a2ru@10: What’s Next for Arts Integration
As a2ru marks its tenth anniversary, we are gathering leaders from our network of institutional members, governmental and private funding organizations, and industry to assess how the role of the arts and arts integration has evolved in the past decade and to envision a bold shared agenda for our next decade of work.
a2ru has invited two leaders from each member institution to join us for this event. a2ru member institutions are welcome to contact a2ru Conference Director Charisse Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to nominate representatives from their institution to attend.
Participation in this leadership event is by invitation only.
Banner Image Credit: Porfirio Solorzano, University of Alabama
From spring 2021-2022, Jamie Bennett served as the interim President & CEO of United States Artists. Currently, he is remaining on staff in an advisory role. From 2014-2020, Jamie was the Executive Director of ArtPlace America, which supported artists working as allies in equitable community development across rural, suburban, Tribal, and urban communities. Jamie has also worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Agnes Gund Foundation, and The Museum of Modern Art. Jamie had hoped to make a life in the theatre, but during his first year in college, he was cast as an Irish soldier going off to war and had to kiss Amanda Peet goodbye. Not able to make any of that believable, a number of things fell into place for him, and he has happily been a gay audience member ever since. Jamie has been sober since 2009. Source: United States Artists
Heidi Boisvert (PhD) is an interdisciplinary artist, experience designer, creative technologist, and academic researcher who interrogates the neurobiological and socio-cultural effects of media and technology. Simply put, she studies the role of the body, the senses, and emotion in human perception and social change. Boisvert is currently mapping the world’s first media genome, while taking great care with its far-reaching ethical implications. She founded futurePerfect lab, a creative agency and think-tank that works with social justice organizations to design playful emerging media campaigns to transform the public imagination. She also co-founded XTH, a company creating novel modes of expression through biotechnology and the human body. Presently, she is working with David Byrne on Theater of the Mind, a new immersive theater piece. Boisvert is an Assistant Professor of AI & the Arts at the University of Florida. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Norman Lear Center, a research affiliate in the Open Documentary Lab at MIT and a member of NEW INC’s Creative Science track.
As RISD’s first vice provost for strategic partnerships, Sarah Cunningham works to support research development and special projects, collaborating with national and international partners that range from community organizations and arts nonprofits to higher education entities and corporate design leaders. Her work involves pursuing pioneering opportunities that demonstrate the catalytic role that design and the arts play in developing new knowledge, building just societies and contributing to innovative modes of sustainability across social, cultural and business sectors.
Prior to serving as RISD’s first associate provost for research and strategic partnerships, from 2011–19 Cunningham served as the executive director for research and founding director of the Arts Research Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts). In this role she facilitated a new partnership with Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange, the Arts Research Institute Fellows Program, research supported by the Qatar Foundation and a Physician-Scientist in Residence Program at VCUarts, among other advancements. She also led think tanks for emerging creatives and higher education leaders at 30 universities, helping them respond to cities in flux and consider new models of integrating art and design with engineering, science and medicine.
Previously Cunningham served as the director for arts education at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), providing national leadership in all artistic disciplines. In addition to chairing the panel review process, she partnered with various organizations to lead several national initiatives, including the NEA Education Leaders Institute (ELI), Jazz in the Schools, Poetry Out Loud and Summer Schools in the Arts. In founding ELI—a design workshop dedicated to placing arts at the core of public education—Cunningham helped achieve major, sustainable policy change in more than 25 states.
Cunningham has served on the boards of the Alliance for Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), the Arts Education Partnership, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities NAEYHP Awards, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) and the Richmond [VA] Public Art Commission. She holds an MA and PhD in philosophy from Vanderbilt University and a BA from Kenyon College, and continues to speak worldwide on arts policy, arts research and education.
