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Emory Initiative for Arts and Humanistic Inquiry awards new grants for creative programming

Four faculty-led arts programs are the first recipients of funding through the Emory Initiative for Arts and Humanistic Inquiry. Launched in fall 2023, the initiative seeks to advance understanding of the human experience and respond to today’s challenges by funding creative programming, recruiting faculty in the arts and humanities and supporting expanded programming at the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.

In October 2023, the Arts and Humanistic Inquiry initiative announced a request for proposals — which continue to be accepted from all Emory faculty on a rolling basis — to fund creative programming. Proposals can include (but are not limited to) workshops, performances, discussions and readings that directly nurture scholarship and build community around the arts and humanities.

Underwritten by the Office of the Provost, the Arts and Humanistic Inquiry initiative recently awarded grants to four programs.

“The Arts and Humanistic Inquiry initiative is an investment that demonstrates Emory’s enduring commitment to the arts and humanities,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “The programs it funds will create new opportunities for our faculty, students and staff to advance our understanding of the world and ourselves through creative expression.

“I’m grateful to Lanny Liebeskind, senior vice provost for academic affairs, as well as the Arts and Humanistic Inquiry faculty advisory committee, our deans and schools for supporting this purposeful exploration of the human experience,” Bellamkonda adds.

The first round of funded programming will focus on Asian performance forms; jazz music and the African American experience; documentaries and ethical storytelling; and film and public arts. Highly interdisciplinary, the programs will connect Emory students, faculty and staff with leading artists and scholars in curricular, extracurricular and public settings.

In addition to grants from the Arts and Humanistic Inquiry initiative, many of the programs have received additional support through sources including the Emory College of Arts and Sciences’ Hightower Speakers Fund and the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.

The newly funded programs are:

Off the Wall @ 725 Ponce

Gregory Zinman, associate professor in the Department of Film and Media

Off the Wall @ 725 Ponce illuminates the Eastside BeltLine Trail by projecting film and video art on the side of an eight-story building, creating the largest movie screen in the Southeast. As part of its slate of programming for the 2024 season, Off the Wall will host guest curators and artists, including Maori Holmes, Sandra Gibson + Luis Recoder and Miranda Kyle, arts and culture program manager for the BeltLine. They will participate in programming at Emory in collaboration with faculty in the Departments of Film and Media Studies at Emory and Oxford College, the Art History Department, Visual Arts and Emory Arts. Programming is scheduled to include screenings along the BeltLine as well as workshops, artist talks and a public lecture. A program of dance films, including experimental shorts and family-friendly classics like “Singin’ in the Rain,” will begin showing in May. 

Asian Arts at Emory

Maho Ishiguro, assistant professor, Department of Music; Harshita Mruthinti Kamath, associate professor, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies; Scott Kugle, professor, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies; and Shiv Subramaniam, assistant professor, Department of Religion

Asian Arts at Emory is a collaborative project intended to enhance the arts at Emory by showcasing diverse Asian performance forms, from theater to music to dance. The interdisciplinary series will bring together several academic departments, undergraduate student groups, undergraduate courses, the Michael C. Carlos Museum and the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. The program is planned to span three semesters through spring 2025, with spring 2024 events to include a Carnatic music concert by renowned vocalist Kiranavali Vidyasankar; a Javanese shadow puppetry performance with the Emory Javanese Gamelan Ensemble on Saturday, April 13, in the Performing Arts Studio; and “Songs For Many Lives,” a Carnatic music concert featuring new compositions of South Asian American diasporic music on Sunday, April 21, in the Performing Arts Studio. 

Emerging Voices Residency

Gary Motley, professor of practice and founding director of jazz studies, Department of Music

Grammy Award-nominated jazz vocalist and recording artist Jazzmeia Horn will be in residence at Emory on Thursday, March 21. Horn, who describes her teaching style as “a cultured perspective that balances jazz’s rich history in the African American experience and the spirituality of its essence,” will present a jazz lecture demo, teach a masterclass and participate in a panel discussion. The interdisciplinary residence seeks to integrate jazz music into new learning methods in conjunction with the Institute for Liberal Arts’ sidecar course, Performance on Demand: How Our Brains and Bodies Learn to Improvise, the Department of Neuroscience and Biology’s Music and the Brain course and various courses in the Department of Music. In collaboration with the Robert W. Woodruff Library and public radio station WABE, Horn will also participate in a panel discussion about jazz music pedagogy and preserving and expanding the genre.

Navigating the Gray Areas: Ethical Dilemmas in Documentary Filmmaking

Laura Asherman, director, Ethics and the Arts, and instructor, Film and Media

This workshop, to be held April 12-13, will bring students and professional filmmakers together to address the ethical challenges in the documentary genre, recognizing its increasing popularity and educational significance. Utilizing comprehensive frameworks by the Markkula Center for Ethics and the Documentary Accountability Working Group, attendees will explore the complexities surrounding portraying marginalized stories, the imperative of documentary participant care and the ethical considerations of integrating AI in nonfiction media. Four documentarians — Daresha Kyi, Bo McGuire, Andy Sarjahani and Matthew Hashuguschi — will each present case studies on ethical dilemmas they encountered while creating their recent films. In small breakout sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to share their challenges in their work and brainstorm solutions with their peers. Additionally, Ethics and the Arts will host a documentary screening series in which established filmmakers visit Emory to show their work and critique works-in-progress by Emory and Spelman College student filmmakers.

Submit a proposal

Proposals for Arts and Humanistic Inquiry creative program grants are accepted on a rolling basis, and all full-time Emory faculty may request support for programs focused on the arts and humanities.  

Information about proposal submission, evaluation and a link to the request for funding is available through the request for proposals page.

Questions can be emailed to Senior Vice Provost Lanny S. Liebeskind.

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