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What is Research in the Arts?

I am frequently asked the question, “What is research in the arts?”

I’m the new Associate Dean for Research in the Arts for the College of Fine Arts. I want to be able to answer that question in a few sentences that can be understood and appreciated across disciplines. Like the related question – “What is art?” – it’s not simple or even possible to answer conclusively, but there’s a lot to be gained in the trying.

Finding the answers to these questions is also necessary to do my job, “to work to ensure that the arts are valued as integral to the research mission and enterprise of the university.”

In 2018, the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), whose mission is to foster and champion the role of the arts and design in research universities, published 444 answers to the question, What is Arts Research?

It’s interesting to read, but there are so many different opinions that it’s impossible to summarize in any meaningful way. Adding to the confusion, the terminology changes across fields and over time (e.g.: arts-based research, practice-led research, creative practice as research, arts-integrative research, arts research, as well as the more conventional, Research in the History and Theory of the Arts.) Design Research is also in the mix in areas such as: exhibition design, costume design, lighting design, scene design, graphic design, as well as experience and information design.

So, my research project during my first year in this position was to find out how research is being conducted, understood and articulated in the four academic units in the College of Fine Arts as well as the presentation units (Center for Creative Photography, Museum of Art, UA Presents, and Arizona Arts in Schools) that make up the division, Arizona Arts.

During the fall semester I worked with College of Fine Arts Dean Andrew Schulz and the university’s Research Development Services on campus to develop a research survey, which we sent to all research personnel in Arizona Arts. We received responses from 95 people representing all units and ranks, providing us with valuable information about recent and current research, as well as future plans and aspirations.

The array of accomplishments is striking and the ideas for future projects are ambitious and imaginative. (I’m looking forward to providing any assistance that I can in developing them further.) One key takeaway is the interest and involvement in interdisciplinary, collaborative, and community-engaged projects.

58% of respondents have been involved in interdisciplinary collaborations in the last five years; 90% would like to be.

Interdisciplinary Collaborations in the last 5 years

    Future Interest

       

      65% of respondents have been involved in community-engaged projects in the last five years; 81% would like to be.

      Community Engaged Projects in the last 5 years

        Future Interest

           

          For all results see the following charts.

          Who Responded

            Outcomes/Methods of Dissemination

              Methods of Assessing Impact

                Research Methods

                  Funding Received in the last 5 years

                    Forms of Support that Would be Most Useful

                      So, what is Research in the Arts?

                      One answer, based on A2RU findings is self-evident: “Research in the arts is a diverse set of practices often interdisciplinary and collaborative involving research in humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences about, through, within and in support the arts.”

                      Perhaps a more interesting question: what kind of knowledge is generated through research in the arts? One way I’ve been thinking about this is based on the quote by Aimé Césaire, poet and politician from the region of Martinique and one of the founders of the négritude movement in Francophone literature:

                      “Poetic knowledge is born in the great silence of scientific knowledge.”

                      “Poetic knowledge” being everything we know that cannot be measured or explained through scientific methods. Creative and humanistic inquiry considers, generates and expresses “poetic knowledge” through many forms of production and practice. Embedded within these forms are the metaphors and stories that frame the ways we think, influence the ways we feel, and determine the ways we act.

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                      2 days ago
                      Arizona Arts

                      Congrats Sadie Shaw (BFA, 2019, Art & Visual Culture Education).

                      We are proud of you. Good luck with your new role.

                      Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona
                      University of Arizona School of Art
                      Arizona Alumni🌟 Please join us in welcoming Sadie Shaw to the Arts Foundation team as the Community Design Manager!

                      Sadie will lead SaludArte, a new private public partnership between Pima County Health Department (PCHD) and the Arts Foundation.

                      Sadie is an artist, art educator, oral historian, community organizer and Governing Board Member of the Tucson Unified School District.

