Grant and Award Recipients

Since its inception, the Imagine Fund has provided not only critical funding support for innovative scholarship but also valuable opportunities for faculty to learn about research and opportunities for collaborations across the system. This page is intended to create visibility for the work supported by the awards, promote cross-system exchange, and advance aligned MPact2025 goals related to community engagement, multidisciplinary research and teaching, and other key priorities.


2021-2022 Recipients

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2021-2022 Recipients

The Arts, Humanities, and Design Chair Award

The Arts, Humanities, and Design Chair Award is a two-year award in which the faculty awardee works with a group of faculty, staff, students, and other collaborators to create a program of activities for the University community and the community at large. The goal of these projects is to catalyze cross-departmental, intercollegiate, multi-campus, and collaborative work. 

The chair position supports an emergent process that includes a generative first year and a second year of visible public activities that engage the campus and local communities. The chair can either assemble collaborators, or groups can come together and name a chair from among the collaborators. The outcome of these activities should galvanize sustained intellectual dialogue around a particular academic theme. The program of interrelated activities typically includes: workshops, symposia, reading groups, speaker events, public engagement actions, partnerships across and outside the university, graduate and undergraduate classes, exhibitions, lectures, and performances.

This Award application and review process is administered by the Office of Faculty and Academic Affairs

  • 2021-23 Chair - Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, College of Design
    Tasoulla Hadjiyanni is a Northrop Professor in the Interior Design Program. Her scholarship builds on interdisciplinary partnerships and community engagement to explore how the design of built environments can eliminate disparities and help create communities where everyone can thrive. Her specialties and expertise include residential environments; cultural aspects of space; displacement/emplacement; human trafficking; and mental health.

    Consider - A documentary on built environments and social exclusion
    Families without a home, children who cannot read, and parents in search of safety and stability are everyday realities in many of our diverse communities. CONSIDER follows Black single mothers in YWCA-St Paul’s supportive housing and University of Minnesota design students and educators as they consider what co-parenting homes could look like. In the process, they embark on introspections around the creation of built environments where everyone can thrive, reaffirming what it means to be human. More information can be found at:


  • 2022-24 Chair - Diane Willow, Department of Art, College of Liberal Arts
    Diane Willow is a Professor of Art, multi-modal artist, and a CLA Scholar of the College. Her creative research engages any medium necessary to create participatory modes of art that invite us to contemplate our relationships with nature, technology, and one another. With each of the interdisciplinary collaborations that she has initiated, including CHANT (Culture, Healing, Art, Nature, and Technology) and the ArTeS (Art + Technology + Science) Collaborative Research Studio, she centers the arts as a catalyst for creative interdependence.

    ArTeS as a Catalyst for Creative Interdependence
    The “ArTeS as a Catalyst for Creative Interdependence” initiative focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations that center equity and justice while generating collaborative art-centered research and inclusive processes that intersect with emerging technologies and science. The core ArTeS collaborative is composed of faculty in the arts, humanities, design, and computer science who share a commitment to reimagining our research and teaching toward shared yet varied approaches to inclusive, interdisciplinary modalities. The ArTeS initiative advocates for the arts and their transformational capacity to catalyze creative interdependence. The initiative will also expand collaborations across the university and with local community partners. ArTeS is intended to be a space for wholeness, a context in which creativity, equity, justice, and culture are integral to research and pedagogy at the nexus of art, technology, and science. 

Special Events Award

The Special Events Grant Program seeks to support new and ongoing activities across the University of Minnesota system that promote profound understanding of the human condition, excellence, innovation, collaboration, interdisciplinary dialogue, and greater public engagement with the University.

Special Events Grants are highly competitive and must relate to the areas of the arts, humanities, or design. Awards rarely will be granted for traditional academic symposia or conferences—these types of events must be innovative and include a significant public engagement component. It is recommended, but not required, that applicants seek collaboration and co-sponsors through the IAS or other centers and colleges.

Special Events Grants are administered by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), a systemwide institute for advancing interdisciplinary collaborations, including the arts, humanities, and design.

University of Minnesota-Duluth

  • David Beard, Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences 

    Celebrating the Past and Moving into a Diverse Present with the Duluth Poets Laureate
    Imagine Funds will be used to support a reading series celebrating the past and looking toward the future of the Duluth Poet Laureate Program. The Duluth Poet Laureate Project was founded in 2005 as a way of honoring local poets and encouraging the appreciation of poetry. There have been six poets laureate previously selected over the years, including Bart Sutter, Sheila Packa, Deborah Cooper, Jim Johnson (twice), Ellie Schoenfeld, and Gary Boelhower. The Duluth Poet Laureate Project receives support from Friends of the Duluth Public Library; Lake Superior Writers; Arrowhead Reading Council; the English department at the College of St. Scholastica; the English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies department at UMD; and Lake Superior College. A twelve-person committee oversees the work of the Project. 

