A2RU
A2RU

2021 a2ru National Conference: Sharing Stories: The Case for Art

About the Conference

Over the last twelve months, we have seen a range of sources acknowledge the powerful importance of the arts, particularly in the Covid era. As arts practitioners and leaders, we embrace our role in this unprecedented moment, even as we continue to rethink our disciplines, how our methods have changed during this time, and what the future of the arts might look like.

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) will use this year’s online conference to meet this unique moment in a uniquely artful way. We will engage and explore how we can best deploy what we hope has not changed—our passion for the arts, for arts education, and for arts integration—through storytelling, rather than traditional conference presentations.

Conference Schedule Coming Soon

Featured Speakers

Aaron Colverson (he/him)
Doctoral Candidate, University of Florida
Aaron Colverson (he/him)
Doctoral Candidate, University of Florida

Aaron has worked with the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine as a research assistant for the past 7 years. While there, he has collaborated on multiple projects, including, the COVID-19 Arts Response team, an Oxford bibliography of the arts in public health, the CDC vaccine confidence team, two scoping reviews of the literature on the arts and health communication and the arts and well-being, a systematic review on the arts and suicide survivorship, and original research on uses of live preferential music to affect pain perception in acute care settings. He is currently a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology, with partnering research in neuroscience. The aim of his dissertation is to determine relationships between rhythm/timing perception and cognition in the healthy aging population. This work stems from a fellowship he received to study relationships between music and social engagement in dementia, to which he presented findings at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, 2020. Aaron is also a trained violinist and continues to make music in multiple small and large ensemble settings.

Courtnie N. Wolfgang (she/her/ella)
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University
Courtnie N. Wolfgang (she/her/ella)
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University

Courtnie Wolfgang is associate professor and graduate program director of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, USA. Her research and pedagogy focus on liberatory intersections of post-structural, post/feminist, critical race, and queer theories with arts pedagogies, school and community teaching, and justice-oriented Arts Education practices. Her work has been published in Visual Arts Research, Studies in Art Education, the Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, and the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education among others and she recently edited a special issue of Visual Arts Research on Queering Art Education. Wolfgang received her PhD in art and visual culture education from the Ohio State University, and her MA in art education and BFA in photography from the University of Georgia.

César Presa
César Presa

César is a musician, organizer, farmer, and chef-extraordinaire. He makes music with Yaya and as a solo instrumental act. He is a lead organizer with UofO’s Music City Festival, co-curates the Living Room Series, and runs the concert series “Soundscapes”, which features eclectic, off-the-beaten track sounds from Essex County and beyond. César is involved with several urban gardening projects in Orange and Newark.

Connie Frigo (she/her)
Professor of saxophone, University of Georgia
Connie Frigo (she/her)
Professor of saxophone, University of Georgia

Connie, professor of saxophone at the University of Georgia, is a performer, teacher, speaker, and maker of interdisciplinary events focused on inquiry, dialog about the creative process, and community engagement. As part of UGA’s Arts Lab, under the direction of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, she is researching and designing sustainable local music projects based in creative placemaking, beginning with the Athens Hip Hop Harmonic  – a multi-year project that bridges UGA faculty/students and local Hip Hop artists to co-create music and perform together regularly in the community.

At 21 years old, Connie won a position with the premier U.S. Navy Band, Washington, D.C. She is a Fulbright Scholar to Holland and former baritone saxophonist with the New Century Saxophone Quartet. She has performed and taught across the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Panama, and Europe, and held faculty positions at the U. of Tennessee, Knoxville; U. of Maryland, College Park; and Ithaca College. Connie is a co-founder and inaugural chair of the North American Saxophone Alliance’s Committee on the Status of Women, and is a past grant recipient of the NEA, Copland Fund, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America.

