a2ru National Conference: Arts in the Public Sphere: Civility, Advocacy & Engagement

Artist Talk, Conference, Conversation, Symposium

a2ru National Conference: Arts in the Public Sphere: Civility, Advocacy & Engagement

Thu, Nov 02, 2017-Sat, Nov 04, 2017 All day event Curry Ballroom
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Artist Talk, Conference, Conversation, Symposium Thu, Nov 02, 2017-Sat, Nov 04, 2017
All day event Curry Ballroom

Northeastern University College of Arts, Media and Design will host Arts in the Public Sphere: Civility, Advocacy and Engagement, the annual conference of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) in Boston, MA, November 2-4, 2017.

The Alliance for Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) is a member organization that maps arts-integrative learning, contextually examines arts research developments, explores the value-added results of campus collaborations, and connects multiple stakeholders, to advance a more complete national agenda linking the arts and other disciplines in higher education. 

With over 100 presenters, this conference will feature lectures, workshops and case studies over three days. Conference co-hosts are Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and SMFA at Tufts. 

A selection of the presenters include:
Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America
Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston
Robert Blackson, Curator & Director of Temple Contemporary, Tyler School of Art 
Ryan Dennis, Public Art Director, Project Row Houses
Bree Edwards, Director, Northeastern Center for the Arts
Ty Furman, Managing Director, BU Arts Initiative, Boston University
David C. Howse, Executive Director, ArtsEmerson
Elizabeth Hudson, Dean, College of Arts, Media, and Design, Northeastern University
Shannon Jackson, Associate Vice Chancellor, Arts and Design, UC, Berkeley
Maria Rosario Jackson, Senior Advisor, Arts & Culture Program, The Kresge Foundation
Sarah Kanouse, Artist & Professor, Northeastern University 
Leila Kinney, Executive Director, Arts Initiatives, Center for Art Science & Technology, MIT
Rick Lowe, Founder, Project Row Houses, University of Houston
Margaret Medlyn, ONZM, Head of Classical Voice – Victoria University, Wellington
James Moeser, Chancellor Emeritus, Professor, Acting Director, Institute for Arts and Humanities
 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jason Schupbach, Director, The Design School, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, ASU
Steven Tepper, Dean, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, ASU
Sixto Wagan, Director, Arts and Social Engagement, University of Houston
E. San San Wong, Director, Arts and Creativity, Barr Foundation

Download the full conference schedule. 

Featured keynotes, panels, and conversations with:


Curry Ballroom

360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

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Jamie Bennett

Executive Director, ArtPlace America

Jamie Bennett has been the Executive Director of ArtPlace America since January 2014. Previously, Jamie served as Chief of Staff at the National Endowment for the Arts and Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.  He has also provided strategic counsel at the Agnes Gund Foundation; served as chief of staff to the President of Columbia University; and worked in fundraising at The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Philharmonic, and Columbia College.  His past nonprofit affiliations have included the Board of Directors of Art21 and the HERE Arts Center; the Foot-in-the-Door Committee of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation; and Studio in a School’s Associates Committee.  Jamie received his B.A. from Columbia College in New York City.

Kent Devereaux

President & CEO, New Hampshire Institute of Art

Kent Devereaux is the President of the New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA), a private, nonprofit, college of arts and design located in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Before assuming the presidency of NHIA, Kent served as Professor and Chair of the Music Department at Cornish College of the Arts. Prior academic affiliations include appointments as a Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), as the Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor in Criticism at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and as a Fulbright Fellow at the national arts academy in Surakarta, Java, Indonesia.

In addition to his experience in arts education, Kent spent over a decade working in the technology and online education industries including stints as Senior Vice President of Editorial and Product Development at Encyclopaedia Britannica in the 1990s and as Senior Vice President at Kaplan University from 2001 to 2008.

As a composer and director, Kent’s own work includes collaborations with artists from around the world and performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and elsewhere.

He received a BFA in Music Composition at Cornish (1982) and an MFA in Art & Technology at SAIC (1985).

Bree Edwards

Director, Northeastern Center for the Arts

Bree Edwards is director of the Northeastern Center for the Arts, in Boston, MA. Her career in the curation, production and administration of contemporary art has included positions at the Asheville Art Museum (NC) and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston (TX). From 2003-2004, she was Curatorial Fellow at DeAppel Centre for Contemporary Art, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She is a Susan Vogt Fellow with the Boston Consortium and a member of the Northeastern Public Art Initiative.