University of Minnesota-Morris

  • Ann DuHamel, Music

    Prayers for a Feverish Planet: Music and Conversation About Climate Change
    This project is a musical response to climate change, featuring more than 60 works for piano and piano/electronics by composers on six continents. The project's public debut was made possible by a 2022 Imagine Fund Special Events grant: a multi-day series with eight concerts on the Morris campus, coinciding with Earth Day in April 2022. Each concert centered around a different theme, including water, grief and anxiety, human "progress," trees and hope, and more; DuHamel (Associate Professor of Music at UMM and IAS Faculty Fellow, Fall semester 2021) was joined on stage by a guest speaker for each event -- Kate Knuth, climate activist; Troy Goodnough, sustainability director at UMM; professors of Environmental Studies at UMM; and others. The project also includes an upcoming tree planting on the Morris campus (postponed from its original spring date due to storms). 

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

  • Shir Alon, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, College of Liberal Arts

    The Contemporary Piyyut: Global Networks of Middle Eastern and North African Music
    This grant will fund a symposium organized by the Center for Jewish Studies, the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the School of Music, November 14-15, 2022. Piyyutim are Jewish liturgical poems traditionally sung in religious gatherings. This symposium, dedicated to piyyutim in contemporary culture, will include both public facing and academic talks on the recent shifts in the settings in which piyyutim are performed; the ongoing exchange between the piyyut archive and other art forms and media; the sociocultural and political contexts in which piyyutim function today; and the ways they connect various communities, sites, and identities. The symposium will also include a concert by an ensemble from Israel/New York together with local musicians, a keynote lecture by poet and translator Peter Cole, and workshops with choreographers, writers, and filmmakers who draw on the piyyut tradition.
  • Bianet Castellanos, American Studies, College of Liberal Arts

    Indigenous Heritage Languages of the Global South Project
    This project will develop workshops and programming to support Indigenous students’ heritage language learning. These events will create greater awareness of heritage languages within the Latinx and Indigenous Latinx communities and will build the institutional knowledge necessary to implement a heritage language program at El Colegio High School and Academia Cesar Chavez. The grant will support 1) three workshops focusing on the importance of heritage language programs and how to develop these for K-12 education; 2) a faculty-mentored high school YPAR student project; and 3) conclude with a community forum on heritage languages of Latin America.
  • Palita Chunsaengchan, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, College of Liberal Arts

    Southeast Asian Cinema and Its Diaspora: Theory/Praxis/Politics 
    This event brings together film practitioners, academics, and other stakeholders from across Southeast Asia for a series of public talks, workshops, and a two-day public screening of Southeast Asian films at the University of Minnesota. This program is interdisciplinary in that it seeks to enhance collaborations across fields, methodologies, and areas of expertise. It also aims to invite participants to consider contemporary Southeast Asian cinema as a productive site that processes historical and political events, especially after many atrocities that took place in the region. The series celebrates Southeast Asian cinema and, most importantly, the people behind it for their creativity and resilience, and acknowledges their contributions to the global collective of film theory, praxis, and politics of filmmaking.
  • Christina Ewig, Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs 

    Women and Two-Spirit Native Americans Leading for the Next Generation
    The Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy hosted two public-facing events in 2022: Leading for the 7th Generation, and Advocating for Systems Change for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Relatives. Both events highlighted the critical work and leadership of Minnesota Indigenous women and communities. Leading for the 7th Generation provided an opportunity for community members to learn about seventh generation principles. The seventh generation mindset is about stewarding resources—such as land, water, and indigenous languages—in the interest of building a sustainable future for descendants, while simultaneously tending to the well-being of contemporary Native nations. Advocating for Systems Change for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Relatives, offered a public conversation about the work being done on the local, state, and federal level to address the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women and communities. Minnesota established the first statewide task force on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women in 2019, followed by the Presidential Task Force in 2021. 
  • Boris Oicherman, Curator for Creative Collaboration, Weisman Art Museum

