Arts Initiative names eight for Public Art & Engagement Fellowship
By Deb Mexicotte
The University of Michigan School of Information has joined ArtsEngine, U-M’s interdisciplinary arts integration initiative that is considered a national model for integrated curricular and co-curricular programming.
Created in 2006, ArtsEngine was founded by the four North Campus schools and colleges: Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the College of Engineering.
The School of Information’s programs are broadly interdisciplinary, making ArtsEngine an ideal collaborative partner. Faculty come from many fields — ranging from computer science to history to psychology to business — and its diverse student body likewise represents more than 100 majors.
With the mission of building a better world through technology and information, UMSI’s faculty, staff and students reflect the intellectual diversity of the broad range of social and technological sciences that make up its unique approach to solving information problems.
Laurie Baefsky, executive director of ArtsEngine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, sees this partnership with UMSI as the next logical step for ArtsEngine at Michigan.
“Our students are digital natives. They arrive hungry to apply technologies, information and social practice to their own majors and career interests. ArtsEngine strives to provide a gateway for this exploration, through collaborative opportunities spanning multiple disciplines. UMSI also does this, by design,” Baefsky says.
“Bringing UMSI into ArtsEngine connects our students, faculty and program administrators on the North and Central campuses through direct programs and greatly expanded tools and resources.”
Thomas A. Finholt, dean of the School of Information, agrees.
“We expect our partnership with ArtsEngine to enhance our already strong ties to the North Campus schools and colleges, and present us with new opportunities for partnerships with them. As we look forward to relocating to the North Campus in the next five years, we see this as a natural step in exploring ways in which we can collaborate with our future neighbors,” he said.
Adds Elizabeth Yakel, UMSI senior associate dean for academic affairs: “UMSI faculty are already engaged with ArtsEngine and this official step will solidify and extend that involvement. We also look forward to more student interaction in courses and co-curricular activities among students from the four schools.”