Blog Archives

Partnerships are Key to Successful Collaboration

In some respects, the Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program could be viewed as a study in partnerships: partnerships with artists, partnerships with faculty and academic departments, partnerships with student organizations, and partnerships with community organizations. Strong partnerships yielded strong and sustainable outcomes. Thus, grantees with strong process design and project management approaches (e.g., active task forces and committee structures) tended to outperform those with weaker approaches in terms of the grant program’s goals. The capacity to assess progress, reflect critically and diagnose problems was also associated with stronger outcomes.


Pairing Visiting Artists with Non-Arts Faculty – three examples from Wesleyan, Cal State and Montclair State

This strategy builds relationships and pedagogical practices that extend across disciplinary lines. At Wesleyan, co-taught courses coupled a dancer/choreographer with an environmental scientist who developed a curriculum that engaged students in the subject of climate change through scientific and artistic lenses. While engaging faculty artists proved to be relatively straightforward, engaging non-arts faculty proved more difficult. At some campuses, non-arts faculty could not be engaged in the project – not because of political or philosophical problems – but because of the advance planning requirements associated with modifying curriculum.

Partnerships at Wesleyan:

When the sequencing of the human genome was announced to the public, choreographer Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange was one of many who asked what this would mean for the future. To help answer these questions, she developed Ferocious Beauty: Genome, a multimedia piece that explores the current historic moment of revelation and questioning in genetic research. The subject is represented through a plurality of viewpoints, mirroring a dialogue among multiple voices — artistic, scientific, and scholarly — in all their varied perspectives.

Wesleyan Science Choreography

She began collaborating with scientists across the country who investigate genes and their function. Wesleyan University began to work with Lerman in science classrooms using various movement-based tools developed by the Dance Exchange both to teach science and to encourage our students to think creatively about science – an exploration that has been met with great success.

Pam Tatge continues to describe various effective collaborations/pairings of environmental scientists, choreographers and others during the 18 month project:

Pam Tatge continues to describe various effective collaborations/pairings of environmental scientists, choreographers and others during the 18 month project.

Read more about Wesleyan’s Science Choreography ›

Read more about this and other successful program strategies ›

Introduction of co-taught visiting artist series at California State University, Long Beach:

Introduction of co-taught visiting artist series at California State University, Long Beach.

Browse the list of partners at Long Beach ›

Voices of campus partners at Montclair State University:

Wayne McGregor, choreographer, Random Dance Workshop:

Wayne McGregor, choreographer, Random Dance Workshop.

Robert Whitman, playwright, Passport Workshop:

Robert Whitman, playwright, Passport Workshop.

Robert Wilson, director, with Wayne McGregor:

Robert Wilson, director, with Wayne McGregor.

Scott DeLahunta, R-Research Director, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance discussing the “task” of the work:

Scott DeLahunta, R-Research Director, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance discussing the “task” of the work.

Elizabeth Streb, choreographer:

Elizabeth Streb, choreographer.

Michael Gordon, composer:

Michael Gordon, composer.

Read the full description of all Montclair State University artist partnerships ›

Get an overview of the artistic partnerships in the project’s final report ›


Adding Community Engagement Programs

Several projects were conceived out of a desire to serve a specific population or stakeholder group, or a desire to work with a specific academic department. In most cases, this approach was amalgamated using an artist focus.

Read more about programmatic components ›

California State University, Long Beach, created a community engagement project called PROject/proJECT with videos done by high school students as part of a partnership with the YMCA Youth Institute.

What It’s Like by Barrier Breakers:

What It’s Like by Barrier Breakers.

What They Don’t Want Us to Know by Censor This:

What They Don’t Want Us to Know by Censor This.

See Hear Speak by Liberation Transmission:

See Hear Speak by Liberation Transmission.

Power of Words by Vyrus:

Power of Words by Vyrus.

Silence by Taboo:

Silence by Taboo.

Learn more about the PROject/proJECT ›

Wesleyan’s Feet to the Fire Program

Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art. This program is dedicated to the proposition that a multidisciplinary examination that includes art will provide a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of these global issues.

Co-taught after school programs (at off-campus middle school):

Co-taught after school programs (at off-campus middle school).

Each year, Feet to the Fire presents programming that provides opportunities to engage with the arts and the environment simultaneously. Events and exhibitions often take the form of one-time performances by visiting artists, festivals, or gallery exhibitions. It is an occasion for the CFA to present artists whose work connects with the annual Feet to the Fire theme. It also allows for the campus and surrounding community at-large to engage with the work of the artist and environmental topics.

Read more about the Center for the Arts’ community events ›

Music and Public Life: A Year-Long Campus and Community-Wide Exploration

Today, the private and public worlds of music often overlap and intersect in virtual networks, community musicking, and public policy. During the 2012–2013 academic year, Wesleyan University is celebrating and studying the sounds, words, and spirit of music in public at the local, national, and transnational levels through concerts, workshops, gatherings, and courses, all designed to cross disciplines and engage the campus and Greater Middletown communities.

Learn more about the Music and Public Life project ›


Lessons Learned: Montclair State University

The primary partnership with the Research Academy for University Learning (RAUL) was extremely important in terms of curricular and pedagogical expertise and for shepherding development of the structure of the course during the development process.

  • Having a high-level partner in a Vice Provost and Director of RAUL helped gain the attention and support of upper-level administration, increasing the prestige of the project and raising awareness across campus.
  •  High-level administrative support is essential, especially when a project involves navigating curricular procedures and allocating faculty teaching time. Support by the Provost’s Office in particular not only helped to expedite the administrative steps but also reinforced the validity of the project to the campus community

Explore the complete list of lessons learned at Montclair State University ›


Lessons Learned: Wesleyan University

Summary report on Creative Campus website highlighting project administration, pedagogical models and artist integration into teaching.

Summary report on Creative Campus website highlighting project administration, pedagogical models and artist integration into teaching.

Wesleyan Creative Campus Initiative overview:
Wesleyan Creative Campus Initiative Overview

Read the lessons learned at Wesleyan ›


Resource Materials: Wesleyan University

Wesleyan’s resources cover co-taught courses, for course modules, commissioned works, the eco-arts festival, the first-year common experience program and evaluation and documentation materials.

Wesleyan Common Moment 2012:
Wesleyan Common Moment 2012

Browse the Wesleyan resource materials ›


The Skunk Works approach – Using Art to Pioneer an Innovative Campus-wide Course on Creativity

Forming a cross-functional, interdisciplinary group within an organization characterized by a high degree of autonomy

The Creative Learning project at Montclair State University strives to integrate the creative approaches of Peak Performances artists into the intellectual and cultural environment of the campus, in order to foster students’ understanding of an confidence in their creative abilities in the their academic and personal lives.

 Learn more about the Creative Learning project at Montclair