Arts Initiative announces 2024 Creative Careers Residents


The University of Michigan Arts Initiative has announced three master’s degree-level residents for its Creative Careers Residency, a transitional program providing support for full-time, self-directed creative practice in architecture and urban planning, art and design, performing arts, intermedia arts or creative writing.

This year’s residents are 2024 graduates Leah Crosby from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, sara faraj from the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and Kara Roseborough from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Upon graduation, many practitioners lose their networks of support necessary to develop significant work, posing a significant barrier to the transition from degree to sustained work. Maintaining a creative practice takes focus and time, and taking on a full-time job often leaves little of both.

The Creative Careers Residency seeks to reduce these barriers by providing the time, structure and funding support to transition from academia to post-graduate endeavors. Residents receive a $40,000 work stipend and health insurance, among other benefits.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Provide the necessary structure for academic disciplines to transition from “graduate student” to “creative professional.”
  • Set up U-M graduates of creative disciplines for success in a deep creative practice by providing a necessary support infrastructure.
  • Reduce barriers for artists to develop sustainable careers as artists by providing reliable income and health insurance.
  • Increase the presence and interactions of artists-in-residence across campus.

The Arts Initiative is leading the way in this kind of institutional support for graduates in the arts. The Creative Careers Residency enables student-artists to create a significant project that will bridge the gap to the next art-making opportunity.

The 2023-24 Creative Careers Residents and their project descriptions are:

Leah Crosby, Master of Fine Arts graduate from the Stamps School

Photo of Leah Crosby
Leah Crosby

Crosby will create a serialized experimental audio work and accompanying chapbook or zine that draws on research on identity co-formation within caregiving relationships.

The audio will be released serially via WBCN, Ann Arbor’s community radio station, culminating in a final live performance of the entire audio series at the Ann Arbor District Library, where the companion chapbook will be distributed. The remaining chapbooks will be distributed in vintage vending machines installed on campus.

sara faraj, Master of Urban and Regional Planning graduate from Taubman College

Photo of Sara Faraj
sara faraj

Faraj will facilitate Photovoice workshops for marginalized individuals, groups and organizations, which include photography training, ethical considerations of photography, direction and narrative development through reflection and collaborative activities.

Participants will develop “voices” accompanying their images to shed light on their photographs and stories. The project includes workshops, a report outlining the methodology and research findings, and a public exhibit showcasing the power of Photovoice.

Kara Roseborough, Master of Fine Arts in Dance graduate from SMTD

Photo of Kara Roseborough
Kara Roseborough

Roseborough will develop a Motown ballet “La Vie en Rose,” which chronicles the journey of a small-town Black waitress with dreams of dancing in New York City. The piece examines issues of race and gender as they pertain to an artist’s journey and incorporate the history of Black people in southeast Michigan.

In collaborating with local musicians, Roseborough will reconfigure the work to be set entirely to new and existing Motown-inspired songs to situate the ballet further within the local Black community.


Leave a comment

Please read our comment guidelines.