Executive Committee Nominees

Voting for new a2ru Executive Committee members has closed for 2023.  If you are interested in nominating yourself or a colleague for the a2ru Executive Committee in a future election cycle, please contact a2ru Executive Director Maryrose Flanigan at flanigam@umich.edu.

The 2023 nominees included:

Tamara Falicov, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Nominee Biography:

I was first introduced to a2ru in 2019 when the University of Kansas hosted the annual conference. I remember being particularly thrilled knowing that participants from Chile would be there, signifying how a2ru was committed to taking both an intersectional and a global approach to tackling seemingly intractable issues through integrative arts research methods, theories and of course, social practice. This topic has been central to my life’s goals, which is to bring the arts and humanities on par with the way in which the STEM community measures scientific inquiry and validates significance through metrics. I have been working with various groups in the humanities, arts and the international realm to develop metrics and international indexes that helps record and make creative work legible to larger structural paradigms in higher ed such as promotion and tenure. This is another reason I would like to play a larger service role in a2ru, given that the organization is in the forefront of interrogating and building  metrics models of arts research. Finally, I’ve found a2ru to be exceedingly adept at tackling the interdisciplinary nature of research by informing us about how arts tools can help answer questions that other disciplines can’t. It does this by using both creativity and qualitative research as a key tenet, which is needed more than ever when our world faces what seems like intractable problems with our climate, our political systems, and our systemic inequalities in our domestic sphere as well as the ever-widening gap between the Global North and the Global South. Thank you for considering me for an Executive Committee position with a2ru.

Nominee Statement:

My expertise and experience positions me well to serve on the advisory board for a2ru. In my role as Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (which include the department of Media, Art, and Design) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City I have been a key player in fostering participatory based research collaboratives in various fields, including health humanities, digital storytelling, environmental humanities, and other interdisciplinary research projects between our 60 tenure track faculty and a number of teaching professors. In fall 2023, a faculty member will teach a murals class at an LGBTQAI+ inclusion center in the small town of Independence, MO, where the community asked UMKC faculty and students to work with them in designing art representing the history of the gay community in that neighborhood during the early 1960s. These community partnerships that involve the arts, humanities and social sciences research and service learning is what my School engages with for the city of Kansas City, MO and I am committed to learning more about the tenets of social practice through arts research through the a2ru group.

In June 2020 I co-founded a cross-campus research collaborative, the Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative (HHARC) with Teri Kennedy, Associate Dean, School of Nursing, KU Medical Center, Kansas City, KS along with Emily Ryan, director of the Commons at KU and a longstanding a2ru member, along with Dr. Katie Rhine. Together we organized programming around health humanities community engaged research, a newsletter with research and training opportunities and information sessions on the committee for human subjects and other related topics. My current research as it relates to participatory action research is twofold. One research area is the result of twenty years studying Latin American film industries and the key role that film festivals serve as training sites for emerging filmmakers. The second field of research that is developing through the HHARC collaborative is a language revitalization project in the Me’phaa speaking community, a Mexican community of new immigrants from Lawrence that my students interviewed for a service-learning course I co-taught on Latin American immigration. I have been a mentor to many students (many of them women and students of color) and in 2022 for example, I was recognized as mentor of the year for the McNair Scholars program at KU. I received a cultural preservation grant funding with a co-PI in Linguistics to create a trilingual (Me’phaa, Spanish, English)  “talking” digital dictionary co-created with the Me’phaa speaking community in partnership with Centro Hispano. This project is an example of working collaboratively with a marginalized community who speak an endangered language that their young children are not learning, and in some cases, rejecting. These projects dovetail with my aim to help provide a space for researchers to work with local community members using an equity lens in a horizontal form of partnership and communication.

I am the author of two monographs about Latin American cinema (The Cinematic Tango: Contemporary Argentine Film (Wallflower/Columbia, 2007) and Latin American Film Industries (BFI/Bloomsbury, 2019) and over 20 peer reviewed journal articles as well as a forthcoming co-edited open access book called Contours of Film Festival Research (U of Amsterdam Press, 2023), which includes essays by film festival scholars but also film festival practitioners (archivists, programmers, film festival directors).

