Imagining America excitedly welcomes the newest member of the IA consortium, University of Arizona. In this month’s member feature, we invited Director of the School of Art Colin Blakely to write a special guest blog, below. Discover the fantastic work and initiatives currently at University of Arizona that align with IA’s mission and values!
The University of Arizona is excited to be joining Imagining America! IA’s mission and values are in perfect alignment with the current trajectory of the Arts and Humanities on campus. While there is always work to be done in aligning our work with the aspirations set forth by these values, we are excited to share some examples of current initiatives that showcase our work in this regard:
‣ The University of Arizona College of Humanities recently launched a new Department of Public and Applied Humanities (https://pah.arizona.edu). This department works to translate the personal enrichment of humanities study into public enrichment and the direct and tangible improvement of the human condition. Through research-driven, collaborative, and publicly facing projects built to explore and enhance life in the community and beyond, students and scholars convert understanding into action for the measurable betterment of society. The department is home to two undergraduate and one graduate program, including a new BA program in Applied Humanities.
‣ The School of Art and the James E. Rogers College of Law have developed a new course entitled Visualizing Justice (https://law.arizona.edu/innovation-for-justice). This interdisciplinary service learning course combines legal, art and design concepts to explore: (1) what are legal rights; (2) how do we communicate legal rights; (3) how do we navigate legal processes; (4) how can art and design inform how legal rights and legal information are conveyed, in order to empower people and make legal systems more accessible and navigable? The course is being taught for the first time this semester and is focusing on Tucson Housing Court with an eye toward developing solutions for creating a more equitable balance of power between landlords and tenants.
‣ The University of Arizona Museum of Art’s Mapping Q program (https://artmuseum.arizona.edu/mapping-q) will soon be entering its sixth year of programming. Mapping Q is an innovative community arts education program that invites LGTBQ+ youth ages 13-24 to explore representations of self within art, museums, and the wider community. Participants that complete the program will have artwork displayed in the museum.
‣ The School of Art, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts is in year one of a two year lecture and visiting artists series entitled LOOK.LISTEN: Art and Social Justice (https://vase.art.arizona.edu). In addition to bringing eight artists and scholars to campus, the project invites one social practice artist for each of the two years for an extended visit to Tucson to work with students as well as local non-profits in development of a public art project. This year’s visiting artist is Andres Hernandez. His project examines public spaces in and around downtown Tucson with an eye toward initiating discussions around design that promotes equitable use of those spaces for different populations.
We are looking forward to developing a meaningful and collaborative relationship with Imagining America, and know that in the years to come there will be many more exciting things at the University of Arizona to report!