Domhnaill Hernon, director of innovation and creativity at EY, is an award-winning technology, innovation and creativity executive. Domhnaill received an undergrad in Aeronautical Engineering and a PhD in Aerodynamics from the University of Limerick and an executive MBA from Dublin City University, Ireland. He is the global lead and co-founder of a new imitative at EY to create the Cognitive Human Enterprise. This is a pioneering new approach combining massively multidisciplinary collaboration and full-spectrum diversity to maximize organizational cognitive flexibility. Prior to that he founded a new initiative to fuse art and engineering/science to develop solutions that humanize technology while at Nokia Bell Labs. Domhnaill’s work has been featured in Wired Magazine, Times Square, SXSW, Nasdaq, MWC, Ars Electronica, TEDx, Inspirefest to name just a few and he advises innovation and cultural programs globally. Source: MWC Barcelona
For more about Hernon, visit LinkedIn
Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Under his leadership, the office has produced dozens of research reports, hosted periodic research events and webinars, led strategic plan development for the agency, and established research and data partnerships with the U.S Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. His office also conducts program evaluations and performance measurement for the Arts Endowment. Working with his team, Iyengar has created and pursued a long-term research agenda (based partly on an arts “system map” his office helped to design), founded a national data repository for the arts, and launched two awards programs for arts researchers, including the NEA Research Labs initiative. He chairs a federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development. For nearly a decade, he has contributed a monthly research post (titled “Taking Note”) to the agency’s official blog.
Iyengar and his team have collaborated with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the arts in relation to such topics as health and well-being, economic development, and STEM and medicine. His office provides research consultative support to Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. Most recently, he has led a research funding partnership with NIH as part of Sound Health, an initiative of the Kennedy Center and NIH in association with the Arts Endowment.
Prior to joining the agency as research director, Iyengar worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poems, book reviews, and literary essays. Iyengar has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Emil J. Kang is program director for Arts and Culture at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation where he leads the grantmaking program nurturing exceptional creative accomplishment, scholarship, and conservation practices while advancing a diverse and sustainable ecosystem for the arts. Previously, Mr. Kang served as founding Executive and Artistic Director of Carolina Performing Arts, a major multi-disciplinary performing arts program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also served as professor of the practice of music and special assistant to the chancellor for the arts. Mr. Kang serves as a member of the National Council on the Arts, having been appointed by former United States President Barack Obama in 2012
R. Benjamin Knapp is the Executive Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. ICAT seeks to promote research and education at the boundaries between art, design, engineering, and science. Dr. Knapp also leads the Music, Sensors, and Emotion research group, with researchers in the UK and the US.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Knapp has been working to create meaningful links between human-computer interaction, universal design, and various forms of creativity. His research on human-computer interaction has focused on the development and design of user-interfaces and software that allow both composers and performers to augment the physical control of a musical instrument with direct sensory interaction. He holds twelve patents and is the co-inventor of the BioMuse system, which enables artists to use gesture, cognition, and emotional state to interact with audio and video media.
In previous positions, Dr. Knapp has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at University College, Dublin, and chief technology officer of the Technology Research for Independent Living Centre. As the director of technology at MOTO Development Group in San Francisco, Calif., he managed teams of engineers and designers developing human-computer interaction systems for companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Logitech. He co-founded BioControl Systems, a company that develops mobile bioelectric measurement devices for artistic interaction. Dr. Knapp has also served as professor and chair of the Department of Computer, Information, and Systems Engineering at San Jose State University.
He earned a doctorate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University. Dr. Knapp has been a PI in several pan-European projects including, CAPSIL (Common Awareness and Knowledge Platform for Studying and Enabling Independent Living) and SIEMPRE (Social Interaction and Entrainment Using Music Performance) and coordinated the EU project, BRAID (Bridging Research in Ageing and ICT Development).
