UCSB Selected as Home of UC Institute for Research in the Arts

UC Santa Barbara has been selected as the new home of the UC Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA).

"I am delighted that UCSB has won the competition to be the host campus for the UC Institute for Research in the Arts," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.

"The visionary and collaborative nature of this institute is a perfect fit with the spirit of cross-disciplinary research, bold intellectual inquiry, and artistic creativity that thrives here at UCSB."

Under UCSB's leadership, the institute will expand beyond its traditional approach of funding art projects, to include an "ambitious range of programs and activities that will support the work of UC artists, encourage new forms of collaboration across campuses, and raise the profile of the arts in the UC system and the state as a whole," said Dante Noto, UC systemwide director of arts, humanities, and social science research, whose office oversees the 56-year-old program.

UCIRA is the only statewide organization representing the arts on UC's nine general campuses.

The institute will advocate for new paradigms of artistic collaboration with expanded partnerships among UC faculty and students and museums and other arts institutions, community arts projects, and visiting artists programs.

Campus co-directors are Kim Yasuda, professor and former chair of art, and Dick Hebdige, professor of art and film studies and current director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, where the institute will be located beginning July 1.

David Marshall, UCSB dean of humanities and fine arts, who worked with Yasuda and Hebdige on the winning proposal, said, "We would like to make UCIRA an advocate for the arts and help make the case to policy makers and legislators that the arts make a crucial contribution to California's culture and economy."

Hebdige sees exciting research possibilities in expanding UCIRA's traditional approach.

In addition to funding art projects, the agency could foster research that might illuminate the creative processes.

"We're interested in tapping into that combination of critical energy and creative imagination that goes into the making of art," he said.

Arts education, too, has entrepreneurial aspects. For example, an arts education can encourage different ways of thinking outside the norm. "Artists are remarkably adept at taking risks, at negotiating the terrain of uncertainty," said Yasuda. "Qualities of resourcefulness and fluidity are necessary to remain an innovator in today's cultural climate."

The multicampus program, which began as a way to bring outside artists in to tour UC campuses, has been at UC Irvine in recent years where it focused on funding innovative art and artists at UC campuses.

Before its stay at Irvine, it was based at UC San Diego and UCLA.

UCRIA will be housed at UCSB for the next five years.

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