Using the Arts to Flip Understanding

Jul 12, 2022 2:00-4:00pm EDT

Facilitator: Margot Greenlee

Co-Facilitators Martina Jerant, RNA Biomedicine at the University of Michigan, and Veronica Stanich, a2ru

When you’re on a mental “hamster wheel,” running faster doesn’t help. Slowing down, stepping to the side, and seeing from another perspective does.

In our work as faculty, practitioners, and researchers, we may find ourselves getting stuck in the same places, finding that our familiar approaches fail to move us forward. How do we refresh and jumpstart inspiration? To get “unstuck,” we need to try new perspectives and approaches. In this workshop, we use arts-based activities to open up new neural pathways. We refresh our thinking and jumpstart inspiration with poetry, visual art, and movement. This class calls upon a range of intelligences and skills inherent in us all – no formal arts training required.

Experimenting with new materials can provoke new insight.

What to expect:

  • immersive, artistic exploration 
  • guided critical reflection
  • one-on-one discussion with peers
  • two hours that fly by

What you’ll get:

  • a refreshed perspective on an area or question that’s important to you
  • a dedicated time and space for exploring that area in new ways

What Workshop Participants Are Saying

“It was incredible! I went in expecting to enjoy the change of pace and find the interactions with new people stimulating, but I was skeptical that the workshop would help me resolve an area where I was stuck in my research….I emerged fully convinced of how I should move forward. The workshop allowed me to resolve the problem that I actually had, which was not in fact the one I thought I had.”

“I feel grateful for the shift in my thinking.”

“I did get a new perspective. My ‘stuck place’ doesn’t feel so daunting after this exercise, and I don’t feel as much anxiety about it.”


Margot Greenlee is a theater director and producer. Her current work focuses on inclusion for people with disabilities. Recent partners include the Eurasia foundation, National Academy of Sciences, and the US Department of Education. Her work receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kendeda Foundation, and DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Martina Jerant serves as the program manager for the Center for RNA Biomedicine at the University of Michigan. Using collaborative tools like Strategic Doing and Creative Problem Solving, Martina is passionate about facilitating diverse groups of students, faculty, and researchers to collaboratively work across disciplines, build community and generate innovative ideas to advance RNA research and education across the University of Michigan. Martina completed her undergraduate degree in Biology from Brown University and received her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University.

Veronica Dittman Stanich holds a PhD in Dance Studies from the Ohio State University. Her work on the a2ru research team has resulted in workshops, whitepapers, and other resources concerning arts integration impacts; issues around tenure and promotion for the arts, design, and interdisciplinary practices; and interdisciplinary collaboration. Veronica is the Managing Editor of Ground Works, a2ru’s online platform for arts-integrated research.


$20: a2ru members (individual members and those affiliated with an a2ru member institution)

$45: non-members

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