The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) seeks to ignite creative, innovative, and profound research and discovery in the sciences, humanities, and the arts. The Institute for Advanced Study is a site, a concept, and a community dedicated to public and intellectual exchanges across the fields of human endeavor.
The IAS core programs include public events, our Thursdays at Four series, semester and year long residential fellowships for faculty and graduate students, year-long research and creative collaboratives, and symposia.
IAS residential fellows comprise faculty, graduate students, and outside scholars who spend a semester or year in residence at the IAS. Together they constitute a supportive interdisciplinary intellectual community in which fellows work intensively on their own research and creative projects and meet regularly to discuss their work and exchange ideas.
Each year the IAS supports about twelve Research and Creative Collaboratives. These are self-organized groups engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary projects. Collaboratives are chosen in an annual competition. The conveners submit a short proposal and budget which are reviewed by an IAS Advisory Board committee; the IAS director makes the final award based on its recommendations. Annual RCC award amounts are generally between $5,000 and $12,000, and include programming and administrative support. Collaborative conveners are responsible for designing and leading the collaborative’s activities—which can involve speakers, workshops, reading groups, or rehearsals for original music, dance, or theater productions. Some groups form to pursue common research interests; others form with a particular object or product in mind, such as developing a cross-disciplinary curriculum or creating a performance that arises out of active collaborative dialogue between scientists and dancers. The expectation is that participants will pursue intellectual and creative activity that bridges disciplines and communities. Faculty report that they have used IAS collaboratives to recruit graduate students. Some of the collaboratives completed the tasks they set out to do; others found other funding. And some discovered that there was not in fact enough faculty energy to continue with the initial project.
In the Thursdays at Four series we feature an eclectic mix of scholars, artists, and practitioners from diverse disciplines who present in a variety of forms, including lecture, discussion, and performance.
The IAS organizes a University Symposium. The Symposium allows the University community to convene around the critical questions facing our community, state, nation, and world. The IAS is uniquely positioned to take on critical questions and bring together the many people across the University who are engaged in related work.
The IAS Advisory Board resolved in fall 2015 to reframe the University Symposium to be a series of interventions and discussions in current critical questions. Prior to this, for the IAS’s first decade the Symposia were one- or two-year examinations of a theme which was designed to catalyze conversations and advance innovative research and creative activity across the University of Minnesota. Topics included Strategy (2014-15), Site & Incitement (2012-14), Abundance & Scarcity (2010-12), Body & Knowing. (2008-10), Time (2006-08), and The Politics of Populations (2005-06). Symposium activities included brown-bag lunch discussions, faculty seminars, organization of curricula on the topic of the Symposium, and funding for research related to the Symposium. Faculty who met for the first time at a Symposium roundtable often discovered common interests that lead to collaborative research in innovative new directions.
In addition to the presentations and performances connected with Thursdays at Four, Research and Creative Collaboratives, and the University Symposium, the IAS occasionally organizes events such as the screening of the film Devising Gilgamesh, which documented the creative process of the IAS collaborative Embodying Gilgamesh, or the presentation by University of Minnesota Press author David Krueger on his new book Myths of the Rune Stone.