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UGA joins national arts research consortium a2ru

A2RU Mark Abbe infared light
Mark Abbe demonstrates one of the photographic techniques he uses to determine specific pigments and materials used on sculptures. UGA has joined the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has joined the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, known as a2ru, a consortium of almost three dozen research-intensive universities committed to advancing interdisciplinary, arts-oriented research.

The Willson Center for Humanities and Arts has initiated a new faculty research cluster that will serve as UGA’s point of connection to a2ru. Along with the Willson Center, the university’s membership is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Arts Council, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Lamar Dodd School of Art and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Arts Council Chair and Vice Provost Russell Mumper said that “the mission of the council is to foster an awareness and appreciation of the arts and to create an environment conducive to artistic innovation. The council seeks to involve all students in the arts as part of their educational experience, and to foster mutual and beneficial collaboration among campus units to integrate the arts into the fabric of the university. Therefore, joining a2ru is an important milestone for UGA and the council.”

“The University of Georgia’s growing faculty interest in arts research and interdisciplinary ventures aligns perfectly with a2ru’s core mission,” said Laurie Baefsky, executive director of a2ru. “The Willson Center’s broad programming within the arts and humanities will add much to a2ru’s expanding network and influence. I look forward to UGA’s participation and contributions as a2ru’s 35th partner.” UGA will participate in a2ru’s national conference Nov. 3-5 at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Joining the consortium is an important symbol of UGA’s commitment to art’s inclusion in interdisciplinary research and teaching, and it aligns UGA with other institutions that share this forward-thinking philosophy, said Chris Garvin, director of the art school. “Membership in a2ru allows UGA to join with other research universities who want to position the arts at the heart of academic life, treating them as a significant means of inquiry, integral to problem-solving and the production of knowledge.”

The faculty research cluster will be directed by Isabelle Loring Wallace, associate director of research and graduate studies at the art school and Willson Center associate academic director for arts and a2ru.

“The University of Georgia is deeply committed to arts-oriented research,” said Wallace, an associate professor of art history. “Through existing, interdisciplinary, campus-wide initiatives, it affirms the many intellectual benefits of art’s integration and asserts its indispensability for the production of advanced research. Membership in a2ru and the Willson Center’s new research cluster are further evidence of these priorities.”

The research cluster is accepting grant proposals from full-time, research-budgeted faculty. Projects may be creative or scholarly in form, and they may be disciplinary or interdisciplinary in scope. More information including instructions for applications is available at

To learn more about the national a2ru organization, visit