Hub Residencies

Liberal Arts Engagement Hub Pilot: Hub Residency

Apply for a Hub Residency 
Applications are being accepted until May 7, 2021.

A Hub residency provides space for public engagement initiatives to faculty, students, staff, and/or community members through an application process for limited periods of time (e.g., a semester during the academic year, a month during the summer, etc.).

Projects that are granted a residency are required to adopt an ethos of responsibility and custodianship as they care for the physical space and control access to it for the specified period. Unlike the many available classroom spaces on campus, which see the ebb and flow of traffic throughout the day and are booked for one-off events outside of class meeting times, and are primarily owned by the Office of Classroom Management, this space will require an investment of time and energy by its users, a sense of responsibility for a public trust.

In addition, at the end of their occupancy of the Hub space, one or more leaders of the residency project will be expected to serve on the Hub Advisory Committee to review future project applications and advise on the Hub’s ongoing operation.

2020-21 Hub Residencies

The following projects received Hub residencies for the 2020-21 academic year.

    Ecosong.Net: Fulfilling UMN’s Public Land Grant Mission through Creative Public Engagement

    Ecosong.Net uses collaborative media production to support local communities' stewardship efforts. This work revolves around the creation of Song Gardens. Partnering with the Riverside Plaza Tenants Association, Metro Blooms, residents of Marcy Holmes, and Atomic K Studios, we have recorded musicians from each community as they perform songs created specifically for their local rain garden. A plaque has been "planted" in each garden listing its song and a QR code that allows visitors to give it a listen.

    Together we have created song gardens in Cedar-Riverside, Marcy-Holmes, Northeast, and one at Rapson Hall, becoming focal points for community efforts to foster biodiversity, ecological awareness, and environmental justice. This year our community partners, guest artists, and UMN students will spread these seeds of awareness to new song gardens and social media, showing how the liberal arts can be a catalyst for community change.

    Friends of Midway Peace Park: Community-Empowered Curriculum = Community-Powered Parks

    In year two of a U of M Hub residency, Friends of Midway Peace Park (formed during residency year one) will continue congregating, demystifying, and systematizing community engagement techniques for Midway Peace Park. 

    To preserve and promote more of this collaborative work, a website will be developed that shares the park's story, delivers park interpretation in multiple languages, hosts the primary park calendar and city park reservation link, and assists educators to replicate work like this in more classrooms.

    At a later stage of the project, a summit will occur at The Hub about the Midway Peace Park story intended to inspire future educators and staff at the University of Minnesota to enter into similar collaborations.

    Hallie Q. Brown Community Archive

    The Hallie Q. Brown Community Archive (CA) is comprised of more than 2000 artifacts of the Black experience in Minnesota dating from the mid-nineteenth century forward. HQB stands as an important site of community memories and collaboration for Black people in Minnesota. Our Hub Residency will focus on designing and producing in-house photo exhibits and interactive digital displays; producing online materials for audiences restricted by current COVID-19 policy or who are outside Minnesota; and creating curriculum modules and training for K-12 educators.

    Metro Blooms/The Backyard Phenology Project 

    This effort will involve many partners, including a key collaboration between Metro Blooms and The Backyard Phenology Project to amplify the voices of the community through stories gathered during a multi-year community effort to engage environmental justice communities in the Phillips, Corcoran, and Harrison neighborhoods of Minneapolis to replace traditional turf with wildlife-friendly native plants. The collaboration will support efforts to build pathways to careers in green infrastructure by building community and university connections, sharing our stories and experience, and using data and science to guide us. The project and measures of success will ultimately be defined by the community youth and young adults who will be equitably compensated to take leadership roles in helping to define and implement the project.

    The Power of African Languages and Oral Tradition

    We foreground the power of African languages and oral tradition to shape historical consciousness and diasporic sensibility. Often, stories told and read, as well as words and phrases uttered in one’s own first language bring a sense of immediacy and nearness in palpable ways, particularly among peoples of the diaspora. For many Africans in Minnesota, in particular, the language can literally become a place of habitation, where recollections of home and family, combined with their own distinct experiences of migration, displacement, and dispersal collide in dynamic ways to produce a sense of belonging and togetherness, as well as irresolution.

    We hope to encourage such unexpected connection-making among students who enroll in our Somali and Swahili language courses, instructors, and community partners to foster both creativity and community building. This grant will allow us to shape the (1) pilot podcast program curated and produced by Julia Nekessa Opoti called “The Power of African Languages and Oral Tradition” and (2) two-day Somali language and literature study circle led by Said Salah Ahmed. 

    Applying for a Hub Residency


    Applicants can be:

    • College of Liberal Arts faculty members, instructors, and staff
    • Community members with a College of Liberal Arts faculty or staff sponsor
    • Departments and collaborative groups that involve College of Liberal Arts faculty or staff (such as Grand Challenges research groups or Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshops [ICWs])

    We encourage proposals that centrally involve undergraduate and graduate student participation. Community members and organizations must have a College of Liberal Arts faculty or staff sponsor to facilitate the use of the space and other University resources. 


    Projects may vary in size, scope, and duration but must, by their nature, necessitate ongoing access to space (that is, proposals should not be for one-time events). They should be collaborative and facilitate reciprocal engagement with community members and groups around topics of important public interest.  

    The most competitive projects will be those that align with at least one, and potentially more, of the following purposes:

    • Informing contemporary debates
    • Amplifying community voices and histories
    • Helping individuals and communities navigate difficult experiences
    • Expanding educational access
    • Preserving culture in times of crisis and change 

    Priority will be given to projects that constitute one or both of the following types of engagement:

    • Engaged research—research initiatives in which higher education faculty and students partner with community members in the creation of knowledge
    • Engaged teaching—higher education instruction involving engaged research, teaching, and public programming