Curtison Jones
Independent Hip Hop artist
Curtison Jones
Independent Hip Hop artist

The Southeastern United States is legendary for cultivating rising Hip Hop stars. Following this trend, independent Hip Hop artist, Caulfield (the stage name of Curtison Jones), out of Athens, GA, pushes the confines of modern Hip-Hop with his fresh, forward-thinking, edgy music. With a nonchalant attitude, Caulfield’s impactful lyrics represent the more introspective side of urban music. Covering compelling topics from his divorce to his religious beliefs, his standout presence has gained him die-hard fans nationwide. Performing alongside renowned Hip Hop acts such as Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, Lil Xan, Ugly God, Waka Flocka Flame, and Pastor Troy, Caulfield delivers a compelling live performance. A true renaissance man, Caulfield showcased his diverse talent when he shot and edited the music video for the first single “Blue Pills” featured on his EP God Is Dead. Caulfield’s upward trajectory has continued in 2019 with his SXSW appearances, his recent Athfest 2019 performance at The Georgia Theatre (Athens) and his mini-tour with Nihilist Cheerleader. His wave just keeps getting bigger with every performance and project. Website: www.mynameiscaulfield.com

Dakota Camacho
Dakota Camacho

Dakota believes in creativity as a record of interaction with the spirit realm. Exploring the overlap between integrity, ancestral/indigenous life ways, true love, and accountability, guiya (they) activate a Matao worldview to make offerings towards inafa’maolek (Balance and harmony with all of life). Weaving through languages of altar-making, movement, film, music, and prayer, guiya (they) generate moments of encounter with self, each other, spirit, and the natural world. Yo’ña (their) work enacts spaces where multiple worlds, ways of knowing, being, and doing speak to each other to unearth embodied pathways towards collective liberation.

Dr. Margaux Simmons
(Co-director of Music City program) 
Dr. Margaux Simmons
(Co-director of Music City program) 

Dr. Simmons is a composer, flutist, improvisor, and music educator. She studied with Cecil Taylor at Antioch College and Pauline Oliveros and Will Ogden at UC San Diego. She is a founding member of The Pyramids and has traveled, composed, studied and performed music extensively in North America, Europe, and Africa. Since 2018 she has toured regularly with the Pyramids again, including shows at Blank Forms in Brooklyn, the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, and Hana-bi on the east coast of Italy. She worked as Professor of Music at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA., 1987 – 2007, and as a Curator of The Museum at Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 2007 -2010. She works with the University of Orange, since 2013 as the teacher of UofO’s longest running community music class, and since 2016 as co-director of the Music City Project. In 2019 she was commissioned by UofO to write a new work for antiphonal choirs, percussion, violin, and piano to commemorate 400 Years of Inequality, 1619-2019. The piece was premiered in Orange, NJ on December 5th 2019.

Edie Hubert
Adjunct Faculty, Florida State College at Jacksonville and Jacksonville University
Edie Hubert
Adjunct Faculty, Florida State College at Jacksonville and Jacksonville University

Edie has been a music educator and performer for over 30 years.  She has performed as harpsichordist, pianist and organist with the Saint Augustine Music Festival, San Marco Chamber Music Series, St. Mark’s Annual Bach Vespers, Sonora Ensemble, Ritz Chamber Players, as soloist with members of the ASO, at ACDA regional and national conventions, and for hundreds of choral and vocal performances.  She has also performed as a hospital musician, providing music at the bedside, in dialysis and psychiatric units through Body and Soul Jacksonville, and as Artist-in-Residence at UF/Shands Jacksonville. As Coordinator for Mayo Clinic Foundation’s Humanities in Medicine programs, she supervised the rollout of Music at the Bedside, quadrupled attendance at noontime arts programs, presented on arts outreach and clinical training for artists and musicians at the 15th Annual International Conference of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, and established the Mayo Clinic Arts Outreach Ensemble, which performed locally and at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She was awarded a Community Foundation Individual Artist Grant to record a cd of classical music suitable for the healthcare setting, music to calm your soul, available for listening on Spotify. Ms. Moore-Hubert is currently adjunct faculty at Florida State College at Jacksonville and Jacksonville University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Birmingham-Southern College and master’s from Manhattan School of Music.

