Hub Residencies

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

Those who 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 University's 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 the residency year, the Hub will provide an opportunity for residency project leaders to serve on the Hub Advisory Committee to review future project applications and advise on the Hub’s ongoing operation. The intent to serve on the committee entails a serious commitment of participation and involvement in the various planning components that may occur throughout the year.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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


2020-21 Hub Residencies

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 



Applicants can be:

  • College of Liberal Arts faculty members, instructors, and staff
  • Community members and/or organizations
  • University of Minnesota 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. 

Applicants from the University 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.

If you are a community member or organization and you need assistance identifying a College of Liberal Arts faculty or staff partner, contact Amanda Steepleton, Hub Program Manager.


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