Hub Residencies

Hub Residencies support community-based collaborative projects that engage a topic of important public interest and involve at least one community partner (individual, group, or organization) and one person (faculty or staff) affiliated with the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts.

Resources Provided

  • Up to $15,000 (full funding for requests is not guaranteed)
  • Priority access to the Hub Space, which includes a large open space designed to accommodate a variety of activities, hybrid event technology, a kitchenette, and reception area.
  • Access to university resources, depending on the nature of the project. These might include (but are not limited to) UMN Libraries privileges, media support, subject expertise, or technological assistance.
  • The opportunity to engage and/or lead dialogues, as desired, with university faculty and staff and community partners in connection to your project.
  • The opportunity for community and connection with other Hub residents.
  • Access to the university’s Google workspace, virtual private network (VPN), and secure WiFi.
  • Assistance with event promotion and project amplification via The Hub’s network, including our biweekly newsletter and social media channels.

Eligibility

Applications will be accepted from any of the following: 

  • College of Liberal Arts faculty members, instructors, and/or staff
  • Community members and/or community groups/organizations
  • University of Minnesota departments and collaborative groups (such as Grand Challenges research groups or Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshops) that involve faculty or staff from the College of Liberal Arts

Applicants from the college must partner with community members and/or community organizations in order for their proposal to be reviewed. Community members and organizations must partner with College of Liberal Arts faculty or staff in order for their proposal to be reviewed.

We encourage applications for projects that involve undergraduate and graduate students.

If you are a community member or organization and need assistance identifying a College of Liberal Arts faculty or staff partner, or if you are a student interested in pursuing a residency, contact Amanda Steepleton, Hub Program Manager, at stee0260@umn.edu or 612-624-1811.

Projects

Projects may be new or ongoing. They may vary in size, scope, and duration but must, by their nature, necessitate periodic access to The Hub (i.e., proposals should not be for one-time events). They should be collaborative and facilitate reciprocal engagement between College of Liberal Arts faculty/staff and community members/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 of public engagement in the humanities (as defined by Humanities for All):

  • Inform contemporary debates
  • Amplify community voices and histories
  • Help individuals and communities navigate difficult experiences
  • Expand educational access
  • Preserve culture in times of crisis and change

Applications

Applications for 2024-2025 Hub Residencies have closed.

If you would like to see the Hub space in person or have questions about the Liberal Arts Engagement Hub, the Hub Residencies, or the application process, please email Amanda Steepleton, Hub Program Manager, at stee0260@umn.edu or call 612-624-1811.

2023-24 Hub Residencies

The following projects received Hub residencies for the 2023-24 academic year.

In 2015, a group of multiply-marginalized disabled activists and artists came together out of frustration with the mainstream Disability Rights Movement. As people of color, queer / trans folk, women / femmes, and people living in poverty, this group of disabled organizers yearned for a social justice movement that would address the multidimensional oppressions they experience and witness within their communities. What emerged were the 10 Principles of Disability Justice and a framework for social change committed to leaving no one behind.    

We are a local group of disabled activists, organizers, educators, and advocates working to foster Disability Justice (DJ) in Minnesota. During this Hub residency, we’ll work with our campus partner, the Critical Disability Studies Collective, to form a local DJ organization and plan the inaugural DJ in MN Summit. Our project aims to explicitly promote local disability histories and culture through uplifting the voices of multiply-marginalized disabled folk. By doing so, we’ll prioritize community, connection, and relationships as a radical act toward transformation justice.

As Indigenous and ally researchers, we grapple with tensions related to our participation in the academy as we seek and maintain (re)connection with our own communities and Indigenous peoples elsewhere/everywhere. In this project, we bring forward opportunities and acts that empower liberatory thinking, ethical research relationships, and re-humanizing pedagogies with Indigenous communities and tribal institutions that center Indigenous environmental issues that can be confronted through the relationship between science, art, and education.

The project also explicitly addresses the nature and meaning of connection—between Indigenous peoples and universities and between Indigenous researchers and each other, our home communities, and non-Indigenous researchers. We explore definitions and practices of connection that are critical for Indigenous survival, adaptability, and resurgence through global shifts. As co-leaders representing diverse projects, organizations, communities, and fields, we approach this project with firm commitment to Indigenous knowledge systems in Minnesota and beyond. Three cycles will structure our work, including 1) interepistemic dialogic exchange among co-leaders, 2) exploring locations and contexts of contested knowledge in our departments, colleges, communities, and organizations and if/how the sciences, arts, and education are envisioned for Indigenous community connection and pedagogical possibility, and 3) addressing and co-building Indigenous research methodologies and applications that bridge the sciences, arts, and education and that honor Tribal, Indigenous, and Native institutional desires.