SangYup Lee was born on November 22 1969 in South Korea. After studying Transportation Design at the ACCD(Art Center College of Design)( 1995 1999 he started his career in Porsche and Pininfarina in 1998. He has an extraordinary career with his extensive experience working at different automotive companies as a Chief Designer. Before he joined Hyundai in 2016, he was the Chief of Exterior and Advanced Design in Bentley, Chief Designer in Volkswagen Group, and Design Manager in GM. He is a designer of world renowned cars such as Chevrolet Camaro, Corvette, Bentley Bentayga, Mulsanne Flying Spur, and EXP 10 Concept. He currently works for Hyundai Motor Company as the Head of Hyundai & Genesis Design, and he is now putting his effort to improve design value of these two brands. The results of his effort has been presented to the public in recent years, which are Le Fil Rouge Concept, Essentia Concept, Grandmaster Concept, Sonata, Palisade, G 90, etc. He declared new design philosophy of “Sensuous Sportiness” for Hyundai and “Athletic Elegance” for Genesis. He emphasizes building innovation upon Hyundai’s design heritage while establishing new identity of Genesis design. With a strong vision for Hyundai Genesis design, he plans to expand product design portfolio of the brands.
Dr. David C. Munson Jr. became Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president in 2017.
As RIT’s president, Dr. Munson is responsible for one of the nation’s leading creative and innovative universities that leverages the power of technology, the arts, and design for the greater good.
Dr. Munson has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, which includes serving as the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan from 2006 to 2016. He earned his BS degree in electrical engineering (with distinction) from the University of Delaware in 1975. He earned an MS and MA in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1977, followed by a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1979, also from Princeton.
From 1979 to 2003, Dr. Munson was with the University of Illinois, where he was the Robert C. MacClinchie Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory and a faculty member in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.
In 2003, he became chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan prior to becoming dean.
Dr. Munson’s teaching and research interests are in the area of signal and image processing. His current research is focused on radar imaging and computer tomography. He is co-founder of InstaRecon Inc., a start-up firm to commercialize fast algorithms for image formation in computer tomography. He is affiliated with the Infinity Project, where he is coauthor of a textbook on the digital world, which has been used in hundreds of high schools nationwide to introduce students to engineering.
Dr. Munson serves on several boards, including: The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) Leadership Roundtable, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Greater Rochester Enterprise, Permanent.org, Rochester Area Colleges, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Regional Health, RIT Croatia, and the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance.
Gabrielle Piazza (she/her/hers) is the Assistant Director of the EXCEL Lab within the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan. Career development, especially within the ever changing landscape of the arts, is a passion of Gabrielle’s, and her work with the EXCEL Lab is an exciting way to build connections and relationships with and for the SMTD community. Prior to this role, Gabrielle supported a portfolio of student organizations as Program Manager in the Center for Campus Involvement’s University Activities Center, and worked as Assistant Manager of the Michigan Union Ticket Office, serving campus and community organizations. She has worked with a variety of arts institutions including the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Gabrielle spent 2.5 years touring the US, Europe, and Japan with music outreach group The Young Americans. She holds an M.F.A in Arts Leadership from Virginia Tech, received her B.A. in Mathematics and Musical Theatre from Adrian College, and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. from Southern Utah University. Within the national community, she serves as Annual Meeting Committee Co-Chair for Arts Administrators in Higher Education.
Jeff M. Poulin (he/him) serves as the Managing Director of Creative Generation with a focus on public policy and global programs. In this role, he is responsible for the organization’s fidelity to its mission, vision, values, and goals, while overseeing a portfolio of large-scale projects and the fiscal and human resources of the organizations.
Jeff is an American educationalist, non-profit administrator, and social entrepreneur whose work is grounded in social justice and seeks transformative local solutions to complex global challenges.
In 2019, Jeff founded Creative Generation, which a values-driven global collective that collaborates with young creatives and those who cultivate their creativity to take local actions towards global changes in pursuit of a more just world. Since the founding, Jeff has led a team that produces global messaging campaigns, creates unique learning environments, conducts original research, and supports people and projects working at the intersection of arts/culture, education, and social change. He serves as the Principal Investigator for the Institute for Creative Social Transformation, lead Facilitator for the Academy of Creative Leadership, host of the Why Change? podcast, and Executive Editor of the Campaign for a Creative Generation and the Creative Generation Journal.
