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The University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center

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Getting to the Harris School:

Street parking is free but scarce. There is a free community parking lot a few blocks away on 60th and Stony Island. The Metra stops at 59th and Stony Island.

Spring Workshops:
New Perspectives on Cultural Participation

Workshops are free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.

Arts Research & Data and its Chicago Connection: Insights from the National Endowment for the Arts

Sunil IyengarJennifer Novak-LeonardSunil Iyengar, Research & Analysis Director at the National Endowment for the Arts; and Jennifer Novak-Leonard, NORC Research Associate & Cultural Policy Center Research Manager

Tuesday, April 29, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St.
First Floor Garland Room

In recent years, the National Endowment for the Arts has placed greater emphasis on the role of research within the arts and cultural field, and within the NEA itself. Sunil Iyengar, Director of the NEA's Office of Research and Analysis, will discuss the reasons for the heightened importance of arts research and data and share insights on major research initiatives currently underway at NEA. Of particular interest for the CPC Spring Workshop Series, Iyengar will share advance findings from the NEA's forthcoming report on the 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which serves as the nation's leading source on information about how people participate in the arts.

Jennifer Novak-Leonard will present on how these national efforts are relevant to Chicago and share new findings from the 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts for Illinois and Chicago.

How do national research efforts relate to Chicago? Iyengar and Novak-Leonard will discuss the possibilities for further connecting the national and the local, and putting the learning and findings from these efforts into practice on the local level.

Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Since his arrival at the NEA in June 2006, the office has produced more than 25 research publications, hosted several research events and webinars, twice updated the NEA's five-year strategic plan, and overseen a new and expanded survey about arts participation. In that time, the office also has created an arts system map and long-term research agenda, and has launched a research grants program. Sunil also chairs the Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development. Some of the NEA's most recent research includes Valuing the Art of Industrial Design (2013), The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth (2012), An Average Day in the Arts (2012), and The Arts and Human Development (2011). Sunil and his team have partnered with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institutes to Health to study the arts in relation to such topics as economic development and the health and well-being of older adults. For a decade, Iyengar worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poetry, and his book reviews have appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The American Scholar, The New Criterion, Essays in Criticism, and Contemporary Poetry Review. Iyengar has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Jennifer Novak-Leonard, NORC Research Associate & CPC Research Manager, specializes in evolving measurement systems to understand cultural participation, and the personal and public value derived from those experiences. Her work lies at the nexus between research, policy and practice. Currently, Ms. Novak-Leonard is a principal investigator of the California Survey of Arts & Cultural Participation at NORC, commissioned by the James Irvine Foundation. The survey captures a more extensive range of artistic activities than has previously been measured in scientific surveys. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, she is currently examining motivations for and barriers to arts attendance as measured by the most recent General Social Survey. Ms. Novak-Leonard leads projects on artists' education and employment, public funding, and arts in immigrant communities at the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, where she also lectures in the Harris School of Public Policy. She currently serves on the Cultural Data Project's Research Advisory Committee. Previously, Ms. Novak-Leonard was a Senior Consultant with WolfBrown and an Assistant Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation. She is the lead author of "Beyond Attendance: A Multi- Modal Understanding of Arts Participation" (NEA, 2011). Select publications include: "Measuring the intrinsic impacts of arts attendance" (Cultural Trends, 2013); "Cultural Engagement in California's Inland Regions" (WolfBrown, 2008), "Arts and Culture in the Metropolis" (RAND, 2007) and, as a contributor, "Gifts of the Muse "(RAND, 2004).

Work and Life Outcomes for Creative Graduates: Myths and Realities

Steven TepperSteven J. Tepper, associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy and associate professor in the department of sociology at Vanderbilt; and incoming dean (July 2014) of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University

Tuesday, May 6, 12:00-1:20 p.m.
Harris School of Public Policy
1155 E. 60th St.
Room 289B

This talk will explore findings from the National Arts Alumni Project — a survey of more than 100,000 arts school graduates in the U.S. What happens to arts school graduates? Do they get jobs working as artists? Do they use the skills they learned in school even in non-arts jobs? Do all arts graduates face the same opportunities; or are there important inequalities across race and gender? Are arts graduates happy with their lives? Do those who continue to work as artist find greater happiness and satisfaction than those who stop making art? For the first time, we have a national data set that can begin to answer these questions, providing insight on how creative careers unfold in the 21st century.

Steven J. Tepper is associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy and associate professor in the department of sociology at Vanderbilt. Prior to Vanderbilt, Tepper served as deputy director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. Tepper is the incoming dean (July 2014) of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, the nation’s largest, comprehensive arts school.

