Faculty Exploratory Research Grant

The Dean’s Exploratory Research Grant program provides funding to support research at the developmental stage where no definitive outcomes may be predicted. These projects allow faculty to conduct new research, explore new media, or collaborate in experimental ways.  A selection committee composed of faculty from a cross-section of arts and design disciplines makes award recommendations to the Dean. Exploratory grants are intended to assist faculty in developing research that could lead to successful applications for Faculty Research Grants and/or external funding opportunities.

While the program is open to all full-time faculty, excluding chairs, those who have not yet received support from the Dean’s Research Reassignment or Faculty Research Grant program will receive special consideration. Assistant Professors are encouraged to apply.

To prepare a competitive proposal that addresses the review criteria in the Exploratory Research Grants category, refer to the following:

  1. Clarity of the project: In your project narrative, describe your proposed project related to creative work and scholarship or an interdisciplinary project idea. Describe how this project represents an exploratory endeavor that could contribute to innovation and the generation of new knowledge.
  2. Strong case for support: In your project narrative, describe how the project contributes to current trends/practice your field, to your professional development at this time, and to the profile and intellectual assets of the School and the university. Projects with promise of future external funding will be strongly considered.
  3. Clear and reasonable budget: In your budget, present a budget that aligns with the activities of your project.
  4. Potential for external funding: In sources of external support, indicate the other sources of funding you are seeking for this project.

The next round of applications will be due September 10, 2017 at 5 pm. For more information, contact artsresearch@vcu.edu.

Award: Up to $5,000

Apply Here

Past Recipients

2016-2017 Awards

Mark Boulous, Assistant Professor, Photography and Film

To research multi-dimensionality and its representations, and develop a film pursuing new possibilities in Virtual Reality, in partnership with the Smithsonian art museums, Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Labs, and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Jason Hackett, Assistant Professor, Craft and Material Studies

To attend a collaborative artist residency at Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana and develop 3D ceramic printing technology.

Nicole Killian, Assistant Professor, Graphic Design

To further a body of written and visual work on the theme of “Girls That Run in Packs,” which examines how female-identified and often queer bodies find community through physical and digital spaces.

Karen Kopryanski, Assistant Professor, Theatre

To investigate, using motion capture technology, the link between postural habits, alignment, speech habits and vocal production in theatre performers in training.

Aaron McIntosh, Assistant Professor, Craft and Material Studies

To gather stories across Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas, visit LGBTQ archive centers, and launch an interactive website as part of the Invasive Project, which documents and makes visible Southern queer culture.

Stephen Vitiello, Professor, Kinetic Imaging

To do sound recordings in Cuba’s Bay of Matanzas, a region often documented in photographs but not in sound, in collaboration with a local botanist and interdisciplinary artist Neil Leonard.

2015-2016 Awards

Courtney Harris, Assistant Professor, Dance and Choreography

Support for an immersive performance and art installation inspired by the life and work of early twentieth century painter Romaine Brooks.

Susie Ganch, Associate Professor, Craft and Material Studies

Studio support for a residency at the Kohler Arts/Industry, an internationally recognized program that provides participants with the opportunity to discover new ways of working through the exploration of techniques and concepts that are not possible in their own studios.

David Toney, Assistant Professor, Theatre

Development assistance for a film and play that will bring awareness to suicide rates amongst Afghanistan and Iraq veterans in the United States through the sharing of personal stories recorded at military bases and hospitals.

2014-2015 Awards

Andrea Keys Connell, Assistant Professor, Craft and Material Studies

Purchase of equipment that to expand exploration of large-scale ceramics in studio practice.

Hope Ginsburg, Associate Professor, Art Foundation

Support for Land Dive Team, a project that takes meditation and scuba diving as starting points to produce a new body of artwork and to initiate a body of interdisciplinary research on breathing, mindfulness meditation, trauma/recovery and scuba.

2013-2014 Awards

Melanie Buffington, Associate Professor, Art Education

Development and piloting of K-12 teacher training workshops focused on historical monuments and artworks in Richmond related to the Civil War.

Susanna Klein, Assistant Professor, Music & Doug Richards, Professor, Music

Rehearsal and recording of a unique transformation of a Claude Debussy piano prelude for Jazz/Classical Clarinet and String Quartet arranged by Doug Richards.

Semi Ryu, Associate Professor, Kinetic Imaging

Development and piloting of an expressive storytelling platform designed for seniors that combines reminiscence therapy with virtual interactive puppets to facilitate a deeper understanding of self-worth

Susan Schuld, Assistant Professor, Theatre

Development and piloting of a new course for VCU’s International Dentist Program to assist foreign-born doctors in their oral communication through the use of the innovative Knight-Thompson Speechwork technique

2012-2013 Awards
Ryan Patton, Assistant Professor in Art Education
Research to explore the use of gaming-making within art education curricula.

