Announcing the 2022–2023 IAS Research and Creative Collaboratives!



We are delighted to announce the IAS Research and Creative Collaboratives for 2022–2023. 

These self-initiated groups represent some of the most innovative work at the University. Their work—be it the development of a performance piece, the exploration of a concept or research area through different disciplines, or the creation of a supportive intellectual community—exemplifies synergistic interdisciplinary activity, and transcends departmental structures. We are thrilled to support this work!



CHANT is a collaborative of artists and community health equity leaders with a common commitment to creative interdependence that emerges from research and praxis at the nexus of Culture, Healing, Art, Nature, and Technology. CHANT centers equity and justice in an ethics that relates all living beings within an ecology of reciprocity and redistribution. As a catalyst for creative interdependence, CHANT shapes a space for individual and collective wholeness. Our research questions consider the relationships between wholeness and health, presence and connectedness, and the fluid permutations among Culture, Healing, Art, Nature, and Technology that engage art as our primary modality. Within this emerging ecology of practice we share a recognition that we each thrive in the interplay between creative and scholarly research, cultural and technical ways of knowing, and modes of participation and engagement that do not require that we parse ourselves into distinct disciplinary domains or practices. We are committed to a collaboratively led, emergent, creative process to cogenerate experiential modes of art that engage people in each of the three collaborative geographic nodes, Minneapolis Minnesota, Columbus Ohio, and New Orleans Louisiana, as well as a multi-sited collaborative form that embodies our creative cycle of reciprocity and redistribution.


  • Diane Willow, Art, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Calvin Stalvig, Art, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Amy Youngs, Art, Ohio State University
  • Tracy Szatan, Art, Ohio State University
  • Oscar Garza, College of Pharmacy, University of Louisiana Monroe New Orleans Campus
  • Jay Afrisando, School of Music, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities


Collecting Oral Histories of West Central Minnesota

Oral testimony offers one of the most promising methods for documenting idiosyncratic and quotidian stories of the past, especially in places where the understanding of difference can be flattened by rural stereotypes. But almost a half century has passed since the oral history collections in the UMN Morris Archives were augmented. This proposed collaborative seeks to build on previous oral history collections toward new initiatives for recording the history of our region—informed by cutting-edge methods and community collaboration. We will do this in the first year through collective reading and learning, workshops with visiting experts in interviewing and archiving, and planning together for new projects.


  • Emily Bruce, History, Social Science Division, Morris
  • Naomi Skulan, Briggs Library, Morris


Media Archives for the Future

This collaborative builds on its members’ transnational expertise on minor media to devise a conceptual framework for discussing subaltern stories from social margins. Using Saidiya Hartman's concept of critical fabulation, this collaborative imagines new kinds of narrative and archive that authorize modes of production and representation in contemporary digital and community-based media as well as unappreciated film footage from the past. Integrating our disciplinary lenses on media and moving toward a public intellectual framework, we envision a range of events that can consolidate a community of engagement with marginalized media. The collaborative will host screenings, discussions, producer talks, and academic forums on media excluded from national archives in Italy, the UAE, and the US. How might our transnational approach illuminate the meaning of media for marginalized communities and point to a new kind of media archive?


  • Sonali Pahwa, Theatre Arts and Dance, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Maggie Hennefeld, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Lorenzo Fabbri, French and Italian, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Emily Winderman, Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities


Minnesota Critical Futures Collective

Our overarching goal for this grant is to analyze the intersections of Critical Black Studies and Critical Indigenous Studies within the local and temporal contexts of the Twin Cities and the University of Minnesota in 2022-23. Within this analysis, we seek to understand the limitations of settler colonialism and afropessimism as analytic lenses and instead shift toward and embrace the ambiguity generated by the tensions between Black Studies and Native Studies. As emerging scholars entering Critical Black and Indigenous Studies conversations, we wish to build an intellectual home for exploring the tensions and possibilities between these fields. We take up this work as conveners and root it in 'grounded normativity' as Leanne Betasamosake Simpson defines it, where the relationalities and geographies of the Twin Cities are centered in our discussion. With renewed funding, we aim to build a space at the University of Minnesota where people engaged in Black-Indigenous relations and scholarship can find an established intellectual community.

  • Moriah Shumpert, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Isaac Espósto, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • E Ornelas, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Kristen Reynolds, American Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Phoebe Young, American Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities


Project for Advancing Healthcare Stewardship

The Project for Advancing Healthcare Stewardship (PAHS) facilitates public forums about health and healthcare stewardship. It seeks to disseminate the results of those forums through conventional academic publications, alongside our website, newsletter, digital forums, possible podcasting, and an eventual book project. Our project began prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic highlighted and escalated many of the systemic healthcare challenges that we seek to explore and address, including the need for an intentional antiracism focus in our work. Entrenched healthcare problems exacerbated by COVID-19 include cost escalation, insurance frustration, treatment uncertainty, clinician burnout, and patient distrust. Our collaborative facilitates interactive social discourse and story-making to help people process stress and grief related to the pandemic, and to recognize and communicate long-term about the care they want within the constraints of what is available and potentially effective (all while providing tools and resources to help them do so). Our community-driven, human-first focus is unique, engaging individuals first as active participants in the healthcare system, and second through their roles as providers or patients. Our team incorporates perspectives from evidence-based practice, narrative medicine, behavioral health, sustainability, and community engagement.

