Proposals sought for new arts research funding program


The University of Michigan has launched Arts Research: Incubation & Acceleration, a new grant program to fuel arts-based research.

ARIA seeks to support projects centered in the arts that ask creative questions and move toward new ideas and knowledges, invite new forms of collaboration and interaction both within and beyond the arts, and that imagine new approaches to problems and ideas in the arts and society.

The result of a new partnership between the Office for the Vice President for Research and the U-M Arts Initiative, ARIA has been developed by Clare Croft, the university’s inaugural director of arts research / creative practice. The program is funded equally by both sponsors.

“ARIA is an incredibly powerful program that will support faculty-led research across our schools and campuses, allowing faculty from a wide variety of disciplines to deepen and elevate their important work,” said Croft, who also is an associate professor of American culture and of women’s and gender studies in LSA, and associate professor of music in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Approximately 15-20 grants will be awarded in the 2023-24 academic year. Faculty applying for individual projects are eligible for up to $25,000, and research teams are eligible for up to $50,000. Projects will be funded for up to two years. Funding can support projects in pilot or incubation stages or those entering new stages of development and dissemination.

“We hope that ARIA will inspire a new level of ambitious arts research at the University of Michigan,” said Mark Clague, interim executive director of the Arts Initiative. “Our goal is both to fuel the extraordinary in creative practice, while propelling the arts into new realms of research, where artists and artistic thinking have not traditionally been found. ARIA should be a game changer.”

Proposals for the program’s first round of funding are due by 5 p.m. Dec. 11, and selections will be announced in January 2024. U-M research faculty across all three campuses are eligible to apply.

Applications are particularly encouraged from interdisciplinary research teams structured to provide mutual benefit to those in the arts and in other research sectors, and from individuals working in creative practice to imagine new horizons of artistic possibility.

“As a university community, we cannot effectively address problems and advance ideas in the arts and society by working within traditional silos alone,” said Geoffrey Thün, associate vice president for research-social sciences, humanities and the arts.

“To generate new knowledge and spur positive change, we have to embrace integration and collaborate across disciplines. The ARIA program was designed to center, elevate and expand arts research and creative practice in its many forms across our three campuses.”


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