Arts of Citizenship was founded in 1998 to promote sustainable campus-community collaborations in the arts and culture sector between U-M faculty and students and community partners. A program of Rackham Graduate School since 2010, Arts of Citizenship promotes publicly-engaged scholarship and trains a new generation of scholars who are as comfortable working in the community as they are teaching in college classrooms, equipped with the skills needed to succeed both within and beyond the academy. Public scholarship extends humanistic research and pedagogy into spaces beyond the university as a means of co-creating new knowledge and sharing ideas that enrich higher education and the broader community.

Arts of Citizenship has played an important role in building the university’s capacity in public scholarship by supporting collaborations between U-M faculty and students, community organizations, arts groups, K-12 educational institutions, theater groups, museums and media institutions. The results have been projects ranging from public exhibits with the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County to productions with the Matrix and Mosaic Theaters in Detroit. In the process, Arts of Citizenship has helped make the University of Michigan a national leader in public scholarship.

In 2006, with support of bridging funds from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Arts of Citizenship conducted a strategic planning process to reformulate the program’s goals and structure to enhance institutional sustainability and capacity building. This process involved over 60 faculty, staff, and graduate students along with a number of community partners. We presented our conclusions in a proposal to the University of Michigan’s Provost’s office in the fall of 2006.

We are pleased to report that in January 2007,University of Michigan’s Provost’s Office committed to three years of support for Arts of Citizenship, including funding for a part-time faculty director, a full-time staff person, and various activities including a grants program for collaborative projects involving U-M faculty and graduate students. Please check back for updates as we develop new programs to support and sustain university-community partnerships in the arts, humanities and design!