The University Record, April 23, 2001

Arts of Citizenship awards faculty, graduate student grants

By Karis Crawford
Arts of Citizenship Program

The Arts of Citizenship Program has announced the recipients of its third round of faculty grants for public and community-based scholarly work in the arts, humanities and design.

David Scobey, associate professor of architecture and director of Arts of Citizenship, says, “We received applications from all over campus: LS&A, Architecture and Urban Planning, Art and Design, Music, Social Work, Medicine, and Education. The proposals included video projects, community writing programs, dance pieces and even a recording studio.”

The goal of the Arts of Citizenship grants program is to foster research, teaching and creative projects that explore culture in publicly accessible ways or that encourage innovative teaching and research in collaboration with community partners. Funds for a total of three annual rounds of faculty grants have been provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research and by LS&A. With funding from the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, an additional competition for graduate students was initiated this year.

For the 2001–02 academic year, an interdisciplinary faculty Selection Committee awarded Arts of Citizenship grants to the following faculty projects:

  • Janet Finn, assistant professor of social work and of anthropology, and Mario Antonio Alvarez, clinical assistant professor of social work, adjunct lecturer in education and clinical social worker, will collaborate with the Neutral Zone, a teen center in Ann Arbor, to help establish and write about a youth-run recording facility.

  • Nancy Rose Hunt, associate professor of history, and of obstetrics and gynecology, will use her grant to produce a video documentary about women’s community health issues in Accra, Ghana. This video will extend her transnational research and training program, “Women’s Health in the City of Accra.”

  • Lisa Iwamoto, clinical assistant professor of architecture, will team with Craig Scott, assistant professor of architecture, to research commercial architecture in southeastern Michigan “edge cities” and to develop more publicly oriented, ecologically sound designs.

  • Joyce Meier, lecturer in English, will continue a community writing program that partners her U-M students with elders and children from three Detroit community centers. The grant also will allow Meier to write about the 2-year-old project.

  • Katherine Mendeloff, lecturer in drama, and Charles Bright, lecturer in social science, will produce a video piece about southwest Detroit activist Pablo Davis, who assisted with Diego Rivera’s Detroit murals. The piece will be both an educational documentary and an anchor for a student playwright’s script.

  • Mark Pomilio, lecturer in art, will coordinate an outdoor mural project in partnership with the Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti. Teenage Ypsilanti artists will train with Pomilio and U-M students and then work with an experienced muralist to paint the mural in summer 2001.

  • Peter Sparling, professor of dance, will collaborate on a multimedia installation centering around the history of Dossin Elementary School in northwest Detroit. In addition to events at the school, there will be a full performance at the Detroit Institute of Arts in conjunction with Detroit 300, the celebration of the city’s 300th anniversary.

    “I am very excited by a number of firsts in these grants,” Scobey says. “This is the first award we have given for a dance project, the first time we have been able to provide release time for a faculty member to write about community work and our first international project. And I’m particularly glad that, with Rackham’s help, we are supporting graduate student projects for the first time.” The Selection Committee awarded grants to the following graduate student projects:

  • Anthropology and social work student Kimberly Clum will produce a broadcast-quality audio documentary exploring the effects of recent changes in welfare policy on ordinary families.

  • Art student Titus Brooks Heagins will produce a photo essay about African American families who have maintained strong neighborhood ties on Detroit’s east side.

  • Music student Kevin March will use performances of the Phoenix Ensemble’s piece A 21st Century Romance and online chat rooms to explore issues of identity and perception in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

  • History students A. Lavelle Porter and Kidada E. Williams will partner with the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County to research the Underground Railroad and the local African American community during the mid-19th century.

    The mission of the Arts of Citizenship Program is to build bridges between the University and the community in the arts, humanities and design. For more information, call (734) 615-0609; send e-mail to Scobey,