    The Float Lab on Lake Itasca
    The Big River Continuum is a Mississippi-long artist residency exchange that amplifies the interconnectedness of cultures, research, water and land through collaboration between the multimedia artist Karen Goulet (White Earth Ojibwe) from the Mississippi Headwaters region, and social practice artist Monique Verdin (Houma) from the Delta. In the summer of 2022, the Weisman Art Museum presented an in-progress exhibition, organized by guest curator Rebecca Dallinger, that showcased the collaborative creative explorations of the artists thus far in the process through works in diverse media, as well as the documentation of their creative collaboration with the partners at the Itasca Biological Station and artists of Northern Minnesota and Yakni Chitto.
  • Luverne Seifert, Theatre Arts and Dance, College of Liberal Arts

    Increasing Awareness of Rare Diseases among Minnesotans through Theater: A Collaboration of Art and Science
    The University of Minnesota Center for Orphan Drug Research and Sod House Theater Company are collaborating to develop a new production focused on bringing attention to those diagnosed with a rare disease. The collaboration will adapt the Greek tragedy, Philoctetes, to help audiences gain a greater awareness and deeper understanding of the medical, economic, psychological, and social challenges facing people with a rare disease. The production will tour to Duluth, Morris, Rochester, Fargo ND, Hastings and Prescott WI, and will be performed locally at the Capris Theater in North Minneapolis and in Rarig Center at the University of Minnesota. The play will be written by Kevin Kling, best known for his popular commentaries on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and will be produced by Sod House Theater, a local theater that specializes in creating professional theater experiences in close collaboration with Minnesota communities.

Annual Faculty Research Grants

The Annual Faculty Research Grants support innovative research in the arts, design, and humanities by individual faculty. This funding is typically used to support research needs (e.g. research assistants), teaching materials, books, materials for creative work, or travel to support research or scholarship. It often supplements other funding sources. Annual Faculty Research Grant programs will be administered directly through participating arts, humanities, and design colleges and campuses. 

University of Minnesota-Duluth, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

  • Alison Aune (Art and Design) - Swedish Folk Art: Tradition and Change, an exhibition at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago
  • Sarah Blaylock (Art and Design) - A Global Cold War: Speculative Futures & Activist Ecologies (research travel)
  • Paul Cannan (English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies) -  The Making of Shakespeare the Poet: The Publication and Reception of Shakespeare’s Poetry, 1640–1790 
  • Paula Gudmundson (Music) - Developing Leadership Class Room to the Concert Stage: Providing Students Lightbulb Moments 
  • Mark Harvey (Theatre) -  Research travel to Germany to visit archives at the Hellerau Institute in Dresden and the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth
  • Rachel Inselman (Music) - Caruso and Lanza: A Centennial Tribute Lecture Recital 
  • Steve Matthews (History, Political Science, and International Studies) - Aran Islands Heritage Preservation Plan and oral history archive 
  • Adam Pine (Geography and Philosophy) - Twenty “sketchquotes” (single-panel comics) about food insecurity in St. Louis County, MN (in collaboration with Duluth artist Nelle Rhicard and Dr. David Beard)
  • Justin Rubin (Music) - Create, edit, and master a series of digital recordings with the assistance of a professional audio engineer and virtual studios 
  • David Syring (Studies in Justice, Culture, and Social Change) - Study intersections of research practices in environmental sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences, and investigate how Indigenous knowledges are and are not included in research at these centers
  • Maryam Khalegi Yazdi (Art and Design) - An interactive textile illustration project that will narrate the stories of immigrants in the United States 

University of Minnesota Morris, Humanities Division

  • Rebecca Dean (Anthropology) - Army Animals and Mill City Meals: The Twin Cities through Time, Space, and Species
  • Dan Demetriou (Philosophy) - Tribalist/nationalist ethics and psychology: applications to price gouging and memorialization
  • Ann DuHamel (Music) - Solo Piano Work – Commissioning Libby Larsen
  • Michael Lackey (English) - German Exile Biofiction
  • Jimmy Schryver (Art History) - The Lough Key Archaeological Project: Finding MacDermot's Lost Castle
  • Nadezhda Sotirova (Communications, Media, and Rhetoric) - The cultural communication of COVID-19 rules in Bulgaria
  • Simon Tiller (Music) - Minnesota - Land of Legend and Song

