Anita McKeown, the SMARTlab at UCD’s CATALYST Manager, has been awarded one of two international funding awards from SPIRES (Supporting People who Investigate Research Environments & Spaces), to support a three-week research trip to Rutgers University, New Jersey.
In addition to her management role, Anita is a resident interdisciplinary artist, researcher and PhD student at the SMARTlab. She will be visiting Arts Builds Communities (ABC) and also the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Learning, Service, and Public Scholarship.
Both initiatives are part of the Academic and Public Partnerships in the Arts and Humanities office at Rutgers, which facilitates meaningful collaborations between students, faculty, staff and the broader community, through the work of their CESEP programme. In addition, through arts programming, the CESEP programme promotes understanding of the arts as a unique way of knowing, offering programmes that provide insights into the arts as a resource to build community.
Over the course of her three-week trip, Anita will be considering the context and institutional motivations that gave rise to both initiatives, including the buy-in and engagement strategies they employ with the wider New Jersey communities through the initiatives’ diverse partnerships. Interested in the interrelationship between Academic, Public and Industry partnerships within these contexts, Anita will be comparing methods developed as part of her own research, professional experience and remit as the SMARTlab’s CATALYST Manager with those of the Rutgers initiatives.
The research proposal will contribute to the development of the CATALYST initiative as well as the SPIRES research agenda to extends research space beyond institutional contexts by engaging with community projects and processes that integrate social and physical research. The proposal considers how faculty, students and community organisations engage in a collaborative process that translates academic knowledge, promotes civic responsibility and leads to positive social change.