating large language models that have become more openly available, we are in an ecological shift for computer aided design and image generation rivaled only by the shift from photochemical to digital image making brought on by smartphones. 

This working group, which meets monthly, represents a diverse range of disciplinary and cultural perspectives gathered in shared study of AI potentialities, particularly in the context of arts and design higher education.

Membership in this working group has been curated by the co-chairs for Spring 2024; contact flanigam@umich.edu for more information.

If you or someone you know is interested in engaging more deeply in these topic areas please contact a2ru Executive Director Maryrose Flanigan at flanigam@umich.edu with the working group topic in the subject line.