Research and Resources

Insights, Perspectives, Experiences, and Tools

Collaboration Leadership Workshop Recap - academic leaders come together to both learn about and practice interdisciplinary collaboration
What Is Arts Research? - Seven facets of arts and design-driven research (v.1)
Leadership Workshop: Foresight and Collaboration - from magic gardens to convivial pursuit
Exploring the Impacts of the Arts & Design - slides from a2ru Executive Think Tank at the National Academies of Sciences
Interdisciplinary Collaboration Research Brief - Patterns and Practices for Positive Leadership
Tenure and Promotion Research Brief - from the implicit to the explicit
Impacts of the Arts and Design - teaching, research, and society (v.1)
What Is Research? - From the maker traditions to new knowledge practices (v.1)
Preliminary Data: What is Research, Arts Research & Arts Integration? - slides from 2017 a2ru National Conference, Boston
Research Synthesis Workshop - insights and next-steps
SURVEYING THE LANDSCAPE: a report on Arts Integration at Research Universities - an initial investigation of present practices in arts integration at research universities

The purpose of a2ru’s research is to clarify, define, and highlight how the arts (including fine and performing arts and design) impact knowledge production and teaching in research universities for systematic public benefit. These means that we articulate, clarify, and prioritize key research questions, assemble evidence, apply dedicated and rigorous methods, synthesize insights from across nascent domains and practices, and organize participatory experiences as opportunities to engage with the results. 


a2ru’s research methodology is primarily influenced by frameworks from the social sciences and methods from data science and participatory design. Insights and practices are drawn from many different and complementary disciplines, including the arts and design. a2ru's research aims to make experimentation and invention in the arts explicit, codified, and replicable for extension and use by others.


Outcomes include:

  • Patterns and Practices for Unifying the Arts with Teaching and Research
  • Definition and Clarity Around Research, Development, and Knowledge Production in the Arts
  • Identifying and Summarizing the Benefits of Arts-Driven Teaching and Research
  • New Models for Describing and Characterizing Arts-Integrative Research Outcomes
  • Documentation and Comparisons of Arts-Integrative Projects and Activities
  • Synthesis of Emerging Fields and Domain Activities to Reveal New Forms of Cultural Production
  • Tools and Resources for Activating Projects, Programs, and Collaborative Teamwork
  • New Methods for Managing, Analyzing, and Categorizing Open-Ended Interview Responses in the Social Sciences

a2ru’s research efforts first began as an outcome of a 2011 “Michigan Meeting”. Its purpose, “The Role of Art-Making and the Arts in the Research University,” was to recognize and advance research university support for art-making and the arts. 150 presidents, provosts, deans, directors, and other faculty and administrative leaders from 41 Research 1 universities across the United States attended. Research, advocacy, curricular, and co-curricular task-forces then synthesized key questions, setting the stage for a2ru's research future.



In 2012, a2ru received a round of seed funding for its research from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aimed at supporting the creation of the first comprehensive guide to best practices in the integration of the arts in U.S. research universities. The resulting collection of interviews surveys faculty, students, and administrators and explores definition, models, obstacles, implementation strategies, costs, and impacts of arts-integrative practices on research and teaching in higher education.

In 2015, additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation launched the SPARC Project: Supporting Practice in Arts, Research and Curricula, a three-year initiative that will allow a2ru to cross-pollinate and disseminate research insights across its network.

Gabriel Harp, Research Director
Veronica Dittman Stanich, Research Associate
Mengdan Yuan, Research Assistant
Jack Bowman, Research Assistant
Past Team Members, role (present position)
Edgar Cardenas, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Lu Zhang, Research Assistant (Grad Student, Columbia University, Dept. of Statistics)
Jonatan Contreras, UMSI Research Intern (Grad Student, University of Texas at El Paso, College of Business Administration)
Jaylyn Pruitt, UMSI Research Intern (Grad Student, University of South Florida, School of Information Science)
Noshin Kahn, ArtsEngine Research Assistant
Jazmyn Rivera, ArtsEngine Research Assistant
Max Hully, Research Assistant (Grad Student, University of Massachusetts, Department of Mathematics and Statistics)
Gunnar Moll, Research Assistant (Morningstar Development Program, Chicago)
Bella Nuce, UROP Research Assistant
Brooke White, UROP Research Assistant (Writer, Writing Workshops in Greece)