Bree holds a B.A. from Goddard College (VT) and is a graduate of Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies (NY) with an M.A. in Curatorial Studies of Contemporary Art. She previously served on advisory boards of the Aurora Picture Show, Western Carolina Media Arts Alliance, the Public Art Committee of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and Blaffer Art Museum. She also served on numerous grant and award panels for organizations including Houston Cinema Arts and the Houston Arts Alliance’s Civic Art + Design committee.

Peter Galison

Joseph Pellegrino, University Professor and Director, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University

Peter Galison’s work explores the complex interaction between the three principal subcultures of physics–experimentation, instrumentation, and theory.

In 1997, Galison was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; he won a 1998 Pfizer Award (for Image and Logic); and in 1999, he received the Max Planck and Humboldt Stiftung Prize. His books include How Experiments End (1987), Image and Logic (1997), Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps (2003), and Objectivity (with L. Daston, 2007).  With collaborators he has organized a series of books about the cross-currents between science and other domains including, Big Science (with Bruce Hevly); The Disunity of Science (with David Stump); The Architecture of Science (with Emily Thompson); Picturing Science, Producing Art (with Caroline A. Jones); Scientific Authorship (with Mario Biagioli) and Einstein for the 21st Century (with Gerald Holton and Sylvan Schweber).

His film on the moral-political debates over the H-bomb, “Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma” (2000, with Pamela Hogan) has been shown frequently on the History Channel and is widely used in courses. With Robb Moss, he directed “Secrecy” (2008) which premiered at Sundance, and, also with Moss, recently completed “Containment” (2015, premiered at Full Frame Film Festival), about the need to guard radioactive materials for the 10,000-year future. Galison collaborated with South African artist William Kentridge on a multi-screen installation, “The Refusal of Time” (2012) and the chamber opera, “Refuse the Hour.”

He is now finishing a book, “Building Crashing Thinking” about the back and forth between the self and modern technologies.  In 2016, he established the Black Hole Initiative with colleagues in Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, and Observational Astrophysics—and is now working on a film about knowledge, philosophy, and these strangest of all objects.

Kevin Hamilton

Senior Associate Dean, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Working in collaborative and cross-disciplinary modes, Kevin produces artworks, archives, and scholarship on such subjects as race and space, public memory, history of technology, and state violence. Recognition for his work has included grants from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities, presentation at conferences across Europe and North America (ISEA/ DEAF/CAA/NCA/ACM-SIGCHI), publication in edited journals and anthologies (Routledge/CCCS/Palm Press/UCLA), and invited residencies (Banff/USC-IML/Bratislava).

As an educator, administrator, and researcher, Kevin is focused on integration of practice-based, historical and theoretical approaches to learning about technological mediation. This work has included the development of several interdisciplinary project-based courses, workshops, and initiatives for students and faculty from the sciences, arts and humanities, with emphases on prototyping, reflection, and methodologies of collaboration.

Elizabeth Hudson

Dean of the College of Arts, Media, and Design, Northeastern University

Elizabeth joined Northeastern University as Dean of the College of Arts, Media, and Design and Professor of Music in July 2015. A leader and an accomplished scholar, Elizabeth came to Northeastern from the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, where she was a professor of musicology.

Elizabeth was the inaugural director of the New Zealand School of Music from 2006 to 2013, overseeing a number of successful initiatives to advance the school’s academic and research programs and international profile.  She crafted a vision for the school, providing rigorous musical and academic leadership across disciplines, fostering new modes of interaction between music and other disciplines, and recruiting outstanding faculty from across the globe.

During her seven-year tenure as director, Elizabeth’s accomplishments included overhauling the curriculum to enhance professional training, improving the research-teaching nexus, and increasing cross-disciplinary collaboration.  She facilitated the creation of a joint PhD program between music and Engineering, and her leadership established the preeminence of the NZSM’s research faculty in the 2012 national research quality evaluation. On the operational side, she successfully managed the merger of two very different music institutions—Massey’s Conservatorium of Music and Victoria’s School of Music—while also implementing sound financial management and creating a new leadership structure within the school.