Lisa D. McNair, Professor of Engineering Education and Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT), Virginia Tech

Nominee Biography:

Lisa D. McNair is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech and Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT). From 2018 to 2023 she was Director of the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts (CENI), the education, outreach, and engagement arm of ICAT. She has held leadership positions in the university’s interdisciplinary initiatives and served as Assistant Department Head of Graduate Programs and Chair of the Promotion & Tenure Committee in the VT Engineering Education department. In 2013 she began training as a sculptor and stone carver with Bob Lockhart and Darcy Meeker and applies this experience to both her art and to collaborative education. Her overarching goal is to create learning experiences that are research-informed and that transverse perspectives within and beyond the university. Her funded NSF projects have included revolutionizing the culture of the VT ECE department, identifying practices in intentionally inclusive Maker spaces, and exploring professional identity development in Civil Engineering students with disabilities. She is currently conducting ethnographic research on historical and social forces shaping cold climate building projects in Alaskan housing and beginning a collaborative project with researchers from the arts, neuroscience, and immersive technologies to bridge physical and disciplinary distances. Her work in CENI focuses on building networks between the university and multiple community sectors and supporting engagement in science, engineering, arts, and design. In addition to directing 11 PhD dissertations and serving on an additional 17 PhD committees, Dr. McNair has funded and mentored 6 post-graduate scholars (5 PhD, 1 MFA) with a range of professional accomplishments and goals, including scholars seeking tenure-track positions as well as academic and industry-based administrative careers.  She earned a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Chicago, and an M.A. and B.A. in English at the University of Georgia. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6654-2337

Nominee Statement:

Most research universities now adopt narratives of innovation that highlight the need for creativity and transdisciplinarity in faculty research and teaching, and in student learning outcomes. This direction is accentuated by industry perspectives on workforce development. However, institutional processes are slow to change. In particular, measures of performance that govern faculty members’ success have atrophied in quantitative metrics and aging policies. I am interested in engaging with arts and humanities leaders to track how the increasing integration of industry stakeholders impacts practices in higher education. I want to further explore ways to influence this evolution toward new systems that incorporate qualitative measures that promote creative, artistic, and integrative work. I believe that these values are foundational for innovation.

Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, Associate Professor in the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts; Director of the Institute for Applied Creativity, and Director of the Soft Interaction Lab, Texas A&M University

Nominee Biography:

Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo is an associate professor at Texas A&M University’s School of Performance, Visualization, & Fine Arts. She is also the founding director of the Soft Interaction Lab and serves as the director of the Institute for Applied Creativity. Seo holds a PhD degree in Interactive Art and Technology from Simon Fraser University in Canada and an MFA degree in Computer Arts from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York.

Seo’s interdisciplinary art practice explores the intersection between the human, nature, and technology. Her research aims to engage diverse audiences through embodied and immersive interactions, fostering meaningful relationships within artworks and with participants. Her creative practice and research center on interactive art, as it encourages immersive experiences. Throughout her career, Seo has developed tangible interfaces and mixed reality learning applications for STEAM education, medical/nursing education, and social awareness. Her research has received support from various organizations, including the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Health Resources & Services Administration.

Seo’s interactive art has been showcased locally, nationally, and internationally at notable venues such as ISEA, SIGGRAPH ASIA, IDMAA, TEI, and Creativity & Cognition. Her contributions extend to publishing in various journals and conference proceedings, covering topics like tangible/embodied interaction, interactive design, participatory design, and learning technology.

Nominee Statement:

I am honored to serve on the a2ru Executive Committee. With a steadfast commitment to integrating art, technology, health, and education, I am thrilled to share my passion and expertise in interactive and immersive arts to further a2ru’s mission and vision.

During my time at Texas A&M University, I have achieved a strong record of accomplishment in research, teaching, and service, with a focus on art integration for health, education, and social impact. My work in Interactive and Immersive Arts exemplifies collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches, enabling effective communication across diverse audiences. As the director of the Institute for Applied Creativity, I have fostered a dynamic and inclusive space for creators and researchers. Through collaboration with researchers, artists, and students from various domains, we have produced high-quality research and creative activities. I have established valuable connections for the institute by bringing in local and professional networks. Drawing from my prior experience, I am confident that my skills in interdisciplinary art research and practices will greatly benefit the a2ru community.

In terms of teaching, I strive to instill in my students a passion for community engagement and a solid commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration. I am committed to fostering my students’ vital engagement with the community and encouraging a strong intellectual commitment to interdisciplinarity. I emphasize art and design projects in real-world contexts, enabling students to showcase their work through art exhibitions, public presentations, services, and user studies. Through the a2ru network, I would like to expand this and create a supportive network for students, offering them a platform to share experiences, showcase their works, learn from each other, and connect with professionals in their fields. By fostering a nurturing and empowering community of artists and designers, I aim to inspire our students to utilize their creative talents as powerful agents of positive change in the world.

I am grateful for this nomination and the opportunity to contribute to the growth and impact of a2ru. I am committed to advancing the organization’s goals by fostering a vibrant community of artists, researchers, educators, and students who push the boundaries of creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration.