College of Fine Arts, School of Art, School of Dance, School of Music, School of Theatre, Film & Television

Arizona Arts has selected five Fellows for the Arizona Arts Interdisciplinary Research Fellows program, led by Ellen McMahon, the Associate Dean for Research in the Arts, that will catalyze and nurture leadership in interdisciplinary, collaborative research across the division, the university and with external partners.

The Spring 2021 inaugural cohort was selected for their wide range of interest and experience in collaborative arts research and practice.

  • Autumn Eckman, assistant professor, School of Dance
  • Jennie Gubner, assistant professor, Fred Fox School of Music
  • Joe Klug, assistant professor, School of Theatre, Film and Television
  • Amy Kraehe, associate professor, School of Art
  • Johanna Lundy, assistant professor, School of Music

“We have already had two productive meetings and I’m sure we will make great progress in building collaborative research networks, initiating new projects, developing new funding sources, and mentoring others in project development,” said McMahon.

“We’re in the process of prioritizing our many goals for the Spring semester but high on the list is to co-write a clear description of research in the arts and the role it can play in the larger university research mission.”

From In/Closure, choreographed by Autumn Eckman, which conceptualizes endings in all their myriad forms – the end of relationships, events, the world, or even life itself, performed at the Space Place Theater at the University of Iowa.

Autumn Eckman
Assistant Professor
School of Dance

Program Interest // The Fellows program offers the opportunity to interact with colleagues across disciplines represented by Arizona Arts. As artists, scholars, citizens, we each have our unique ways of expressing creative-ness and knowledge originating from our practices and experiences. I am eager to learn about and from each other’s respective fields and research; and feel that our working collaboration will enable us to articulate the importance of the social, cultural and political fabrics of interdisciplinary-arts research. I look forward to engaging in constructive dialog that illuminates the impact of our research as well as sharing how interdisciplinary art creates a foundation for understanding ourselves and effective existence in relation to others.

Research Emphasis // I research how dance reveals aspects of living by capturing its reflective nature represented by thought and movement, design and form, and change and transformation. My research is driven by collaborative endeavors that inform and enrich the processes of dance choreography, performance and pedagogy; and through interdisciplinary arts-exchanges that center on establishing connections to diverse communities. I served as guest choreographer for JUNTOS Collective (Guatemala, 2019), presented at the National Dance Educators Organization (2019), and choreographed Shape-Less, featured in UAMA’s “Picturing 2020: A Community Reflects” exhibition, supported by the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona’s Pivot Grant.

From the Music and Memory Film Project: “We were making personalized music playlists for adults living with dementia and documenting their stories through film (all as part of a service learning course at Indiana University).”

Jennie Gubner
Chair, Applied Intercultural Arts Research
Assistant Professor of Music
Fred Fox School of Music

Program Interest // I am delighted to work with the cohort to think strategically and collaboratively about how to grow, support, and feature interdisciplinary arts research as a key component of the identity of Arizona Arts. I am excited to encourage more collaborations between the Applied Intercultural Arts Research Graduate Interdisciplinary Program and the College of Fine Arts, build more co-taught courses, create collaboration grants, promote visibility to arts-related wellness research, strengthen ties with the Health Sciences and promote visibility to arts research and public-facing events on campus and in the community.

Research Emphasis // I am an ethnomusicologist, violinist, and socially engaged scholar with training in audiovisual, applied, and public approaches to ethnographic research in the arts. I am also deeply invested in building interdisciplinary educational and research collaborations between the arts and health sciences. Prior to Arizona, I spent two years at UCSF in the divisions of Geriatrics and Neurology where I researched music and dementia caregiving relationships and trained as an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute. My research interests also span Latin American popular music traditions with a focus on intergenerational tango music scenes in Buenos Aires and ethnomusicological filmmaking. I created the Music & Memory Film Project, a research initiative that sits at the crossroads of applied ethnomusicology, community-engaged pedagogy, experiential ethnography through film, and studies of neurodiversity and creative aging.