Tepper’s research and teaching focuses on creativity in education and work; conflict over art and culture; and cultural participation. He is author of Not Here, Not Now, Not That! Protest Over Art and Culture in America (University of Chicago, 2011) and co-editor and contributing author of the book Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life (Routledge 2007). Tepper is a leading writer and speaker on U.S. cultural policy and his work has fostered national discussions around topics of cultural engagement, everyday creativity, and the transformative possibilities of a 21st century creative campus. His writings on creativity and higher education have appeared in numerous national publications including the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Huffington Post and Fast Company. Tepper is also the research director of SNAAP, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, which has surveyed more than 100,000 graduates of arts training institutions about their education and careers.

The Talking Cure?: A Theory of Social Interpretation in the Live + Digital Era

Lynne ConnerLynne Conner, cultural historian, playwright/director and Professor and Chair of the Theater and Dance Department at Colby College

Tuesday, May 20, 12:00-1:20 p.m.
Harris School of Public Policy
1155 E. 60th St.
Room 289B

Why don’t Americans talk about the serious arts? We talk about everything else that we consume, from food and wine to sports, television, games, and books. With the ongoing decline in arts attendance, would a culture of engaged arts talk cure what ails us? Offering material from her new book, Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era, Conner investigates what she terms “social interpretation”—audience-produced meaning making about the arts that occurs in/through public settings and mechanisms. Looking for clues in the active nature of the historical audience as well as in various contemporary participatory cultures, she focuses her argument on the powerful role that productive Arts Talk (live and digital) plays in engagement. Ultimately, Conner argues for a new era of arts appreciation championing a move beyond the one-way delivery system that characterizes meaning making in most of the discourse around the serious arts in contemporary America.

Lynne Conner is a cultural historian, playwright/director and Professor and Chair of the Theater and Dance Department at Colby College. Her current research interests are focused on studying the history and contemporary status of audience behavior. Publications include the books Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era, Pittsburgh in Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater, Spreading the Gospel of the Modern Dance: Newspaper Dance Criticism in the United States, 1850-1935, In the Garden of Live Flowers, co-authored with Attilio Favorini, as well as a widely cited chapter in Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life, co-edited by Steven J. Tepper and Bill Ivey. Conner has given scores of talks on topics in the cultural policy field, including keynote and panels lectures at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Toronto Creative Trust, National Performing Arts Convention, Wallace Foundation, International Society of Performing Arts Presenters, Boston Foundation/Massachusetts Cultural Council, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Southwest Arts Conference, Grantmakers in the Arts, Dance USA, and the American Symphony Orchestra League. She is the recipient of the 2002 David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. Her blog, We the Audience: Lynne Conner at the Intersection of Live + Digital, appears weekly on

Recent Events

The Utility of the Creative Process

John Michael SchertJohn Michael Schert, Visiting Artist and Social Entrepreneur at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and UChicago Arts

Tuesday, April 15, 12:00-1:20 p.m.
Harris School of Public Policy
1155 E. 60th St.
Room 289B

In fall 2013, John Michael began as the University of Chicago Booth School and UChicago Arts' Visiting Artist and Social Entrepreneur. In this newly created position, he will work over a two-year period mentoring students and working with faculty to explore the utility of the creative process; how this asset can be of relevance and value to other sectors including business, economics, government and healthcare. He believes that people in an array of fields can learn how artists engage in the creative process and then deploy that knowledge, channeling creativity into a marketable product that also can contain high community value.

John Michael Schert began his career as a dancer with American Ballet Theatre and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. In 2004, he co-founded Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) serving as the company’s Executive Director and a dancer for nine years. During that time Schert gained a unique insight into the process and product of art-making, which has led him to become a sought-after national arts leader and speaker focusing on the evolving role of creatives in American society.

How the Civic Knowledge Project at the University of Chicago Forms Reciprocal Relationships with the Community through the Arts and Humanities

Erika DudleyJoanie Friedman Erika Dudley, Senior Program Manager of the Odyssey Project; and Joanie Friedman, Senior Program Manager of the Southside Arts & Humanities Network

Tuesday, April 8, 12:00-1:20 p.m.
Harris School of Public Policy
1155 E. 60th St.
Room 289B

The Civic Knowledge Project’s Odyssey Program and the Southside Arts & Humanities Network connect University faculty and staff to leaders of arts organizations and community scholars, in order to speed up the circulation of knowledge, promote reciprocity and begin to overcome the social, economic and political divisions. In the process of identifying and validating individuals within and outside of the University, new knowledge is created and new intellectual resources are discovered and shared.

Senior Program Managers Erika Dudley and Joanie Friedman will be presenting on “How the University of Chicago forms reciprocal relationships with the community through the arts and humanities.” Erika Dudley will focus on the work of the Odyssey Project, a yearlong course in the humanities that connects University faculty to individuals at or below the poverty line. In particular, Ms. Dudley will describe how graduates of the Odyssey Project continue to engage in the arts and humanities through advanced scholarship, community partnerships, and cultural advocacy.