Project Partners:

  • Dr. Bianet Castellanos (CLA, American Studies/IAS, Professor/Director)
  • Dr. Crystal Ng (CSE, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Associate Professor)
  • Steve Smith, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, enrolled member of White Earth (CFANS, Ph.D. Student)
  • Dr. Darlene St. Clair, Bdewakaƞtuƞwaƞ Daḳota, enrolled member of Lower Sioux Indian Community (St. Cloud State University, Dakota Wicohan curriculum project/Lower Sioux Art Incubator)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sumida Huaman, Wanka/Quechua (CLA/CEHD; American Studies/ American Indian Studies/Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies/Organizational Leadership, Policy, & Development; Associate Professor)
  • Dr. Bhaskar Upadhyay (CEHD; Organizational Leadership, Policy, & Development; Professor)
  • Phoebe Young, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe descendant (CLA, American Studies/American Indian Studies, Ph.D. Student)

Community Creates is a year-long series designed to connect University of Minnesota students with local businesses, organizations, activists, organizers, and storytellers. Understanding the “why” and the “how” behind some of your favorite local shops, organizers, and activists lends a unique perspective to students interested in working within a community after college. Memorialize the Movement (MTM) offers students a chance to hear their stories and learn from their lived experiences. 

The Community Creates series will be split into two parts; part one will involve inviting students to participate in our monthly Paint to Express (PTE) workshops hosted in collaboration with community partners. Each workshop will be held in a different location in collaboration with a small business or organization. These partners will facilitate a conversation about what they do and how and why their work is important to the communities they serve. The second part will be monthly PTE workshops held at The Hub, featuring collaborations between MTM and College of Liberal Arts departments. MTM will collaborate with a different department for each workshop to lead a guided conversation with students about how our differences can be leveraged to build stronger community bonds.

Minnesota is home to a talented group of Latinx photographers who hail from diverse countries of origin including including Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and more. Photography Narratives of MN Latinx Immigrants aims to put these artists' artwork and unique perspectives into conversation with one another through oral history interviews and the creation of a multimedia collection of their photographs, which will be shared through social media, live presentations, and exhibitions. These narratives will contribute to contemporary debates tied to immigration, Latinx experiences in America, and community belonging.

This residency project is a collaborative initiative led by Serpentina Arts, a collective of Latinx artists working to foster creativity and professional development throughout their community, in partnership with the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, the Department of Art, and the Immigration History Research Center. 

The Hmong Cultural Center (HCC) Museum opened in the fall of 2021 as one of the only permanent Hmong cultural and historical spaces in the United States. Located on University Avenue in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul, the museum seeks to introduce the community, both Hmong and non-Hmong, to the culture and history of the Hmong people, including the community’s history in the Twin Cities. The HCC also serves as a resource to recent immigrants, teaching citizenship classes and helping educate Hmong youth in Hmong cultural traditions. Led by Andre Kobayashi Deckrow, a postdoctoral associate in the Heritage Studies and Public History program and the Department of History, and Dr. Mark Pfeiffer, the director of programs and development at the HCC, the partnership seeks to expand the scope and reach of the museum while utilizing the expertise of the University to make historical materials available to scholars in the field of Hmong studies and the community at large.

This residency consists of three separate components. The first will see University of Minnesota students build new interactive digital exhibitions and a new digital archives showcasing Hmong history and culture to museum visitors. Students and faculty will also work with the museum to develop two new curricula on the exhibitions to help middle and high school teachers better contextualize their students’ visits to the HCC Museum. Second, with help from the University of Minnesota Libraries and the Immigration History Research Center Archives, the residency will digitize and make accessible to the public the museum’s collection of early Hmong newspapers in the Twin Cities that span almost 25 years. Lastly, the residency will bring the museum to campus and campus to the museum through temporary exhibitions and programming in consultation with Hmong scholars and students at the University of Minnesota. Together, this residency will help broaden the museum’s offerings and introduce the University community to the HCC Museum and Library, while also giving voice to the Hmong community both on campus and in the Twin Cities.

This residency is supported by the Immigration History Research Center.

Sound Stories is a public composition experiment to explore individual and communal resilience through sound. It will build material artifacts with community members and foster narratives of what it means to voice resistance, resonance, and resilience.

