Faculty and staff awarded internal funds to spark VU–NMAAM collaborations

Photograph of externior of NMAAM against Nashville skyline
Exterior view of Nashville Museum of African American Music (Vanderbilt University)

The Office of the Provost has awarded four inaugural Arts, Discovery and Innovation grants to support faculty and staff research collaborations with the National Museum of African American Music.

“This promising program brings together scholars and leaders to work with a treasured, high-impact community partner on highest-caliber creative expression and research in the arts,” said C. Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We hope that the early successes that emerge from this first set of awards will inspire increased collaboration and creativity across Vanderbilt and the many arts and cultural organizations in our region.”

Launched by Vice Provost for Arts and Libraries Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, the Arts, Discovery and Innovation Fund is open to all disciplines. “Sparking university collaborations on arts education and research with partners like NMAAM is an important component of Discovery Vanderbilt, the university’s landmark investment in transformative research and innovation,” Sharpley-Whiting said. “Partnerships like this that benefit the arts enrich all of us and reap benefits for generations to come.”

Proposals must include collaboration from at least two faculty or staff members from different colleges, schools or divisions/areas and a NMAAM representative. In addition, a strategy for student and community engagement is required. Submissions can be for one-time activities, but sustained, thematic programming throughout the semester or academic year is encouraged.

Fall 2022 grant awardees and proposals

  • Christin Essin, associate professor of theatre, College of Arts and Science; “Backstage at the Apollo”
    • Collaborators: Ibby Cizmar, assistant professor of theatre, Arts and Science; Ryan Middagh, assistant professor of jazz, Blair School of Music; Robert Fry, senior lecturer in musicology and ethnomusicology, Blair School; Brandon Reid, senior education program manager, NMAAM; and Katie Rainge-Briggs, director of education and exhibition, NMAAM.
  • Brittany Pomilee, program coordinator, Student Center for Social Justice and Identity; “Afro ARTivism”
    • Collaborators: ReChard Peel, assistant director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Rosevelt Noble, assistant dean of residential colleges and director of the Black Cultural Center, EDI; Brittany Chase, adjunct assistant professor of musicology and ethnomusicology, Blair School; Chezare Warren, associate professor of equity and inclusion in education policy, Peabody College; and Brandon Reid, senior education program manager, NMAAM.
  • Amanda Hellman, Fine Arts Gallery director, Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries; “The Sound of Art Residency”
    • Collaborators: Kashif Graham, librarian for religion and theology, Divinity School Library; and Brandon Reid, senior education program manager, NMAAM.
  • Tiffeni Fontno, director of Peabody Library; “Social Justice and the Black Music Experience”
    • Collaborators: Holling Smith-Borne, director of the Wilson Music Library, Blair School; Emily Pendergrass, associate professor of the practice of literacy education, Peabody College; Alice Randall, writer-in-residence, African American and Diaspora Studies, and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities, Arts and Science; Tucker Biddlecombe, associate professor of choral studies, Blair School; and Brandon Reid, senior education program manager, NMAAM.

The deadline for spring submissions is Feb. 17, 2023. More information is available on Incunabula, Vanderbilt’s repository for the arts, or by emailing Claire Campbell in the Office of Arts and Libraries.