Arts Impact Initiative
The Arts Impact Initiative increased efforts this year to expand understanding and support for artists and creative workers in Illinois and beyond. As one of three institutions leading the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), FAA played a leading role in administering the 2022 SNAAP survey and had more than 5,000 alumni participate. In support of this research, the college hired Dr. Shanita Bigelow, a research fellow whose analysis and interpretation of college alumni data will be used to help guide curriculum and strategic directions.
In addition to SNAAP, the Arts Impact Initiative led FAA in a partnership with Discovery Partners Institute (DPI); the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at University of Illinois Chicago; and Arts Alliance Illinois to help shape the future of workforce development for creative workers in Illinois. This partnership will serve as a prototype for how working across the public and private domains can strengthen opportunities for artists and other creative workers.
With support from the Presidential Initiative, a research team led by Professors Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Andrew Greenlee, and Magdalena Novoa published three issue briefs and hosted two panel events focused on the lives and livelihoods of creative workers in Illinois and nationwide. Addressing key issues like housing affordability and its intersection with race, ethnicity, and gender, the research aims to inform practice and policy at the city, state, and national levels, further supporting arts graduates.
Explore the research and learn more at artsimpact.faa.illinois.edu.
Crip* --Crispistemology and the Arts
Crip*—Cripistemology and the Arts is a transdisciplinary initiative housed in FAA and co-founded by Christopher Robert Jones and Liza Sylvestre, both research assistant professors with FAA. Crip* is a practice-based, experimental collaboration that draws points of connection between artistic practice and critical thought.
In spring 2023, Crip* hosted a series of hybrid and accessible events highlighting the work of guest artists and scholars currently engaging in conversations and art-making around Crip/Disabled experiences. Artist Carmen Papalia visited campus to give a public lecture and to perform Blind Field Shuttle, an interactive non-visual walking tour in community with attending students, staff, and faculty. Dustin Gibson and Talila “TL” Lewis presented a conversation sharing thoughts on disability justice, addressing the ableism central to policing and prison systems, and offering interventions. Crip* also hosted Dr. Sarah Hayden and audio describer Elaine Lillian Joseph through their project slow emergency siren, ongoing which explores how identity and subjective experience complicates and enriches access of culturally engaged, historical events and social/political movements.
In addition to their hybrid and accessible lecture series, Crip* created an undergraduate internship program for Crip/Disabled identifying students and offered a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses that engaged students in forming a cripistemelogical perspective as well as the support to incorporate that perspective into creative/critical practices, shaping the way students approach their respective mediums.
Learn more at crip.faa.illinois.edu.
Minor Aesthetics Lab
The Minor Aesthetics Lab (MAL) is a multisensory lab for minoritarian aesthetics, experiments, incubations, productions, and creative-theoretical work. It is spearheaded by Dr. Sandra Ruiz, the Sue Divan Associate Professor of Performance Studies in Theatre and English. Housed in FAA, MAL serves as an experiential learning environment, emphasizing rehearsal and experimentation, practice-based cultural methodologies, and the building of emancipatory knowledges.
To kick off the lab, Ruiz led a graduate seminar in which students read and experimented across texts in performance studies, feminist, trans, and queer studies, visual culture, cultural studies, and relational ethnic studies. The seminar’s final symposium highlighted the generative work of students’ research. PhD student Laura Coby, the Sue Divan Graduate Fellow for Spring 2023, coordinated a series of workshops exploring María Irene Fornés’ play Fefu & Her Friends. With Ruiz as producer through MAL, Coby directed a one-night staged reading of the play in collaboration with the Fornés Institute.
MAL also hosted a series of visiting writers, artists, and scholars who explore minor aesthetics in their work such as Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Cassils, Raquel Gutiérrez, Uri McMillan, and Hypatia Vourloumis. MAL collaborated with units across FAA and LAS to host guest performances, workshops, public lectures, and office hours with students interested in learning more about their work and creative processes.
Learn more at malab.faa.illinois.edu.