Emily Koh (she/her)
Assistant Professor of Music Composition, University of Georgia
Emily Koh (she/her)
Assistant Professor of Music Composition, University of Georgia

Emily is a Singaporean composer+ based in Atlanta, Georgia whose music reimagines everyday experiences by sonically expounding tiny oft-forgotten details, and is characterized by inventive explorations of the intricacies of sound. Her work also explores binary states such as extremes x boundaries, distinguished x ignored, and activity x stagnation, through her unique Teochew and Peranakan Singaporean lens. An amateur multi-disciplinary artist herself, she enjoys collaborating with creatives of other specializations, especially when sound plays a central role in the project.

Described as “the future of composing” (The Straits Times, Singapore), Emily is the recipient of awards such as the Copland House Residency Award, Young Artist Award (National Arts Council, Singapore), Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize (Asian Composers League), ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Prix D’Ete (Peabody), and the Virginia Macagnoni Prize for Innovative Research (University of Georgia). Her work is supported with commissions, grants and fellowships from the Opera America, MacDowell, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, New Music USA, American Composers’ Orchestra, National Arts Council (Singapore), and others.

Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Music Composition at the University of Georgia, USA.

An image of Emily Sara, a white femme with short neon orange-ish pink hair. She is wearing large tortoiseshell glasses, a black t-shirt, two gold necklaces and has a faint scar across her neck. She is leaning up against a light grey wall with sunlight coming in from the right side of the frame.
Emily Sara (she/her)
Founder, Sick and Tired
An image of Emily Sara, a white femme with short neon orange-ish pink hair. She is wearing large tortoiseshell glasses, a black t-shirt, two gold necklaces and has a faint scar across her neck. She is leaning up against a light grey wall with sunlight coming in from the right side of the frame.
Emily Sara (she/her)
Founder, Sick and Tired

Emily Sara (she/her) is a disabled, interdisciplinary artist & designer working within the language of advertising and animation to discuss the American healthcare system, and the extent of social control over the disabled body. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston University in Advertising and Art History and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Emily has exhibited internationally and is the founder of the publishing initiative cripple which supports disabled artists and designers. She is also the founder of the newly minted design firm Sick and Tired that has a focus on accessible design, consulting, and hiring disabled designers. Emily is the author of the article Fighting the Art World’s Ableism published by Hyperallergic.

Kaitlyn Wittig Mengüç (she/her)
Kaitlyn Wittig Mengüç (she/her)

Kaitlyn is a performance artist, teaching artist, researcher, and arts administrator working at the intersection of arts, health, and disability. Kaitlyn has over 15 years of experience working in and managing community-grounded arts and culture nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she graduated as a department fellow. A passionate advocate for cultural equity, she is also a co-author of a landmark research report, Figuring the Plural: Needs and Supports of Canadian and US Ethnocultural Arts Organizations.

Lily Cox-Richard (she/her/LCR)
Lily Cox-Richard (she/her/LCR)

Lily Cox-Richard’s sculptures and installations take up details of cultural and material histories to explore porousness, energy exchange, and paths of resistance. LCR has been awarded an Artadia grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows, and residencies at the Core Program, Millay Colony, RAIR Philadelphia, and the MacDowell Colony. Recent solo exhibitions include Yvonne (Guatemala City), Artpace (San Antonio, TX), Diverseworks (Houston, TX), Hirschl & Adler Modern (New York), The Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX). LCR studies, forages, and practices in Tsenacomoco territory / Richmond, VA, on land that, for thousands of years, has been inhabited and cared for by Indigenous people, including the Pamunkey, Monacan, Chickahominy, and many other tribes untold and forcibly disappeared.

Marina Tsaplina
Marina Tsaplina

Marina is a performing/puppetry artist, teaching artist, scholar, and disability advocate. She’s unconvinced of the purpose of a biography during our present moment of neocolonial ecocide. She feels that when all falls apart, poetry and solidarity, is all we have.

Meghan Moe Beitiks (she/they)
Interdisciplinary Studio Art Lecturer, University of Florida
Meghan Moe Beitiks (she/they)
Interdisciplinary Studio Art Lecturer, University of Florida

Meghan is an artist working with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology though the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that examines relationships with the non-human. The work emerges as video, performance, installation, writing or photography depending on what arises from her process of research and improvisation. She has presented work in California, Chicago, Brooklyn, Wales, London, Latvia, Australia and Russia. She has been a Fulbright Student Fellow in Theater to Latvia, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, an OxBow LeRoy Neiman Fellow, a Bemis Artist in Residence, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s recipient for the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists. She is currently an Interdisciplinary Studio Art Lecturer at the University of Florida.

