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The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities

Overview - 2007 Summer Institute

New Directions in Cultural Research: Community Collaboration Practice

Sixth Annual Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities
An Intensive Introduction to Scholarly Research for Undergraduates

June 18th - August 17th, 2007

Overview | Faculty | Students | Schedule | Symposium


How can culture and creativity contribute to progressive social change?  How is globalization reshaping what we understand by ‘culture’ and ‘the arts’?  And how might undergraduate students at UW collaborate with community groups to engage with real world cultural issues?  The 2007 Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities offers an opportunity to explore these and other questions about arts, culture, and activism together with a dynamic group of UW faculty. 

The Summer Institute will provide students with the methodological, theoretical, and ethical skills needed to undertake cultural investigations at sites of their own selection. Students will develop their own independent projects in collaboration with community-based organizations and/or actors (and with each other).  Research may take form in various media—a public performance or an art installation, an academic paper or an organizational report.  For example, student projects could involve working with north Indian students to produce a collaborative book on youth cultures; shooting a short film in conjunction with a local agency serving immigrant groups; or developing a more progressive sex ed curricula for teenage girls together with a girls advocacy organization. Possible community site partners for the 2007 Institute may include but are not limited to 911 Media Arts, producers of community television programming through SCAN-TV, Reel Grrls, and/or Children’s Youth Theatre.

Program Background

Where the academic humanities have traditionally focused on textual and archival researches, new social and technological developments have recently pushed the humanities to new engagements with everything from new media to new community partnerships.  Research and teaching agendas in the humanities are consequently adapting to develop collaborative and community-based orientations.  These new orientations have on the one-hand led the humanities into productive exchange with the qualitative social sciences (which have deeper and longer histories of practical, community engagement and development) and the arts (which focus on creative production and have become increasing central to discussions of community development.)  These engagements in turn have illuminated the strength of community-based arts and culture projects as a site for humanistic research, but also highlighted arts and culture as methods that can renew community-based research within the social sciences.

Participating faculty for the 2007 Summer Institute are members of an ongoing University of Washington initiative developing arts and cultural pathways for community-based research and teaching, the Cultural Studies Praxis Collective (CSPC). A multi-year collaboration of faculty and academic staff sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, CSPC members are researching how the best critical traditions of cultural studies and public humanities scholarship can be used to generate creative and collaborative practices across communities in the Puget Sound region. 

All three prospective SIAH faculty members are currently authoring or co-authoring articles that explore this question through the lens of their own research, teaching, and community engagements: Craig Jeffery in relation to youth theater and critical pedagogy, Ron Krabill in relation to community-based learning and local media production, and Kari Lerum in relation to visual documentation practices in field research.  These faculty members are also contributing to the intersecting development of the Masters of Arts in Cultural Studies at UW Bothell and the Institute in the Public Humanities for Doctoral Students at UW Seattle.