Prior to her tenure at the New Zealand School of Music, Elizabeth held both faculty and administrative leadership positions at the University of Virginia, where she worked to forge relationships across a range of disciplines from media studies and women’s studies to engineering.  As director of undergraduate programs in the McIntire Department of Music, she administered an innovative bachelor’s program that received national acclaim. As director of graduate programs, she led a Ph.D. in music that created a novel and inclusive approach to graduate training, reshaping disciplinary boundaries.  As chair of the department, she recruited outstanding faculty, increased the department’s visibility and fundraising profile, and built upon the distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs at UVA.

Throughout Elizabeth’s academic career, she has received numerous grants and fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lilly Teaching Fellowship, the University of Virginia Sesquicentennial Associate for the Centre for Advanced Studies, and the Thomas Jefferson Visiting Fellowship at Downing College, Cambridge University.

Elizabeth was founding Assistant Editor and later Associate Editor of the Cambridge Opera Journal, and is currently a member of the executive board of the American Institute of Verdi Studies and an editorial board member of Verdi Forum.  Her critical edition of Verdi’s Il corsaro (published by The University of Chicago Press) has received performances around the world, including at Covent Garden, Trieste, Parma, and Barcelona, and is widely available in a DVD video recording.  She has published in leading academic journals and presses on the operas of Verdi, Donizetti, and Puccini.  Her current work blends approaches from the fields of musicology, Italian Risorgimento history, trauma studies and recent work in the neuroscience of music and emotion to propose a new understanding of Verdi’s middle period operas.

Elizabeth studied piano at the Manhattan School of Music and in Vienna, and later received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College and her master’s degree and Ph.D., both in musicology, from Cornell University.  She was awarded an AMS 50 Fellowship for her dissertation on Verdi.

Jeremy Liu

Senior Fellow for Arts, Culture and Equitable Development, PolicyLink

Jeremy Liu, Senior Fellow for Arts, Culture and Equitable Development, is an award-winning artist, urban planner, and real estate developer who has completed complex public-private projects as the former executive director of two community development corporations. He co-founded Creative Ecology Partners, a design and innovation lab for community development, and Creative Development Partners, a “Community Benefits by Design” real estate company. He also co-founded the National Bitter Melon Council which promotes the literal and poetic potential of Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia). For PolicyLink, he is guiding an initiative to integrate arts and culture into the work of community development to accelerate equity. He is a board member of The Center for Neighborhood Technology, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Interaction Institute for Social Change.

Rick Lowe

MacArthur Fellow, Founder, Project Row Houses, University of Houston Faculty

Rick Lowe is an artist whose unconventional approach to community revitalization has transformed a long-neglected neighborhood in Houston into a visionary public art project that continues to evolve, two decades since its inception. Originally trained as a painter, Lowe shifted the focus of his artistic practice in the early 1990s in order to address more directly the pressing social, economic, and cultural needs of his community. With a group of fellow artists, he organized the purchase and restoration of a block and a half of derelict properties—twenty-two shotgun houses from the 1930s—in Houston’s predominantly African American Third Ward and turned them into Project Row Houses (PRH), an unusual amalgam of arts venue and community support center.

Since its founding in 1993, PRH has served as a vital anchor for what had been a fast-eroding neighborhood, providing arts education programs for youth, exhibition spaces and studio residencies for emerging and established artists, a residential mentorship program for young mothers, an organic gardening program, and an incubator for historically appropriate designs for low-income housing on land surrounding the original row houses. While inviting constant collaboration with local residents, artists, church groups, architects, and urban planners, Lowe continues to provide the guiding vision for PRH as he pursues his overarching goal of animating the assets of a place and the creativity of its people. He is not only bringing visibility and pride to the Third Ward by celebrating the beauty of its iconic shotgun houses; he is also changing the lives of many PRH program graduates and expanding the PRH campus to cover a six-block area in an effort to preserve the historic district’s character in the face of encroaching gentrification.

Lowe has initiated similarly arts-driven redevelopment projects in other cities, including the Watts House Project in Los Angeles, a post-Katrina rebuilding effort in New Orleans, and, most recently, a vibrant community market in a densely populated, immigrant neighborhood in North Dallas. Lowe’s pioneering “social sculptures” have inspired a generation of artists to explore more socially engaged forms of art-making in communities across the country.

Rick Lowe attended Columbus College and studied visual arts at Texas Southern University in Houston. He is currently the artist-in-residence at the Nasher Sculpture Center and a Mel King Community Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his work has been exhibited at such national and international venues as Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum and Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, and the Venice Architecture Biennale. His other community building projects have included the Arts Plan for the Seattle Public Library, the Borough Project for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Delray Beach Cultural Loop in Florida, among others.