By transforming the physical space of The Hub into a Collaboratory, this multi-sensorial performance environment explores the diverse ways in which audio frequencies and vibrations can be made visible, despite efforts to drown out voices. Using technologies of sound, this project engages with the experience of dissent and its erasure, encouraging participation from various social, cultural, historical, and personal standpoints. The project will ultimately pry open questions about what secrets are at stake when one truly listens, what wider world sound brings to the surface, how sound comes to be designated as “noise,” and how (and to whom or to what) we attribute noisiness. Finally, it asks: can we “see” silence or the act of silencing? Using a combination of live vocalizing, laser pointers, environmental scans, and corporeal experiences, this project will grapple with these questions, as well as the tether between sound and displacement, cacophony and enforced silence.

Sign up to participate: Sound Stories Workshop Registration

Project Partners:

  • Zoe Cinel (Interdisciplinary Artist in Installation and New Media, Curator)
  • Dr. Ritika Ganguly (Anthropologist, Performance Artist, 2021 McKnight Composer Fellow)
  • Dr. Nida Sajid (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Assistant Professor)

Soomaal House Archive Fellowship is an opportunity for artists, scholars, and researchers interested in the history of Somalia, the Horn of Africa, and Somalis in the diaspora. The fellowship will provide resources, connections, and access for the development and presentation of new research into Somali archive collections. The fellows are encouraged to make scholarly contributions and investigate the materials of Soomaal House Library & Archive Center, which houses three collections: Contemporary Somali Art and Artists, History of Somali Minnesotans, and Historical Archive of Somalia & Somalis in the diaspora.

For the 2023-2024 program, in partnership with the Immigration History Research Center Archives, the fellowship will host SITAAD – Leyla Degan (Italy) and Naima Hassan (United Kingdom). At Soomaal House, the duo will initiate the first iteration of their project, Transmigrating Cassettes, which departs from the popular medium of the audio-cassette to examine dispersed colonial collections. SITAAD’s artistic research on Augustus F. Sherman’s Ellis Island photography collection of Somali passengers will inform a series of community workshops held in Minneapolis.  

The experiences of Black Europeans have been largely excluded from mainstream media both in Europe and in the United States, resulting in a lack of representation and limited opportunities for enrichment, appreciation, understanding, and cultural exchange. The Twin Cities Black Europe Film Festival (TC BEFF) contributes to redressing this gap in visibility and recognition, which contributes to the reproduction of racialized regimes of disempowerment, marginalization, and devaluation of Black lives across the globe. With longstanding traumas of Western European colonialism and contemporary migration displacements, as well as a unique sense of vibrancy, creativity, and worldmaking, Black European filmmakers grapple with complicated inheritances and thrive beyond the available paradigms that whiteness has to offer. TC BEFF gives voice to an underrepresented reality and provides a platform for Black European filmmakers to showcase their work, network, connect with audiences, and build community within the global Black diaspora.

During their Residency at The Hub, festival directors Fred Kudjo Kuwornu (Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker, producer, civil right activist, and educator) and Lorenzo Fabbri (French & Italian, Associate Professor) will work with university and community partners on a holistic engagement plan, which will make TC BEFF a community-centered initiative, as well as an innovative public humanities effort. The festival will be designed for and with the Minnesota Black and BIPOC communities and will serve as a platform to inspire, uplift, and empower underserved groups and youth in the Twin Cities area.

*Thank you to the Visiting Faculty Seed Fund, which is supporting Memorialize the Movement Presents: Community CreatesPhotography Narratives of MN Latinx Immigrants, and Soomaal House Archive Fellowship. This fund was established to maximize the college's ability to connect to and create collaborations with external intellectual leaders and the organizations hosting them.

 

2022-23 Hub Residencies

The following projects received Hub residencies for the 2022-23 academic year.

Motorists do not see the injustices of freeways as they drive through a city. The construction of interstate highways in Minneapolis and St. Paul destroyed and divided Black communities, while white communities reaped the benefits, a pattern played out in cities across the United States. In Minneapolis alone, one in twenty city residents was displaced by freeway construction between 1960 and 1968.

This residency will serve as physical and intellectual infrastructure for the production of Human Tolls: Public Histories and Community Responses to Twin Cities’ Freeways, a community-engaged book project with essays contributed by multiple authors to be edited by Associate Professor Greg Donofrio and his community collaborator Dr. Ernest Lloyd. It will provide space for collaborators and authors to host public events to present, discuss, and receive feedback on the content and design of each chapter in draft form.

Human Tolls, Hidden Stories

The Juneteenth Project will bring together the dramatic arts with local and national histories of Black communities to give youth a holistic perspective on the last two centuries of Black History. Youth actors will be selected to participate in a rendition of Rose McGee's play Kumbayah: A Juneteenth Story, which envisions the advent of Juneteenth in Texas.

