2022 National Conference: Exploring Artistic Research

About the Conference

a2ru’s next national conference will take place from November 3-5, 2022, on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. In-person and virtual registrations options are available.

The a2ru national conference is an opportunity for practitioners and researchers from across the higher education spectrum to share innovations and perspectives in the arts. a2ru advances the full range of arts- and design-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice to acknowledge, articulate, and expand the vital role of higher education in our global society. a2ru’s work, in partnership with an international network of leading higher education institutions, envisions a world in which universities—students, faculty, and leaders—explore, embed, and integrate the arts in everyday practice and research.

About the theme: 

The term, “Art-based research,” was coined by Elliot Eisner at a 1993 Stanford University symposium to describe a mode of formal qualitative inquiry that uses artistic processes to understand and articulate the subjectivity of human experience. That definition is one of many, and invites a more expansive inquiry from both within and beyond higher education: Isn’t artistic research also quantitative? Or is it neither  textual nor numerical? Shouldn’t it be excepted from the concerns of capital on which our accepted notions of research rely? What are examples of pure and applied artistic research? What are the possible rewards of defining artistic practice as research? What are the risks? Why would artists define their work in terms of “research?” What have we learned since 1993 and how can we expand Eisner’s and other definitions?

Featured Speakers

Carlos Jackson
Dean, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan
Carlos Jackson
Dean, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan
Lisa Yun Lee
Executive Director, National Public Housing Museum
Lisa Yun Lee
Executive Director, National Public Housing Museum
Nisha Sajnani
Associate Professor and Director, Drama Therapy Program, New York University
Nisha Sajnani
Associate Professor and Director, Drama Therapy Program, New York University

Conference FAQ

Where exactly are sessions located?

We will be in various buildings across the University of Michigan campus throughout the conference. The online schedule has been updated with room and building locations. You can find the addresses for the buildings below.

Michigan League, 911 N. University Ave.

Rackham Graduate Building, 915 E. Washington St.

School of Social Work, 1080 S. University Ave.

Michigan Union, 530 S. State St.

What are the parking arrangements and directions?

There is ample street and structure parking in downtown Ann Arbor. The rate for parking meters is $2.10 and parking structures is $1.20.

Some parking lot structures include:

Palmer Parking structure at 200 Washtenaw Ave. – $2.00/hour

Maynard Republic Parking Structure at 324 Maynard St. – $1.20/hour. N$ Thayer

N4 Thayer structure at 216 S. Thayer St. – Blue permit-only lot

Should you need to park downtown during the reception, please note that parking meters are only enforced in Ann Arbor between 8:00am – 6:00pm.

For more information, visit the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s parking website.

Is there room to store my luggage before heading back to the airport?

Yes! If you need to store your bags on the last day of the conference, you can do so in the Earl Lewis Room. As this is a space for conference attendees to take a break, if someone is present, please maintain the quiet atmosphere when dropping off your bag.

What is the dress code?

Business Casual

What is the expected weather?

Low to mid 60s and partly cloudy skies.

How can I get to/from the airport?

Lyft is a great option. It is usually $40-50 before tip.

Michigan Flyer is another good option if their schedule matches up with your flight times. Do note that Michigan Flyer drops you off in downtown Ann Arbor, and you will then need to take a Lyft or walk to your hotel.

Where can I eat in Ann Arbor?

Please see our list of suggested places to eat in Ann Arbor.

How do I let you know about my accessibility needs?

Please email a2ru Conference Director Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu.

Is this a fragrance-free event?

As part of our continued commitment to providing accessible events, we ask that a2ru@10 attendees be as fragrance-free as possible when they arrive at all symposium events. The use of some products with fragrance may be detrimental to the health of fellow attendees with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines. Commonly worn fragrances include: perfume, cologne, after-shave and scented personal care products such as shampoos, hair products, soaps, hand creams. Smoke-laden clothing should also be aired well before wearing.

For more information regarding environmental sensitivities, see the CDC report on Indoor Environmental Quality Policy and Sine D., et al’s Accommodating Employees with Workplace Sensitivities: A Guide for the Workplace.

Will there be gender-inclusive restrooms available?

Yes. In the Michigan League, there is a single-stall gender-inclusive restroom on the 3rd floor.