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, College of Design

  • Vincent deBritto (Landscape Architecture) - The Italian COVID Lockdown and the Reinvention of Quarantine
  • Greg Donofrio (Heritage Studies and Public History/Architecture) - Human Toll: A Public History of Twin Cities' Freeways
  • Lucy Dunne (Apparel Design) - Toward First Principles of Apparel Aesthetics
  • Brad Hokanson (Graphic Design) - Support for Teaching College In the Schools: Building Creativity
  • Brad Holschuh (Apparel Design) - Novel Clothing Accessibility Solutions Using Garment-based Actuation
  • Hyunjoo Im (Retail Merchandising) - A Systematic Review of Design Science and Psychology Research for Teaching Modules
  • Lauren Kim (Retail Merchandising) - A Path to [Virtual] Consumption: Mapping Customer Experience on The Metaverse
  • Carlye Lauff (Product Design) - Prototype Fidelity: Defining Terms and Identifying Impact on Design Communication for Product Design Students
  • Kristine Miller (Landscape Architecture) - Open Source Digital Edition of Almost Home, The Public Landscapes of Gertrude Jekyll
  • Malini Srivastava (Architecture) - Material Stories: The Before, During and Afterlife of Materials
  • Cecilia Xi Wang (Graphic Design) - Design, a book project: User Experience Design for the Future Healthcare

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, College of Liberal Arts

  • Hakim Abderrezak (French and Italian) - Clandestine Sea-Crossings in Art: A Book Project
  • Sophia Beal (Spanish and Portuguese Studies) - Brazil’s Urban Housing Crisis in Contemporary Fiction and Film
  • Marissa Benedict (Music) - Pressing Progress Not Valves: Using the Natural Trumpet as a Pedagogical Tool
  • Timothy Brennan (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature) - Borrowed Light: Imperial Form (vol. 2)
  • Lisa Channer (Theatre Arts and Dance) - Girls at the Painted Bird 
  • Ananya Chatterjea (Theater Arts and Dance) - Michhil, Amra: Investigating Performance in Times of Pandemic and Political Uprising
  • Roy Cook (Philosophy) - The Logic of Minecraft
  • Gabriela Currie (Music) - Encountering the Musical Other in the Kingdom of Kongo
  • Scott Currie (Music) - Improvising Activist Agency: Free Initiatives for Improvisation in Berlin
  • Immanuel Davis (Music) - Hot Off the Press: Concert Video of 21st Century Works for Flute and Piano
  • Lorenzo Fabbri (French and Italian) - Black Italian Film and Media
  • Carl Flink (Theatre Arts and Dance) - Developing Battleground: The Fog of War
  • V.V. Ganeshananthan (English) - The Missing Are Considered Dead 
  • Keya Ganguly (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature) - Baroque Lucknow
  • Njeri Githire (African American and African Studies) - Lights! Camera! Digital Revolution: East African Cinema in the 21st Century
  • Margaret Hennefeld (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature) - The Fantasy of Silent Cinema
  • Rachmi Diyah Larasati (Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies) - Cartography of Conservativism and Modern Empire
  • Hanne Loeland Levinson (Classical and Near Eastern Religions and Cultures) - Cautionary Tales for Today: Dystopian Literature as Vehicle for Imaging and Re-Imagining Racial and Social Justice
  • Alex Lubet (Music) - New Composition for the Galan Trio
  • Lynn Lukkas (Art) - Fulbright Funding Leverage
  • Chelsea Masteller Warren (Theatre Arts and Dance) - Laser Station for Scenic Design
  • Jason McGrath (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) - Chinese Film: Realism and Convention from the Silent Era to the Digital Age
  • Monica Moses Haller (Art) - Plans [working title]
  • S. Douglas Olson (Classical and Near Eastern Religions and Cultures) - Visit to the American University in Cairo
  • Karen Painter (Music) - Composing for Hitler: Ordinary Men, Their Music and Path to National Socialism [working book title]
  • Christina Schmid (Art) - Desert Redux: Sand, Salt, Surface
  • Luverne Seifert (Theatre Arts and Dance) - Studying European Performance Models at the Gaulier School in France
  • Sima Shakhsari (Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies) - Iranian Queer and Trans Media Analysis
  • Paul Shaw (Music) - Global Arts Leader Aspirant
  • Kimberley Todd (English) - Isle Royale Wolves Essay (research travel)
  • Victoria Vargas (Music) - Opera Cooperative, a collaboration with Minnesota Opera
  • Travis Workman (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) - Discovering North Korean Film Theory
  • Tetsuya Yamada (Art) - Invisible 

Key Dates

Special Events

Application deadline: October 17, 2022 at noon and January 30, 2023 at noon

Faculty Research Grants

College/Campus specific timelines

AHD Chair Award

Applications are due Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 12:00 noon