Sanjit Sethi
President, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Sanjit Sethi
President, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Sethi has two decades of experience as an artist, curator and cultural leader. Sethi’s previous positions include Director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University, Director of the Center for Art and Public Life, Barclay Simpson Professor, and Chair of Community Arts at the California College of the Arts; and Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute. Additionally, Sethi has taught at the Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sethi received a BFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, an MFA in Ceramics from University of Georgia, and an MS in Advanced Visual Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sethi has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships, including a grant from the Robert Rauschenberg, and a Fulbright fellowship in India. He serves on the boards of the Alliance for Artist Communities, the Jerome Foundation, the Association for Independent Colleges of Art and Design and Moving Arts Espanola.

Sanjit Sethi is the 19th President of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Nicole Killian (they/them)
Artist and Design Educator, Virginia Commonwealth University
Nicole Killian (they/them)
Artist and Design Educator, Virginia Commonwealth University

nico is an artist and design educator based in Richmond Virginia where they co-direct the graduate program in the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University. killian is invested in exploring design pedagogies that center generosity, dialogue, and making things public through performance, mediums mis-use, and text. they run a publishing initiative, nico fontana, which concerns itself with a queering of language. In 2018, they guest-edited the Walker Art Center’s Soundboard platform, asking the question: How Will We Queer Design Education Without Compromise? In 2019 they were then interviewed by the AIGA’s Eye On Design “What Does “Queering Design Education” Actually Look Like in Practice? killian holds degrees from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bauhaus/Hochschule Anhalt in Dessau and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

William “Montu” Miller
Ambassador of the Athens Hip Hop community
William “Montu” Miller
Ambassador of the Athens Hip Hop community

Montu is the Ambassador of the Athens Hip Hop community, co-founder/chief operating officer for ATHfactor-Liberty Entertainment (ALE), Chess and Community board member, East Athens Media Company Board Director, Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC) member, Wild Rumpus Board of Directors, Historic Athens Board, a dedicated member of Cedar Shoals High School teaching staff, and father of five. He embraces his role as an educator, writer, poet, mentor, and community activist. Montu is a University of Georgia alumni (BA Black Studies) that has always built bridges from the local community to UGA. His company ATHfactor-Liberty Entertainment (ALE) has produced countless projects and helped organize many HipHop events in Athens for 15 years. He spearheaded “Classic City Wax” volumes 1 (2020) and volume 2 (2021), a vinyl compilation project with many noteworthy members of the Athens Hip-Hop community. Montu’s outlook and philosophies about his “boots on the ground” approach to community issues have appeared in several publications.

Ray Sykes (Sykez)
Ray Sykes (Sykez)

Ray is an artist from Orange New Jersey. A part of a group called Soundbox Banditz as well as a duo DefNote and associated with fellow Soul Touchers He Who Shines Truly, Sykez music consists of all aspects of hip hop culture. Ray is a lead organizer with UofO’s Music City Festival and curates the Don’t Drop The Mic series, a bi-annual showcase of Orange’s hip-hop scene.

Registration Options

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Pre-Conference Justice and Pedagogy Workshops

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Foundations of Equity Part 1: 11:00am – 12:00pm EST

Dismantling Critique Part II: 12:30 – 2:00pm EST

Foundations of Equity – Overlaying justice efforts in arts research, practice, and pedagogy without critically investigating the foundations upon which institutional arts practices have been built is justice in name only. In part one of a two-part workshop series, we’ll discuss reimagining arts spaces from the ground up; the contingency of justice-oriented practice; and building foundations for liberation in art making, arts research, and arts pedagogy.

Dismantling Critique – In part two of the two-part workshop, we interrogate how white supremacy and colonialism have shaped our systems for feedback and assessment, and build and share new strategies and tools for feedback and critique that are rooted in accountability, transparency, reciprocity, and justice.