With over a decade of experience as a performer, teaching artist, education researcher, and arts administrator, he previously led a national program, where he worked to advance local, state, and federal policies supportive of equitable access to arts education throughout the United States. Jeff is a tap dancer by trade and continues to mentor young dancers in the U.S. and in the U.K.
Jeff is widely published, serves as a reviewer for grant and research panels, and speaks to audiences across the country and around the globe. Currently, he is on the faculties of arts management at American University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Jeff hails from Portland, Maine and earned degrees in arts management, cultural policy, and education at Oklahoma City University, University College Dublin, and the University of Glasgow.
Donald Rabin is an educator and activist pursing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Flute Performance and a Masters of Arts Leadership degree at the University of Houston. Donald will be one of our students in conversation with Creative Generation leaders about artists serve their communities through his experience directing “Come Together Houston” and as director of the Uniting America Concert.
Donald Rabin is a passionate artist who plans to serve his community to the utmost of his capabilities. Currently a student of Aralee Dorough at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, he is pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Flute Performance and a Masters of Arts Leadership degree. As a performer, his playing can be heard on the soundtrack of NBC’s Documentary “SkyBlossom”, Fox News “Good Morning Chicago”, and German Television show “Good Moments”. He has also performed with the New England Philharmonic, Cape Ann Symphony, Brookline Orchestra, Missouri Symphony, Cartago Band of Costa Rica, and will serve as the Houston Symphony Community Fellow this upcoming season. An avid educator, Donald has had positions at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Prodigy Program, Noteworthy-Music Studios, and currently teaches flute with Humble-ISD. His education has been impacted by the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (MM) under Sarah Brady and Truman State University (BM) under Dr. Julianna Moore. Donald strongly believes that the arts can impact the world and serves as the project manager for the “Come Together Houston” project, Director of the Uniting America Concert, and will be the 2022-2023 Cynthia Woods-Mitchell Fellow. Donald’s goal is to bring artists and audience members together for a performance experience that promotes artistry, unity, and philanthropy. In his free time, Donald loves to dance, run, and enjoy life’s precious moments with friends, family, and his amazing mentors.
Dr. Mariko Silver is the president and CEO of the Henry Luce Foundation. She was previously the president of Bennington College. During the Obama administration, she served for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as Acting Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Policy. Dr. Silver also served for Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as the Policy Advisor for Economic Development, Innovation, and Higher Education. Prior to her government service, Dr. Silver was instrumental in the transformation and expansion of Arizona State University, leading teams in economic development policy and metrics, science, technology and innovation policy, state K-12 and higher education policy, sustainability science, and global health. Dr. Silver is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a Ph.D. in Economic Geography from UCLA; MSc, Science and Technology Policy from SPRU, University of Sussex (UK) and B.A., History from Yale University. For more information on Dr. Silver, read the announcement of her appointment at Henry Luce Foundation, which promotes innovative scholarship.
Poet Crystal Williams is the 18th president of the Rhode Island School of Art and Design. The daughter of an educator and a musician, Crystal Williams was raised in Detroit, MI and Madrid, Spain and holds a BA from New York University and an MFA from Cornell University.
Williams believes that education, art and design, and commitments to equity and justice are essential to transforming our society. Williams has more than two decades of higher education experience. During that time, she has been an institutional catalyst, helping to envision, define and achieve greater outcomes for students, faculty and staff. As a faculty member, she has focused on advancing artistic inquiry and engagement. As a leader, her work has ensured that institutions are more effective, mission-aligned and diverse, equitable and inclusive.
