The Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas (KU) rethinks the academic art museum as an active participant in research across the sciences and humanities. Integrating collections into curricula and activating the space of the museum for campus-wide engagement are prerequisites for this work; IARI expands this foundation, positioning the museum to thoughtfully participate, not only in pedagogy, but also in the formulation of research questions and the methods that produce knowledge. As an art museum initiative, we also conceive of artistic practice as its own method of knowledge production. IARI, therefore, invites artists and academics to engage in research together and consider how being in conversation with different methods can inform research across disciplines. We strive to enable, facilitate, and support knowledges through nonstatic and inclusive approaches to practice-led work, challenging, opening up, and contributing to the university’s research culture. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, IARI offers opportunities for collaborative research through faculty, graduate, and undergraduate research fellowships; visiting scholars and creative specialists (artists and other cultural practitioners); forums; exhibitions; and publications. As we are in the early years of this experiment in arts and research integration, we are beginning to articulate our structures and vocabularies. This essay, written by Joey Orr, Curator for Research at the Spencer Museum of Art, and Imani Wadud, 2018–2019 Graduate Research Fellow for IARI, is an attempt to begin to explore the terms and goals of this new experiment in pedagogy and museum-driven research.
Journal Article: Social Histories: An Inquiry from the Integrated Arts Research Initiative
April 18, 2019