  • Mary Butler, Health Policy & Management, Public Health, Twin Cities
  • Tai Mendenhall , Family Social Science, College of Education and Human Development, Twin Cities
  • Jeannine Ouellette, Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health, Twin Cities
  • Mary Lagaard, Nursing Practice, St. Catherine University


Shoreham Yards

Canadian Pacific-owned Shoreham Yards is a polluted train, trucking and bulk-distribution site located within the Mississippi watershed of Northeast Minneapolis. Since 2019 artist Gudrun Lock has been in dialogue with the railway, researchers, other artists, residents, and Professor of Anthropology Stuart McLean about turning the buffers of the site into a multi-disciplinary, ecologically focused research laboratory. Lock installed an exhibition about the area, The Nature of Shoreham Yards, at the Weisman Art Museum, January 19–May 15, 2022. Acting as a storytelling tool and aesthetic device, the exhibition re-imagines the buffers as both a human-made, and other-than-human system. Included are bird surveys, a partial tree inventory, and photographs created by collaborative members, as well as pollution documents, found objects, and maps. Collaborative convenings in the gallery bring diverse partners together, using the installation to activate the imagination in support of multi-faceted conversations. Students and faculty from the University of Minnesota and area colleges, as well as artists, activists, and industry people from outside university systems are participating. Discussions focus on developing research questions and partnerships, uncovering community concerns, examining competing revitalization strategies, as well as linking the site to existing efforts in the area focused on habitat corridors in NE Minneapolis.

  • Stuart McLean, Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Gudrun Lock, Minneapolis College of Art and Design


SPARK Inclusive Science Communication

Our collaborative seeks to pilot a training program on Inclusive Science Communication (ISC) for graduate researchers in STEM based fields who identify as Black, Indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC). We will codevelop a training curriculum to deepen the understanding of the principles of science communication through the lens’ of inclusion, equity, and intersectionality while addressing specific aspects of ISC as it relates to racialized identities in STEM. As a collaborative, we are keenly interested in the potential ways our training program may contribute to BIPOC graduate researchers’ ongoing formation as science writers and communicators in their fields, especially around perceived barriers of belonging and ability to communicate research with the communities with whom they feel a sense of cultural belonging. Program participants will have the opportunity to apply their training through submissions to the Graduate School Diversity Office’s SPARK e-zine or through a STEM ecosystem that connects participants with local BIPOC STEM middle school and high school students and their families. We plan to share the results of our training program at the Inclusive Science Communication conference in 2023, and at the Consortium on Graduate Communication Summer Institute.

  • Maija Brown, Graduate School Diversity Office, Twin Cities
  • Danielle Watt, Biomedical Graduate Research, Education, & Training, Medical School, Twin Cities
  • Michael Winikoff, Science Communication Lab, College of Biological Science, Twin Cities
  • Audrey Breland, Office for Equity and Diversity, Twin Cities


Urban Ecological Narratives

This is a collaborative effort that engages The Witness Project, the UMN Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area Long-Term Ecological Research Project (LTER), Yo Mama, and their respective community partnerships. Over two semesters, using the existing structure of the LTER, literary artists will team up with LTER researchers, graduate students, faculty, and postdocs in the sciences, and community partners to co-produce literary narratives focused on or highlighting ecological displacement, migration, sustainability, adaptability, and similar issues within an urban context. Literary artists will support the scientific community’s professional development by providing skills training in storytelling and instruction on “how to think like a writer.” All participants will be exposed to and develop an understanding of other ways of seeing and being. In addition to producing a collection of literary narratives, the collaborative will produce a handbook of guidelines and writing prompts for future interdisciplinary science and community-engaged project narratives. Teams will also develop a set of priorities for taking specific action to connect the work of LTER researchers to the community through stories and will take whatever steps are feasible within the grant’s framework to realize those priorities.

  • Mae Davenport, Forest Resources, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, Twin Cities
  • Nancy Cook, Witness Project
  • Amoke Kubat, Writer/Playwright/Fiber Artist
  • Shanai Matteson, Artist


WEBE Gullah/Geechee: continuing graduate education on ethical collaboration

IAS will continue to support a more than decades-long collaboration between Dr. Kate Derickson and Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. The two co-taught the “WEBE Gullah/Geechee” course when Queen Quet served as the final Winton Chair at the University of Minnesota. This course was described by students as transformative. They found it be of tremendous educational value to not only be in a classroom with, but to be taught by someone who is an expert in their own culture. The evidence of this transformational learning experience was shown in the fact that the story map that was created via the course not only won a best story map award, but has been celebrated by native Gullah/Geechees of historic St. Helena Island where students from the course have been able to go and interact with the community due to IAS support:

  • Kate Derickson, Geography, Environment and Society, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities
  • Queen Quet Marquetta Goodwine, Gullah/Geechee Nation



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