As part of their preparation to enact the play, students will participate in a series of field trips and study circles that reflect on histories of Black struggle in the Twin Cities and wider United States. This project will offer a multifaceted reflection on Black History as a local and national phenomenon.

Juneteenth Then and Now

This residency expands the relationship of the Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL), a program of Augsburg University and the University of Minnesota, to allow more Twin Cities middle and high school students the opportunity to engage in dialogue about critical current issues.

Building upon a strong foundation of their partnership with the UMN Policy Debate Team, this residency will allow MNUDL to increase their outreach and build capacity for their debate programming.

The Hub will host multiple debate tournaments, volunteer judge training, and coach recruitment events. Through this residency, MNUDL will recruit more fluent Spanish speakers to serve as Spanish Debate League judges, members of the East African community to serve as judges for East African Debate, and women pursuing careers in finance to serve as judges for our Financial Literacy Leadership Debates program, as well as engage more deeply with student groups, language departments, and Greek Life.

For the Students: Minnesota Urban Debate League Creates Future Leaders

We are an independent community of practice, made up of activist-educators dedicated to transformative community-based teaching. Like the founders of The Hub, we believe renewed civic imagination and transformative change can result from leveraging the resources of the University toward collaborative, community-led action. Through convening a series of talking circles combining community members and students, we aim to imagine new possibilities for a “multi-versity” at the University of Minnesota where co-learning is integrated within civic life locally and globally.

Liberal Arts Connect at The Hub: Creating “Multiversity” Through Connected Learning

The Voice to Vision collaborative project captures the extraordinary experiences of individuals who experienced human rights abuses or genocide, through the process of making art. Memories are revealed and shared through the decision-making of images related to their stories. The storytellers from diverse communities work with a team of artists to create works of art that express their memories; the results are sometimes painful, often poignant, and always profound.

Voice to Vision is directed by David Feinberg in cooperation with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Voice to Vision: Finding the Unexpected Significance in Survivor Stories

 

2021-22 Hub Residencies

The following projects received Hub residencies for the 2021-22 academic year.

This collaboration between Mixed Blood Theatre and the Department of English will bring professional actors to English undergraduate classes, energizing student learning, opening up University classrooms to fresh perspectives, and connecting to and supporting diverse Twin Cities cultural communities and celebrated artists. A pioneering company in the University’s West Bank neighborhood, Mixed Blood’s mission is to address “injustices, inequities, and cultural collisions, providing a voice for the unheard.”

This project makes possible in-person enactments of course texts, an upgrade from the initial 2020-21 virtual project, which gave hundreds of students a new way of experiencing the vitality of literature and engaged more than 20 actors. These visits will continue to generate fruitful classroom conversations in which actors and students share their diverse stories (and their relationships to and interpretations of wide-ranging course texts), enabling the simultaneous preservation of and the challenging/re-envisioning of cultures and histories.

  • Andrew Elfenbein, Department of English and Mixed Blood Theatre
  • Terri Sutton, communications specialist in Department of English
  • Catherine Campbell, production manager for Mixed Blood Theatre

Read the full story about En/Acting Joyful Learning

Maji ya Chai Land Sanctuary is a Black-founded and -led organization working towards Black liberation by creating a nature-based space for Black healing, joy, and thriving in northeast Minnesota.

 

Maji ya Chai's Hub residency will provide a space for discussion and planning for the land sanctuary among diverse cohorts who will collaborate around the issues of Black land ownership, healing, and rest for people of the African diaspora, the importance of culturally-rooted architecture and design, and BIPOC youth engagement and empowerment.

  • Rebeka Ndosi, founder and executive director Maji ya Chai Land Sanctuary
  • Dr. Abimbola Asojo, lead designer for Maji ya Chai Land Sanctuary, associate dean for research, creative scholarship, and engagement and professor of interior design College of Design 

Read the full story about Maji ya Chai Land Sanctuary

This project is oriented around the Twin Cities music scene, which is still recovering from the pandemic. It combines a series of hybrid in-person/live-streamed performances and conversations, along with rehearsals and production meetings, all taking place in the Hub space. 

The Sound of Precarity gives musicians a chance to talk about the effects of the pandemic on their lives and livelihoods and amplify their voices in a supportive environment. It also provides paid opportunities for musicians to perform in front of live and virtual audiences consisting of University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff, and community members. In addition, the project will document and preserve local musical culture and this particular moment in history via audio and video recordings.

  • Sumanth Gopinath, School of Music
  • Teresa Gowan, Department of Sociology
  • Elizabeth Hartman, Department of American Studies

Read the rest of the story about The Sound of Precarity