Using the Arts to Flip Understanding Workshop

Impacts, Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Workshops

In a2ru’s Mellon research, one of the most frequently cited impacts of the arts in higher ed is the new perspective it affords. Using the Arts to Flip Understanding generates that new perspective, engaging art-making to help people working outside the arts to see and understand familiar content differently. Here, the arts jumpstart participants’ thinking and even help them move out of a “stuck place”—a conundrum that bogs down their work. 

The workshop asks its participants to take on the artist’s practice of making—creating micro works of art in movement, literary, and visual forms that use a stuck place in their current work or research as thematic material. Participants toggle between an open-ended, exploratory approach and a more critical one, analyzing and interpreting the micro-artworks they make. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to this workshop; participants are enthusiastic about how art-making, peer feedback, and expert facilitation combine to promote new insight into their work.

In this short video presented at the 13th Annual Science of Team Science Conference in 2022, a2ru Research Program Manager Veronica Stanich presents the research outcomes of the workshop “Using the Arts to Flip Understanding.”


Using the Arts to Flip Understanding is available in virtual and in-person formats

For information about hosting Using the Arts to Flip Understanding, contact Veronica Stanich, a2ru Research Program Manager, at vstanich@umich.edu. The price of all workshops is reduced for a2ru member institutions.

Participant Testimonials

  • “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.”