About the Facilitators

Lily Cox-Richard (she/her/LCR)

Lily Cox-Richard (she/her/LCR)

Lily Cox-Richard’s sculptures and installations take up details of cultural and material histories to explore porousness, energy exchange, and paths of resistance. LCR has been awarded an Artadia grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows, and residencies at the Core Program, Millay Colony, RAIR Philadelphia, and the MacDowell Colony. Recent solo exhibitions include Yvonne (Guatemala City), Artpace (San Antonio, TX), Diverseworks (Houston, TX), Hirschl & Adler Modern (New York), The Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX). LCR studies, forages, and practices in Tsenacomoco territory / Richmond, VA, on land that, for thousands of years, has been inhabited and cared for by Indigenous people, including the Pamunkey, Monacan, Chickahominy, and many other tribes untold and forcibly disappeared.

Nicole Killian (they/them)

Nicole Killian (they/them)

nico is an artist and design educator based in Richmond Virginia where they co-direct the graduate program in the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University. killian is invested in exploring design pedagogies that center generosity, dialogue, and making things public through performance, mediums mis-use, and text. they run a publishing initiative, nico fontana, which concerns itself with a queering of language. In 2018, they guest-edited the Walker Art Center's Soundboard platform, asking the question: How Will We Queer Design Education Without Compromise? In 2019 they were then interviewed by the AIGA's Eye On Design "What Does “Queering Design Education” Actually Look Like in Practice? killian holds degrees from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bauhaus/Hochschule Anhalt in Dessau and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Emily Sara (she/her)

An image of Emily Sara, a white femme with short neon orange-ish pink hair. She is wearing large tortoiseshell glasses, a black t-shirt, two gold necklaces and has a faint scar across her neck. She is leaning up against a light grey wall with sunlight coming in from the right side of the frame.

Emily Sara (she/her)

Emily Sara (she/her) is a disabled, interdisciplinary artist & designer working within the language of advertising and animation to discuss the American healthcare system, and the extent of social control over the disabled body. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston University in Advertising and Art History and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Emily has exhibited internationally and is the founder of the publishing initiative cripple which supports disabled artists and designers. She is also the founder of the newly minted design firm Sick and Tired that has a focus on accessible design, consulting, and hiring disabled designers. Emily is the author of the article Fighting the Art World’s Ableism published by Hyperallergic.

Wesley Taylor

Wesley Taylor

Wes Taylor is an assistant professor in the Art Foundation program and a professor of graphic design. He is a fine artist, musician, and curator as well as a co-founding partner of Emergence Media, a network of artistic producers based in Detroit, Michigan. He manages a five-person artists’ studio collective in Detroit called Talking Dolls, and has spent many years “scene building” in that city’s hip-hop community as both an emcee and graphic designer. Taylor previously taught at Lawrence Technological University, Wayne State University, and Eastern Michigan University. He earned his MFA in 2D design from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and his BFA in art and design from the University of Michigan.

Courtnie N. Wolfgang (she/her/ella)

Courtnie N. Wolfgang

Courtnie Wolfgang is associate professor and graduate program director of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, USA. Her research and pedagogy focus on liberatory intersections of post-structural, post/feminist, critical race, and queer theories with arts pedagogies, school and community teaching, and justice-oriented Arts Education practices. Her work has been published in Visual Arts Research, Studies in Art Education, the Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, and the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education among others and she recently edited a special issue of Visual Arts Research on Queering Art Education. Wolfgang received her PhD in art and visual culture education from the Ohio State University, and her MA in art education and BFA in photography from the University of Georgia.

Registration

All registered conference participants are welcome to attend these workshops. An invitation to register for the workshops will be sent via email to all registered conference participants the week of October 25th. 

In lieu of a registration fee, the facilitators would like registrants who are financially able to make a donation to Richmond Mutual Aid. 

Donate Now

Learn more about Richmond Mutual Aid here.

 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Support a2ru’s mission and reach our innovative, engaged audience of higher education leaders, faculty, staff and students by sponsoring our 2021 conference! See below for sponsorship levels and benefits.

Ready to secure your sponsorship? Click below to purchase! We’ll then get in touch with you to organize all the details to fulfil your sponsorship benefits.

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Have questions? Please contact our Conference Director Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu