4. How Can the Arts Encourage Rich Dialogue and Problem Solving?

The arts can provide a platform for students to engage in difficult conversations around political and moral issues.

Provoking Thought, Discussion and Research – an example from California State University, Long Beach

Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted: Censorship and the Response to It (The B-Word Project) was an 18-month campus-wide initiative, running from September 2011 through December 2012, at California State University, Long Beach. It presented performances and other activities to stimulate wide-ranging discussions that examine what happens when a voice—whether in artistic endeavors, journalism, scientific research or other areas—is stifled through governmental, commercial, or social restraints. The goal of the project is to provoke thought, discussion and research into the effects of censorship across all disciplines at Cal State Long Beach.

Learn more about the The B-Word Project ›

Tapping Into Community Needs – Class Divide, an example from Dartmouth University

Class Divide

Dartmouth University’s Hopkins Center’s three-year Class Divide project was conceived as a cross-campus / community programming initiative intended to raise awareness and spark discussion about socio-economic difference in communities throughout the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. Through a series of events, performances and residencies, the Hop aimed to both heighten their campus and community visibility, and to deepen their role in the higher education community at Dartmouth College. The Class Divide project began one-year prior to receipt of two-years of funding from the Creative Campus Innovations grant program.

Margaret Lawrence, Director of Programming, director Peter Sellars, faculty and students reflect on the Class Divide program:

Margaret Lawrence, Director of Programming, director Peter Sellars, faculty and students reflect on the Class Divide program.

Class discussion and analysis of educational impact:

Class discussion and analysis of educational impact.

Learn more about the program at Dartmouth College ›

Reviewing Three Interdisciplinary Approaches

In the 2010 evaluation report of the Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, Alan Brown, Laura Mandeles and Jennifer Novak-Leonard indicate that the Creative Campus grants succeeded in stimulating the development of new models for arts-based interdisciplinary exchange initiated by campus-based presenters. While some of the models studied build on conventional practice (e.g. artist residencies), they are distinguished by their interdisciplinary nature and by the approaches used to conceive them. They observed three primary approaches:

  • Artist Focus
  • Thematic/Topical Focus
  • Stakeholder or Partner Focus

Read the summary of findings ›