Kathleen Chapman, Assistant Professor in Art History
Examination of the significance of the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection to defining German Expressionism in the United States.

Ester Partegas, Assistant Professor in Sculpture & Extended Media
Development of large-scale work encompassing sculpture, printed image, and painting

Susan Ganch, Associate Professor in Craft & Material Studies
Exploration of the potential of expanding the scale of her jewelry work beyond extreme wearability into sculptural pieces.

Sonali Gulati, Associate Professor in Photography & Film
Documentary film project exploring issues of sexuality in India

Tabatha Peters, Assistant Professor in Music
Exploration of the potential of a musical collaboration with a Colombian musician to develop new work on flute and piano

Rab McClure, Associate Professor in Interior Design
Examination of new ways of creating patterned tiles using a laser cutter and casting in polyurethane resin that explore the notion of marvel and intricacy lying dormant beneath a deceptively serene surface

2011-2012 Awards
Kristin Caskey- Personal Uniforms
A small collection of personal uniforms will be created for three individuals. Each uniform features printed fabric designs and ensembles for each ”personality” in the project. In tandem with the “clients” the project will develop what a personal uniform might mean to them, what pockets, interior monologue or ruffles might it bear.

Amy Hutton- Mobile Manager Software
A prototype mobile stage manager software will be developed to replace the analog notation used by stage managers to document rehearsals and performances. The software will run on tablet hardware and be developed with help from the Department of Computer Science. This software would be used on Broadway, in professional theaters and in high schools.

Sarah Mizer- Multi-Functional Hard and Soft Glass Studio
The exploratory grant will be used to develop a multi-functional hard and soft glass studio. Acquisition of a major burner and a kiln will increase options for flame intensity and thickness, creating improved conditions for experimentation with both soft and hard glass.

Daniel Myssyk- The Haydn Project
The Haydn Project consists of new programming for the chamber orchestra Appassionata and will add Haydn’s twelve “London” Symphonies to its repertoire over the next four years with recording being the likely outcome. The Haydn Project will initiate a collaboration with the Richmond Symphony and its Music Director Steven Smith to implement an early music series.

Robert Perry- The LED Laboratory Project
The LED Laboratory Project will develop a lighting laboratory where current and future initiatives in alternate lighting sources can be studied and further improved for applications in the theatrical and architectural lighting industries. The LED Laboratory Project will develop further alternative light sources to reduce the amount of energy that previous lighting sources have consumed as they relate to the industries of theatrical and architectural design.

Matt King & Scott Putman- Exploring the Perspective for the Viewer in Venues for Dance in Sculpture
This inquiry explores the perspective of the viewer in traditional venues for dance and sculpture and challenges the conventions of the performance stage and the art gallery. By asking how we might borrow from each otherʼs field of expertise, Dance and Sculpture, a number of questions emerge. From this query, an event with Richmondʼs CenterStage has begun, and the long-term goal is to develop a touring work for multiple audiences.

Rose Regni & Diedra Arrington- History and Importance of the Luxury Market
Luxury goods have proven to be relatively recession resistant. The focus of this research is to study the current state and future of the world luxury market. Research will include visits to key luxury markets internationally to shop stores, photograph and interview fashionistas on the streets.

Henry Swartz- Luxury Resurgence in the Fashion Industry in Difficult Economic Times
Through visits to factories that manufacture luxury brands, trends in fashion, and the skills employed, can be observed and documented for VCU students. Visiting these production facilities will permit firsthand evidence of how the production of luxury garments differs from ready to wear.

2010-2011 Awards
Hope Ginsburg, Art Foundation & Painting and Printmaking
Funding to support a solo exhibition at the CUE Foundation in Chelsea in March 2011. $2500

Sonali Gulati, Department of Photography and Film
Support for the distribution of, I Am, a feature-length documentary film completed after five years in the making. $5000

Margaret Lindauer, Department of Art History
Funding for research associated with a paper that will appear in a peer-reviewed book entitled Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions, edited by Shelley Ruth Butler and Erica Leherer. $2700

Matt King, Art Foundation & Sculpture and Extended Media
Funding to support the final stages of production of a solo exhibition, Generics, that opens in February 2011 at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Brant Gallery. $4700

Peter Martin, Department of Music
Travel funding to perform a series of concerts with Third Coast Percussion in the ensemble’s 3rd annual Chicago Concert Series. $2600

Michael McKean, Department of Sculpture and Extended Media
Fabrication expenses and related support for two exhibitions, one in Tel Aviv, Israel at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and the other in Omaha, Nebraska titled Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms. $5900