In Michigan Union, there are single-stall gender-inclusive restrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

In Rackham, the gender-inclusive restrooms are located on the 3rd floor, near the east elevator.

In the School of Social Work, gender-neutral restrooms are on the 1st floor (Rooms B833, 1631, 1784, 2830)

Are the conference venues accessible?

Michigan League is accessible through the North University building entrance. There are two accessible parking spots in the circle drive of the North University Avenue entrance. There is a wheelchair accessible elevator in the center of the building.

The north entrance of Michigan Union is wheelchair accessible. Information about elevators to come.

Rackham Graduate Building has an accessible entrance in front of the building on Washington St. and in the underground parking garage. There are elevators on both east and west sides of all floors.

There is ramp access (including power doors) at both the Northeast and Southwest entrances of the School of Social Work building. For elevator access: From the Northeast entrance, walk straight and elevator will be in front of you. From the Southwest entrance, make an immediate right, and elevator will be on the right.

Is there a space I can use as a lactation room?

Yes. In Rackham, you can use Room 2521, West Wing/west end of building, 2nd floor, Privacy Room with sink. In the School of Social Work, there is a personal care room is located in room 1632 on the east end of the 1st floor. The room has a locking door, comfortable chair with ottoman, reading lamp, sink, and electrical outlets.  In the Michigan League, there is a Reflection Room on the 3rd floor, room 347, that can be used as a personal room for breastfeeding parents. It has a table, two chairs, and an outlet. The room can be locked from the inside. An Mcard is needed to access this room. Please see an a2ru staff member or student on the a2ru resource team to help you access this space. In Michigan Union, a personal care room is located in Room 2042 on the 2nd floor, behind the Pendleton Room. It is a single-user room that locks from the inside. It includes a chair, sink, electrical outlets, and a diaper changing table.

Are masks required?

Masks are not required on the University of Michigan campus, but attendees are welcome to wear them if they feel more comfortable doing so.

Please note an exception for the Reco(r)ding CripTech session at 1:45pm on November 4th in Michigan Union’s Rogel Ballroom: As this session centers values of disability arts and justice, we request that in-person attendees wear masks to collectively enable access for participants who are at high risk.

If I have questions prior to the conference, who can I contact?

Please email a2ru Conference Director Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu.

If I have questions during the conference, who can I contact?

Please email a2ru-communications@umich.edu.



Individuals may register for either an in-person ticket or a virtual ticket for the conference.

The virtual ticket includes the following sessions. Please see the conference schedule for full sessions details; virtual offerings will be highlighted in teal.

Thursday, November 3rd

9:15am: Keynote: “Artistic Praxis as Worldbuilding,” Carlos Jackson

11:00am: Session 1

1:45pm: Session 9

3:30pm: Session 12

Friday, November 4th

9:00am: Steps Towards Change: Researching While BIPOC: Identity and Artistic Research

11:30am: Steps Towards Change: Possibilities for Anti-racist Artistic Research, A Dialogue between Administration and Faculty

1:45pm: Reco(r)ding CripTech: a Ground Works project documenting collaborative creative process

3:30pm: Keynote, Lisa Lee

Saturday, November 5th

9:30am: Session 20

11:00am: Closing Keynote Conversation: Carlos Jackson and Lisa Lee

Individuals who cannot attend the full conference may also register to attend our virtual pre-conference; pre-conference sessions are included in the price of both in-person and virtual full conference tickets.

Certain institutional and departmental membership levels include access to free and/or discounted conference registrations. Please contact Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu to access these benefits. 

In-Person Registration

Buy In Person Registration

Virtual Registration

Buy Virtual Registration


Pre-Conference Registration

Buy Pre-Conference Registration


Registration and Conference Policies

Registration Policies

Payment Methods

Single-ticket purchases made by individuals must be made by credit card, using the a2ru.org website.

Multiple-ticket purchases made by an independent individual or a university representative on behalf of a group (more than 2 people) can be made by credit card. For instructions, please contact a2ru Conference Director Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu.

A university representative wishing to make multiple-ticket purchases for a group of more than 5 people can request an invoice to pay by credit card, check, or wire transfer. Registration is not confirmed or reserved until full payment is received, and invoices will not be issued after October 10, 2022. Please contact a2ru Conference Director Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu to request an invoice for payment.