                      To learn more about Sadie and her new role as the Community Design Manager, click the link below!

                      artsfoundtucson.org/welcome-to-the-team-sadie-shaw/
                      ... See MoreSee Less

                      Congrats Sadie Shaw (BFA, 2019,  Art & Visual Culture Education). 

We are proud of you. Good luck with your new role.

Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona
University of Arizona School of Art
Arizona Alumni
                      2 days ago
                      Arizona Arts

                      The world premiere of LUTE, an inspiring documentary of the legendary The University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, is this Friday at 5:30p at Centennial Hall.

                      Relive the 1997 NCAA title run on its 25th anniversary!

                      Directed by UA School of Theatre, Film & Television alumnus Brett Rapkin (BA 2000).

                      azart.fyi/LUTEtix

                      Presented by Podium Pictures, in association with CBS Sports, this definitive documentary by Emmy Award-winning Director Brett Rapkin celebrates the legendary Coach Lute Olson on the 25th Anniversary of the 1997 National Championship.

                      “Not long after I showed up in Tucson as a 17-year-old freshman, I got to witness Lute lead the 1997 Cats to the promised land: a National Championship,” said Rapkin, who studied film at TFTV. “It is truly an honor to have the chance to help tell this story.”

                      “I’m thrilled to be a member of the team making a film celebrating Coach O’s life and legacy,” said Jason Terry, executive producer and member of the 1997 championship team. “This is also a special opportunity to allow the coaches, fans, players and families that he inspired along the way to tell their own stories.”

                      #lute #BearDown #RiseWithUs

                      Arizona Men's Basketball | Arizona Alumni | Arizona Athletics | Arizona A-Club Letterwinners | AZ Desert Swarm | Arizona Arts Live
                      ... See MoreSee Less

                      The world premiere of LUTE, an inspiring documentary of the legendary The University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, is this Friday at 5:30p at Centennial Hall.

Relive the 1997 NCAA title run on its 25th anniversary!

Directed by UA School of Theatre, Film & Television alumnus Brett Rapkin (BA 2000).
 
https://azart.fyi/LUTEtix
 
Presented by Podium Pictures, in association with CBS Sports, this definitive documentary by Emmy Award-winning Director Brett Rapkin celebrates the legendary Coach Lute Olson on the 25th Anniversary of the 1997 National Championship.
 
“Not long after I showed up in Tucson as a 17-year-old freshman, I got to witness Lute lead the 1997 Cats to the promised land: a National Championship,” said Rapkin, who studied film at TFTV. “It is truly an honor to have the chance to help tell this story.”
 
“I’m thrilled to be a member of the team making a film celebrating Coach O’s life and legacy,” said Jason Terry, executive producer and member of the 1997 championship team. “This is also a special opportunity to allow the coaches, fans, players and families that he inspired along the way to tell their own stories.”

#lute #BearDown #RiseWithUs

Arizona Mens Basketball | Arizona Alumni | Arizona Athletics | Arizona A-Club Letterwinners | AZ Desert Swarm | Arizona Arts Live

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                      Miss you Lute 💙

                      3 days ago
                      Arizona Arts

                      Five students were selected as the inaugural JustArts Fellows, an Arizona Arts equity initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the arts by asking student leaders to identify challenges and propose creative solutions.

                      🔗 azart.fyi/JustArts22

                      The inaugural cohort includes:

                      Dylan Crites
                      >> UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
                      Carlos Garcia Ramirez
                      >> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
                      Dorthea Stephenson
                      >> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
                      Ariana Aquino
                      >> The University of Arizona School of Dance
                      Joshua Barbre
                      >> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
                      ... See MoreSee Less

                      Five students were selected as the inaugural JustArts Fellows, an Arizona Arts equity initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the arts by asking student leaders to identify challenges and propose creative solutions. 

🔗 https://azart.fyi/JustArts22

The inaugural cohort includes: 

Dylan Crites
>> UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
Carlos Garcia Ramirez
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Dorthea Stephenson
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Ariana Aquino
>> The University of Arizona School of Dance
Joshua Barbre
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
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