As Boston University’s inaugural vice president and associate provost for community and inclusion since 2020, Williams provided leadership, vision, management and strategic direction for initiatives that support the development of strong communities of faculty, staff and students, promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within BU’s 17 schools and colleges. Prior to her work at Boston University, Williams held similarly catalytic roles at Bates College (2013–17) and Reed College (as a faculty leader from 2000–11 and as a dean from 2011–13). At Bates, Williams served as associate vice president for strategic initiatives, professor of English and senior advisor to the president, developing programs, strategies and measurable outcomes that enhanced diversity, equity and inclusiveness. Source: RISD website
Thursday, June 9th
UMMA University of Michigan Museum of Art (525 S. State St.)
Presentation of the Inaugural a2ru Catalyst Award for Outstanding Service
Friday, June 10th
Rackham Graduate School Building, 4th Floor (915 E. Washington St.)
8:30-9:00am: Continental Breakfast
Laurie McCauley, Provost, University of Michigan
Maryrose Flanigan, Executive Director, a2ru
9:15-9:30am: Arts Integration Invocation
Heidi Boisvert, University of Florida
9:30-9:45am: Introduction to Provocations and Working Groups
9:45-10:45am: Provocation #1: The Urgency of the Arts for Research and Relevance in Higher Education
How can the arts can transform higher education?: Perspectives from leaders across the sector
Mariko Silver, President & CEO Henry Luce Foundation, former president Bennington College
Crystal Williams, President, RISD
David Munson, President, Rochester Institute of Technology
Christopher Audain, Managing Director, University of Michigan Arts Initiative
11:00-11:15am: Working Group Introductions
11:15-11:45am: Provocation #2: Arts and Industry
This prompt will consider the global challenges at hand and why it’s important that artists, dsigners, and industry collaborate closely to address them. These examples of arts in industry showcase why arts, humanities, and design training are crucial to address complex challenges successfully.
Sarah Cunningham, Vice Provost for Strategic Partnerships, RISD (Rhode Island School of Design)
Domhnaill Hernon, Ernst & Young
Benjamin Knapp, Executive Director, Institute for Creativity, Art & Technology (ICAT) Virginia Tech
SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai & Genesis Design, Hyundai Motor Company
11:45am-12:30pm: Working group discussion and share-out
1:50pm: Poetry Reading
Crystal Williams, President, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
2:00-2:30pm: Provocation #3: Learning in Liminal Spaces: Arts Integration from the Student Perspective
Emerging creatives inform the future of arts integration in higher education, and “Learning in Liminal Spaces” is a conversation about the arts-integrated and interdisciplinary opportunities for students, moderated by leadership at Creative Generation.
Jeff Poulin, Executive Director, Creative Generation
Jordan Campbell, Director, Research & Knowledge, Creative Generation
Gabrielle Piazza, Assistant Director, EXCEL Lab, University of Michigan
Donald Rabin, DMA Candidate, University of Houston
2:30-3:15pm: Working Group discussions and share-out
3:30-4:00pm: Provocation #4: Beyond the Adjacent Possible: Arts-Integrated Research
Highlighting “Vibrant Ecologies of Research” and other projects from a2ru Ground Works
Lissy Goralnik, Michigan State University
Mary Beth Leigh, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Veronica Stanich, Managing Editor, Ground Works
4:00-5:00pm: Working Group discussions and share out
5:00pm: Conclude Day 1
Saturday, June 11th
Rackham Graduate School Building, 4th Floor (915 E. Washington St.)
8:30-9:00am: Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15am: Welcome and Introduce Day 2
9:15-10:15am: Provocation #5: The Promise of the Arts to Heal a World in Crisis
What can fields such as arts & health and creative placemaking mean for the promise of arts and social justice?
Jamie Bennett, Advisor, United States Artists
Sunil Iyengar, Director, Office of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts
Emil Kang, Program Director, Arts & Culture, Mellon Foundation
10:30-11:30am: Synthesis, Conclusion and Call to Action
11:30am: Conclude Day 2
a2ru will be sending a series of informative digests to attendees as we approach the event, providing important information on a2ru’s history and research activities; important terms and working definitions for key concepts in arts integration; and agenda, logistics, and speaker information. You may also download them below.
Download Digest 1: Context & Goals for a2ru@10