Joanie Friedman will focus on the work of the Southside Arts and Humanities Network (The Network). The Network brings together leaders from over 150 small cultural organizations on the south side in order to share resources and build capacity. In particular, Ms. Friedman will focus on the Board Leadership Certificate Program, which recruits, trains and matches University staff (and alumni) to serve on the boards of small South Side Arts & Humanities organizations. Together Ms. Dudley and Ms. Friedman have collaborated on a series called “The Progressive Conversation,” which links graduates of both the Odyssey Project and the Board Leadership Certificate Program in order to highlight and strengthen the cultural fabric of the South Side.

Erika Dudley is the Senior Program Manager of the Odyssey Project, professional chef, and former community organizer. Most recently, Ms. Dudley has collaborated on a series of projects with Theaster Gates and Dorchester Projects.

Joanie Friedman is the Senior Program Manager of the Southside Arts & Humanities Network, a teaching artist and community arts organizer. She worked for six years with the Redmoon Theater running a community arts program and helped bring renowned artist Rafael Lopez to Chicago to work with local residents to create a 100-foot mural in 10 days.

Winter Workshop Series: Breaking Boundaries: theory, practice, cities, and planning

  • George Lepauw: "Breaking the Box: Do We Need Arts Institutions in the 21st Century? The Case of Classical Music"
  • Kristen Schilt and Chase Joynt: "When Social Sciences Meet the Arts: The Process of Collaboration"
  • Julie Burros: "The Chicago Cultural Plan at Year One"
  • Brooke Flanagan and Hilary Odom: "Moving the Needle from Cultural Policy to Cultural Engagement"
  • Terry Nichols Clark: "Scenes: Cultural Dynamics of Neighborhoods, Chicago, Paris, Seoul, Tokyo, Lessons to Share"
  • Jennifer Novak-Leonard and Joanna Woronkowicz: "Working to Bridge the Gap: Linking Academic and Practitioner-based Arts and Policy Research"

View details and video

Fall Workshop Series: Publishing and Libraries

  • Randal C. Picker: "The Mediated Book: eBooks and the Digital Library"
  • Penny Sebring and Eric Brown: "Teens, Digital Media, and the Chicago Public Library"
  • Garrett P. Kiely: "Après la Révolution: Publishing in the Post-Digital World"
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan: "The Human Knowledge Project"
  • Kathryn Zickuhr: "Books, Libraries, and the Changing Digital Landscape"
  • Alison Gerber: "Making Cents of Art"

View details and video

Spring Workshop Series: Cultural Diplomacy

  • Bill Ivey: "Starting Over: Reconfiguring American Cultural Diplomacy for the 21st Century"
  • Robert Albro: "Cultural Diplomacy as Creative Collaboration: Applied Humanities Networks and Post-Values Partnerships"
  • Morag M. Kersel: "U.S. Cultural Policy: People, Places, and Property in U.S. Foreign Relations"
  • Richard Kurin: "Saving Haiti's Heritage: Cultural Recovery after the Earthquake"
  • Deborah Lehr: "Egypt: A Public Private Partnership to Protect the Cultural Heritage of Countries in Crisis"
  • Brian T. Edwards: "Iran, Cinema, and the Curious Logics of Circulation"

View details and video

Teaching Artists and the Future of Education — panel & community forum — February 15, 2012

The first Chicago presentation of the Teaching Artist Research Project, a study of teaching artists and their work in a dozen cities, including Chicago.

With Nick Rabkin, Jessica Hudson, Cecil McDonald, Mario Rossero, and Margaret Beale Spencer.

This forum is presented by the Teaching Artist Development (TAD) Studio at Columbia College Chicago's Center for Community Arts Partnerships and sponsored by the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago; the Cultural Policy Center, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, and NORC at the University of Chicago; and Ingenuity, Inc.

Funding for this colloquium was made possible by support from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Cultural Policy Center, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Read more and watch the video.

Future of the City: The Arts Symposium — June 7, 2011

Co-hosted with the National Endowment for the Arts and the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement.

The University of Chicago presents Future of the City: The Arts Symposium, a one-day gathering of leaders who are shaping the cultural landscape of Chicago and beyond.

Arts and culture are proving their power as economic and social catalysts for the creative transformation of cities. Strategic collaborations between government, businesses, foundations and academic sectors have helped to rejuvenate neighborhoods, inspire civic and community engagement, and incubate the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. We will explore these themes, related research, and public policies as they apply to Chicago and other urban centers.

David Simon and Wendell Pierce (The Wire and Treme) will hold a special lunch-time conversation during a day full of discussions between internationally recognized researchers, artists, academics, and civic leaders.

John Holden, author of Capturing Cultural Value: How Culture Has Become a Tool of Government Policy, will provide introductory remarks to expert panelists discussing how cultural policies and arts practices around the world are evolving as individuals, organizations, and cities adjust to social changes, technological advances and economic uncertainty.

View more past events:

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