College of Fine Arts, School of Music

Jennie Gubner was awarded the a2ru Award for Excellence in Arts in Health Education at the a2ru 2023 National Conference, hosted by Penn State University.

Gubner is an assistant professor in the School of Music and chair of the Applied Intercultural Arts Research program at the University of Arizona. 

“We use music to process individual and group trauma and grief, we use music to enhance our moods, we use music to feel connected to others socially,” Gubner said. “The more we can teach people to critically understand how arts are and can be used as tools to promote health, the more we can creatively promote wellness in our institutions and communities.” 

Gubner earns Excellence in Arts in Health Education award
Jennie Gubner presenting at SXSW in 2022.

Gubner earns Excellence in Arts in Health Education award

a2ru is a partnership between colleges and universities that help promote art-integrative research, curriculum, programs, and creative practices for arts, sciences, and other disciplines. The organization created this award to highlight innovative pedagogy that supports the growth in arts in health. 

“Since the field of art and health sits between many disciplines, building sustainable bridges between the arts and health sciences in universities is challenging work that can often be a bit lonely… receiving a national award makes me feel connected to broader initiatives that are celebrating this work that I deeply believe in,” Gubner said.  

Intercultural Approaches

Her research specializes in applied and intercultural approaches to the study of music and dementia and creative aging, which she began in 2015.

She has been building courses and research across universities that use ethnomusicology and art-based methods that convey what arts and health and arts and aging look like within and beyond a university setting. 

Her recent research projects have involved building and creatively documenting a house-calls serenade program for home-bound Hispanic older adults, and designing an interactive digital platform called “The Awe Collective” to promote creative approaches to awe walking as a wellness practice, the press release noted. 

Gubner said in the spring she will be teaching a new in-person seminar called Music, Health, and Wellness Story Lab. The seminar will consist of building intercultural digital stories about music, health, and wellness within and beyond Tucson. She is also building an event series for students and the community about music making as a way to build healthy intergenerational communities.

“As a faculty member in the School of Music, I want people to understand that part of studying music should be learning how to use music as a tool for building healthier societies,” Gubner said.