inclusion initiative

Independent Grant Winners

Songlines/Sand
Scot Putman

This will open a space for true collaboration by listening more deeply through a dialogue about the culture and stories of the land of the indigenous people of the Yawuru tribe in Broome, Australia. Coming together through song and dance, we intend to bridge contemporary and traditional concepts while honoring and respecting the sacred movement, songs and land. This process will enable a deeper sensitivity for cultural collaborations respecting traditions being mindful to foster cultural bridge building for respectful and engaging exchanges. Learning to humble oneself through the collaborative process will assist in learning to listen more deeply in the studio, classroom and creative process back home.

“The Machine to be Another” and “the Library of Ourselves”
Jill Ware and John Blatter

With the VCUarts Independent Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Grant, John Henry Blatter and Jill B. Ware, through VCUarts, have become essential research partners with the creative team BeAnotherLabs. This partnership has linked VCUarts to a multidisciplinary collaborative group of international researchers, designers, technicians and performers working to expand empathy one person at a time using virtual reality platforms. Blatter and Ware will initiate coursework and seek VCU and statewide participation in the aim of creating empathy and community through the collection of shared experiences through VR.

Music and Social Justice: Inclusiveness in a Homeless Choir Initiative
Rebecca Tyree

“The Independent Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Grant funds are supporting my travel to Dallas, Texas in January for the inaugural meeting of Conductors of Street Choirs from across the U.S. I will gather with directors from Atlanta, L.A., San Diego, Norfolk, Baltimore and Chicago to share experiences and glean from one another’s expertise in serving the highly diverse population of those affected by homelessness. Dr. Anne Nordberg, from UT Arlington, will present “The Effects of Communal Singing on Those Experiencing Homelessness.” The opportunity to gain insight from the directors working with this marginalized community in making music together to uplift the human spirit will further my understanding and passion for founding and sustaining the RVA Street Singers.

Generating Solutions for Diversity Learning in the Arts Presenter: How can we attract the most widely diverse population to our institutions?
Sara Wilson McKay

Attending the National Council of Arts Administrators: Ground Work Conference in Tucson, Arizona (Sept 20-23, 2017) with the theme “producing access and equity through the arts” was very impactful for me. The solutions workshop with Tim Eatman (former director of Imagining America) will answer the question “what kinds of institutions of Higher Education does a strong democracy need?” I plan to use the information I gained in these sessions to inform departmental initiatives including supporting new faculty, increasing retention of minority students in our programs at all levels, and forging a new partnership with Virginia State University to offer their students a pathway to licensure through our program.

Departmental Winners

Clearing Roadblocks: Critical Conversations about Diversifying the Field of Art Education
Department of Art Education

Empowering our students to steer events working with VCU artist in residence Paul Rucker and our faculty will create meaningful opportunities for authentic dialogue and growth in terms of expanding our Diversity and Inclusion practices. The goal of this series of events including nationally-renown visiting art educators is to provide local art educators, aspiring art educators, and local high school students with critical tools and language about how the art classroom can help reduce harm for students and faculty of color and increase inclusivity and acceptance of difference at all levels of education. Interventions determined in collaboration with our students and faculty via a steering committee working with Paul Rucker offer possibilities and a model for actions for change in our practices.

Foundations for Inclusion
ART Foundation: lead Lily Cox and Courtnie Wolfgang

Art Foundation will invest in this project with a faculty steward for the Spring 2018 semester, and graduate students and faculty from Art Education will help design and facilitate workshops. Four adjuncts will be funded as fellows. Student participants will include Art Foundation alumni and Art Education graduate students. These participants will come together as working groups. We will invite OMSA to do a workshop on inclusive language, and hope to engage Johanna L. Plummer (Curator of Education and Engagement, ICA) Paul Rucker (VCU iCubed Visiting Arts Fellow). Dr. Courtnie Wolfgang, VCU Department of Art Education, will facilitate a two-part workshop on Culturally Sustainable Pedagogies in the Arts, focusing on critical pedagogy and inclusive teaching methodologies.

Overcoming Critiques
Graphic Design: lead Wesley Taylor

Using the groundbreaking research of art education scholars such as Dr. Sharif Bey and Dr. Terry Barrett as guides we will generate content that is both universal and specific to a VCU context. We will interview current and former VCUarts students to gather their testimonials of their critique experiences. We will also bring in perspectives from artists from across the country to hear about their challenges with critique and the methods in which they dealt with these issues. With this information we compile the content to create the toolkit’s. The toolkits will be created collaboratively with undergrads, grads, and faculty in the GDES department.

Monument Avenue: General Devotion/ General Demotion Project
mOb: lead Kristin Caskey and Camden Whitehead

The Monument Avenue: General Devotion/General Demotion project will allow VCUarts students to engage in civil and civic discourse with the support of faculty, community leaders, and professional designers as they create new work regarding Richmond’s Monument Avenue. mOb is uniquely positioned to provide design opportunities and cultivate dialogue for community members, high school students, and national design firms considering this historic avenue. Monies will be used for the charrette which will bring a visiting designer and community worker into the studio to enrich and cultivate student, faculty, and staff discussion of the history of Monument Avenue and their neighborhoods, urban planning practices historically and currently, public art, and designing for the reconciliation and justice of this streetscape

VR inclusion project