Maria Rosario Jackson

Senior Advisor to the Arts and Culture Program, The Kresge Foundation; Institute Professor, Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Maria Rosario Jackson is senior advisor to the Arts and Culture Program at The Kresge Foundation and adjunct faculty at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif.

In 2013, President Obama appointed Maria to the National Council on the Arts. She serves on the advisory board of the Lambent Foundation and on boards of directors of the National Performance Network and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

At Kresge, Maria is an independent consultant. She began working with the Arts and Culture Program team in 2012 as it developed a creative placemaking strategy.

She was previously on the boards of Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Cultural Alliance for Greater Washington and Fund for Folk Culture. She also has served on research and project advisory bodies on measuring arts participation, museums in communities, arts institutions and shifting demographics, arts and health outcomes and economic and social impacts of the arts.

Maria is the former director of the Culture, Creativity and Communities Program at the Urban Institute, where she was based for 18 years. There, she led research on arts and culture indicators, measuring cultural vitality, arts and culture in comprehensive community revitalization, development of art spaces, and support systems for artists. Additionally, she participated in projects about public housing, public education, public safety and parks.

Her work appears in a wide range of professional and academic publications and she has been a speaker at numerous national and international conferences. Maria earned a doctorate in urban planning from UCLA and a master’s degree in public administration from University of Southern California.

Jason Schupbach

Director of the Design School, Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Jason Schupbach became director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts in May 2010.  In this position, he manages the NEA’s grantmaking for design and the NEA’s design initiatives, such as the Mayors’ Institute on City Design as well Our Town, which provides funding in recognition of the role that the arts can play in economic revitalization and in creating livable, sustainable communities.

Prior to coming to the NEA, Schupbach held the first-in-the-nation position of creative economy industry director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development where his accomplishments included coordinating the growth of new industry cluster groups, such as the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts (DIGMA), and launching a Design Excellence initiative, an effort to improve procurement processes in Massachusetts in order to build more sustainable and longer-lasting buildings and communities, and increase the number of designers being offered contracts.

From 2004 to 2008, Schupbach was director of ArtistLink, where among other duties he managed a statewide artist space development technical assistance initiative that resulted in the creation of more than 60 projects in 20 communities for a total of 350 units of live/work spaces and more than 500,000 square feet of artist space. In addition, he managed the first ever artist housing predevelopment grant program, giving out $50,000 in awards.

Schupbach’s experience also includes serving as National Artist Space Initiative Consultant for Leveraging Investments in Creativity from 2003 to 2007, where he was the key editor for two reports from the Urban Institute on developing artist space. From 2003 to 2004, Schupbach worked as capital projects manager and staff urban planner/designer for New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. In this position, his accomplishments included managing more than $100 million in capital projects for cultural institutions in coordination with other New York City agencies and assisting in the development of guidelines to involve artists in streetscape design and planning processes in New York City.

Schupbach received his BS in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his master’s degree in city planning with an urban design certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Steven Tepper

Dean, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University

Steven J. Tepper is the dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, the nations largest, comprehensive design and arts school at a research university. Tepper is a leading writer and speaker on U.S. cultural policy and his work has fostered national discussions around topics of cultural engagement, creative work and careers, art and democracy, and the transformative possibilities of a 21st century creative campus. He is the author of Not Here, Not Now, Not That! Protest Over Art and Culture in America (University of Chicago, 2011) and co-editor and contributing author of the book Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation of Americas Cultural Life (Routledge 2007).  Prior to ASU, Tepper was on the faculty at Vanderbilt University where he was a chief architect of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, a national think tank for cultural policy and creativity. Tepper holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and a PhD in sociology from Princeton University.

E. San San Wong

Director of Arts and Creativity, Barr Foundation

E. San San Wong directs Barr’s Arts & Creativity portfolio. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the City of Boston’s cultural planning process and on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts, a national leadership and service organization that supports the growth of arts and culture.

Prior to joining Barr in 2012, San San served as director of grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission, executive director of the National Performance Network, director of development and special initiatives at Theatre Artaud, and as a performing arts producer and presenter. As an international arts consultant, her clients included the Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Res Artis, among many others.

San San earned a master’s degree in community psychology from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Smith College. Her life feels incomplete if she averages fewer than five cultural events a week.