Kevin Hamilton Awarded Inaugural a2ru Catalyst Award

a2ru News

Jun 15, 2022

a2ru has awarded Kevin Hamilton with its first-ever a2ru Catalyst Award, honoring outstanding service to a2ru’s mission and to the a2ru network. Hamilton is Professor and Dean at the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and serves on the a2ru Executive Committee and on the Advisory Board for a2ru Ground Works, its open-access online platform for outstanding interdisciplinary research. The award was presented at the opening reception for “a2ru@10: What’s Next in Arts Integration” on June 9th.

Presenting the award, Veronica Stanich, a2ru Research Programs Manager and Managing Editor of Ground Works, said, “We, the staff at a2ru, decided we had to imagine an award into existence because Kevin Hamilton needs to be publicly recognized.”

Veronica Stanich and Kevin Hamilton with his award, a photograph of his beloved Colorado.

She continued, “He has first-hand experience in all the spheres where a2ru orbits. He is an artist, an educator, and a Dean. He works across disciplines, lavishly. He’s a writer and researcher and Editor in Chief. He understands what it means to inhabit all these spaces. He also has insight into the dynamics among these arts and university spheres, and into the motivations of players there. Furthermore, he has sensitive antennae that keep him attuned to how these dynamics and motivations shift according to shifting contexts, such as a lingering pandemic. This is invaluable for us at a2ru and Ground Works—to have Kevin’s canny insight available to us. Our conversations with Kevin help us calibrate our programming to the needs of our network. ”

“Kevin is a straight arrow, a good heart, a mensch. He looks out for the well-being and success of his students and colleagues, of the residents of the community where he lives, of people who have been sidelined and left out, and of artists everywhere…The final factor, the thing that nudged the a2ru Catalyst Award into being, is Kevin’s extravagant generosity with all this experience and insight. He doesn’t just say yes when we call him to ask if he can help; he calls us.”

Hamilton, accepting the award, stated, “This is an organization that everything I’ve given to, it’s given back to me tenfold.”

He added, “My experience with a2ru has really paralleled my experience with moving into leadership opportunities. And what I found in coming to a2ru events was that everywhere I said, “Yes, that’s great, but what about this too?,” a2ru said, “Yes, great, let’s do that.” And then over the years, more and more, I’m not doing that, because [a2ru is] doing things before I might think of doing them. It’s bringing me new ideas and new connections. So the value is just a returning kind of value and investment in this place. I really value this network… it’s our little polis of another kind where we get to think together and be together and imagine how higher ed can be better and how much the arts are at the center of what makes them better.”

About Kevin Hamilton

Working in collaborative and cross-disciplinary modes, Kevin Hamilton produces artworks, archives, and scholarship on such subjects as race and space, public memory, history of technology, and state violence. Recognition for his work has included grants from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities, presentation at conferences across Europe and North America (ISEA/ DEAF/CAA/NCA/ACM-SIGCHI), publication in edited journals and anthologies (Routledge/CCCS/Palm Press/UCLA), and invited residencies (Banff/USC-IML/Bratislava).

As an educator, administrator, and researcher, Kevin is focused on integration of practice-based, historical and theoretical approaches to learning about technological mediation. This work has included the development of several interdisciplinary project-based courses, workshops, and initiatives for students and faculty from the sciences, arts and humanities, with emphases on prototyping, reflection, and methodologies of collaboration.


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