From last November, Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical with scenic design by Joe Klug at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, Fla.

Joe Klug
Assistant Professor, Scenic Design
School of Theatre, Film & Television

Program Interest // I saw an opportunity to put together an Arizona Arts network of campus opportunities and a support system to help facilitate collaborative relationships across campus. I believe one of the largest hurdles for cross campus collaboration is that others don’t know how our expertise in Arizona Arts can translate beyond our studios and our production spaces. The fellowship program can create a network to connect faculty and students to the interdisciplinary opportunities that currently exist on this campus. This network will not only help provide research opportunities for faculty, but would also help further the university’s strategic plan in expanding the impact of the Arts on campus and within the student experience.

Research Emphasis // My research has always been inspired by bringing stories to life. As a Scenic Designer, my creative practice has always been about connecting audience members to the story being told on stage and help bring a deeper understanding to the world around them. I have been exploring how these same principles can be applied to the Experiential Design industry. What happens when the audience stops being a passive observer and becomes an experiencer walking through the design? How can we take the basic elements of the scenic design process and foundations and apply them in a way that connects an experiencer to a product, a brand, an installation, or an activation and allows them to feel an emotion, a story, and share in that moment?

Dr. Amy Kraehe facilitating discussion with works of art by Frohawk Two Feathers at the exhibition, “What is the Color, When Black is Burned? The Gold War. Part 1” at the University of Arizona Museum of Art.

Amy Kraehe
Associate Professor, Art and Visual Culture Education
School of Art

Program Interest // The fellowship offers a unique opportunity for participants to think beyond disciplinary boundaries about how research in the arts generates new knowledge. It’s also a space in which to innovate conceptual frameworks that can be used to illuminate the generative aspects of creative research and cultural production. The fellowship serves as a bridge, connecting people who value research and want to learn more about a range of methodologies, funding strategies, and collaborative enterprises. I am interested in helping foment a vibrant research culture and community through formal and informal mentoring networks that are inclusive of students, faculty, and staff across the all areas of the division.

Research Emphasis // Often the arts and arts education are said to be transformative—a positive force for creating a better world. Less recognized are the ways in which the arts and arts education are also complicit with racism, gender exploitation, and colonialism. This contradiction lies at the heart of my research and community engaged scholarship. How do the arts and arts education challenge as well as contribute to systems of inequality and oppression? What might arts equity look like in theory and in practice? At the level of the individual, how do race, gender, sexuality, and class intersect with and mediate identity development in arts disciplines? At a societal level, what role do the arts and culture play in collective protest demanding social change? These are questions that drive my research and community engaged scholarship.

From 2017 at MOCA Tucson, Johanna Lundy presented Art + Nature + Devotion, an evening of visual art collaborations, poetic connections and music.

Johanna Lundy
Assistant Professor
Fred Fox School of Music

Program Interest // I was drawn to the Interdisciplinary Research Fellows program both for what I could provide to the group and what I could learn from it. My research has always interwoven interdisciplinary topics, so I bring experience in relationship building, funding, and community presentations. I would like to create more connection between the school of music and other disciplines across campus and to provide mentorship to colleagues who are interested in engaging in interdisciplinary work. I hope to gain skill in my communication of arts research to the broader public, along with tools to evaluate my effectiveness and increase impact in the community.

Research Emphasis // I am a professional musician-turned academic that plays and teaches the French horn. Two long-term goals of mine are to change the public’s perception of classical/contemporary music and to create measurable social change in borderlands communities through music. My current project explores place and identity in the borderlands, aiming to create collective understanding among diverse audiences. This is carried out with my chamber group, the Borderlands Ensemble, and partners from both sides of the border (artists, historians, composers, musicologists, and diverse venues). Through the use of thematic elements, new formats, and unique locations, we introduce audiences to classical and contemporary music in an environment of exploration and cultural inclusivity, providing opportunities for active participation.