Financial Security

For your financial safety, we cannot accept registrations with a credit card number via e-mail.

Registration Categories

Undergraduate Students – Students currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or associate’s program at any educational institution. Part-time students are eligible.

Graduate / Post-doc Students – Students currently enrolled in a master’s degree or higher program at any educational institution. If the student has received their PhD, they must currently be enrolled in a post-doctoral program at an educational institution. Part-time students are eligible.

Contingent/Independent – Contingent faculty, independent artists, performers, and scholars. Staff with no institutional support as well as retired/emeritus faculty are also eligible for this category.

Individual – Everyone else!

Member v. Non-member – Members include individual members and the students, staff, faculty, and administration who are currently enrolled and/or employed at our member institutions.

Cancellation Policy


Registrations are non-refundable.

In the event that the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) must cancel the conference in its entirety due to circumstances beyond the control of a2ru or venues hosting the event, a2ru may refund the appropriate registration fees to conference registrants. Cancellation of the event in its entirety would only occur for reasons including but not limited to, forces of nature and natural disasters, war, government regulations, sequestration, travel advisories, outbreaks of disease, acts of terrorism or threat of terrorism, disaster, strikes, civil disorder, curtailment of transportation facilities, or other emergencies that make it inadvisable by local, state or federal government officials, illegal or impossible to provide the facilities or to hold the event. Refund requests after the event due to a no-show will be denied.

Under no circumstances will refunds be made for travel expenses related to the conference. Attendees who purchase non-refundable airline tickets do so at their own risk.

Please check with hotels and transportation directly regarding their cancellation policy. Requests to cancel must be made directly with the hotel or transportation company.


Transfer to an Individual: A one-time transfer of a paid registration (within the same membership category) can be made before October 15. A $30 administrative transfer fee will be assessed. No transfers will be made on or after October 15, 2022. All transfer requests must be submitted in writing via e-mail to the a2ru Conference Director Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu. If the original registrant requested or if the new registrant requires accommodations for dietary restrictions or disabilities, please note this in the request. While we will do our best, certain accommodations may not be able to be made for requests conveyed after September 8, 2022.

Transfer Registration to Different Event Format: A one-time transfer of a paid registration from in-person to the virtual ticket or virtual ticket to in-person can be made. Before September 15, 2022, a $30 transfer fee will be assessed. From September 15 – October 10, 2022, a $50 transfer fee will be assessed. No registration transfers will be permitted after October 10, 2022. It will be the participant’s responsibility to secure travel and hotel. a2ru will not be responsible for cancelled travel or lodging accommodations.

Add-ons (i.e., breakfast and brown-bag lunches) are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

COVID Policies and Protocols

a2ru will follow all University of Michigan COVID policies that are in place at the time of the conference. At this time, masking is not required on campus. Attendees can view U-M COVID policies and up-to-date data on case numbers at the U-M Maize and Blueprint site. Data for the area surrounding campus can be accessed at the Washtenaw County Health Department website.

a2ru strongly encourages all conference attendees to be up-to-date on COVID vaccinations and applicable boosters. All non-vaccinated individuals should take a rapid test before attending each day of the conference. Masks are welcome at all conference events and we will have masks and hand sanitizer available for your use. Non-vaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear masks during the conference.

We have created a virtual registration option and added a virtual pre-conference to ensure our offerings are inclusive to those who are immunocompromised or do not wish to attend large in-person gatherings at this time.

The conference will proceed unless the University decides in-person events must be canceled. As we have rented university buildings for the event, we will face severe financial penalties without an external injunction to free us from our contracts. Should the University cancel, we will switch to a virtual event. Attendees/Presenters will have the option to receive a partial refund (the difference between an in-person and virtual ticket) or to donate the difference in ticket cost to the Alliance.

Video and Photo Release

Please note that the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) will be taking photographs and shooting video throughout the Annual Conference. These photographs and video may be used in publications, including electronic publication, or in audio-visual presentations, promotional literature, advertising, or similar ways. By participating in this event, you voluntarily consent to be recorded and/or photographed by the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities.

Time Zones

Michigan is in the Eastern time zone, and all times listed should be considered EST.

Code of Conduct

All attendees, speakers, and volunteers at our conference are required to agree with our code of conduct. You can download it below.

Download Policies

Download Code of Conduct