University of Arizona
University of Arizona

Research and Faculty


One of the University of Arizona’s core values is exploration, to be insatiably curious.

The University of Arizona and Arizona Arts place a major emphasis on research in the arts. In 2020, the university’s Office of Research Innovation and Impact (RII) awarded its first round of production seed grants. Since then, RII has funded 11 projects utilizing arts-based research methods resulting in a wide range of projects from a musical composition reflecting tree-ring research (Arts and the Environment) to a documentary film that humanizes Americans’ struggles and concerns around healthcare (Arts and Wellbeing).

In 2023, five Arts | Humanities | Resilience projects were awarded by the College of Fine Arts with funding from Arizona Institute for Resilience. In the Spring of 2024 funding was renewed for these projects. Plus, RII provided funds for Ellen McMahon, Arizona Arts associate dean for research and Jen Fields, director from the Office of Societal Impacts to work towards the integration of the arts into the University’s research centers and institutes. This funded the exhibition, Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being: Arts Research and Integration in the Fall of 2023.

“Recent advances in several fields are converging to reveal a new view of knowledge as a process which is embodied, embedded, enactive, and emotionally based,” said McMahon. “These qualities have always been central to the arts but now arts research is being recognized as foundational to how we come to know anything about ourselves and our world. This emerging realization across all disciplines about the importance of research in and through the arts is reflected in the increasing opportunities and support for faculty and staff in the college.”


If you have questions or need guidance about Research in the Arts, contact:

Ellen McMahon
Associate Dean
Professor, Applied Intercultural Arts Research - GIDP
Professor, Art