Stephen Vitiello, Department of Kinetic Imaging
Installation support for a solo exhibition at the gallery, Museum 52, in New York, January 2011. $1200

Gregory Volk, Department of Sculpture and Extended Media & Painting and Printmaking
Travel to research a project about contemporary exhibitions in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia to be published in Art in America. $6000

Charles West, Department of Music
Travel to perform and lecture at the Melbourne International Festival of Single Reeds, July 2011 in Australia. $2600

Hilary Wilder, Department of Painting and Printmaking
Travel for two residencies in Iceland in 2010-11, and two upcoming exhibitions. $4300

2008-2009 Awards
Min Cho, Department of Art Education
For costs associated with the first national survey providing demographic baseline data on elementary school art education with potential for national publication of findings. $2,500

David Greennagel, Department of Music
For travel to explore the use of drumming and drum circles as a means of musical cultural communication in West Africa. $2,900

Kristopher Keeton, Department of Music
For support for research in ragtime xylophone performance through study with the foremost practitioner in the field. $4,250

Rab McClure, Department of Interior Design
For support of research into a patterned surface that is interactive, transformative, and reflective of the nuances of changing weather. $3,350

Camden Whitehead, Department of Interior Design
For development of low cost and low technology prototypes utilizing waste products from the granite and marble working industry. $2,000

2007-2008 Awards
Elissa Armstrong, Art Foundation Program
For materials for explorations in non-traditional ceramics techniques. $2,000

Melanie Buffington, Department of Art Education
For research including surveys and interviews on preferred content and structure of K-12 professional teaching portfolios. $2,000

James Farmer, Department of Art History
For travel and related costs for an expedition to the summit of Yanantin mountain in Peru in search of Inca ruins that may be related to structures on Machu Picchu in 2008. $4,000

Hope Ginsburg, Art Foundation Program
For travel and Website development for the participatory site SPONGEspace.net which she initially developed at MIT. $2,773

David Greennagel, Department of Music
For a research survey assessing the impact of licensed music educators on the Virginia Standards of Learning benchmark scores at the elementary school level. $400

Susan Iverson, Department of Craft/Material Studies
For attendance at a specialized weaving workshop and production of work at the Jacquard Center in North Carolina. $2,000

Lea Marshall & Adam Chamberlin, Department of Dance & Choreography
For support of a study of dance and choreographic aesthetics and technical production at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. $2,500

Rab McClure, Department of Interior Design
For support of research in the role of metaphor and analogy in the design of surface building materials. $3,000

2006-2007 Awards
Bob Paris, Kinetic Imaging
For The War Show – A Virtual Web-Based Exhibition: $4,896

“In my recent video exhibition, Disturbance, the ghostly remains of the 1992 Los Angeles riots were excavated to consider spectacle, social disaster and historical erasure. The War Show continues this technique of transforming concrete artifacts from popular media into a probing inquiry of American social history. Funding will support construction a virtual exhibition, one that would come to life on the internet and, perhaps later, be transformed for physically installation in a museum or gallery environment. A web designer will be hired to implement this vision. The aim is not merely to put assembled work online, but to shape the work uniquely to the medium.”

Nancy Lampert, Art Education
For Critical Thinking as an Outcome of Art Education: $5,000

“Funding will support an expanded research study on critical thinking as an outcome of art education to be implemented during 2007-08 in association with a community-based after-school arts program for children in the Carver neighborhood. The study will be conducted in collaboration with the Friends Association for Children in Richmond and findings will support applications for federal and foundational funding. The research builds upon a pilot study conducted in 2006-07 using an inquiry-based curriculum engaging children in open-ended creative problem solving and aesthetic discussions and critical analysis of various artworks, including their own. Findings demonstrating a statistically significant increase in the children’s average scores were presented in Paris in January, 2007, at the Pompidou Centre European and International Research Symposium, Evaluating the Impact of Arts and Cultural Education.”

Linda Lee, Fashion Design and Merchandising
For Establishment of a Design Workshop in Guatemala: $2,950

“The Department is developing an ongoing relationship with the Maya community including the establishment of a design workshop in Xela, Guatemala, that will provide benefits to the community, research opportunities for faculty, and support service learning for Fashion Design & Merchandising students. Funding is requested for equipment to support research and workshop development. Other sources of external funding will also be sought for related initiatives. As part of the ongoing relationship, Professor Linda Lee will conduct research on traditional Maya textiles at the Ixchel Textile Museum in Guatemala City leading to anticipated publication and curatorial activities related to an upcoming exhibition in the Anderson Gallery.”