Puhlkari by Kira Bhumber. Photographer: Andrew Howell. Used with permission

Ground Works is a platform for exemplary arts-inclusive research projects and reflection on the processes that drive interdisciplinary collaboration.

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Vibrant Ecologies of Research

Editor: Aaron D. Knochel

What are the elements necessary to create a vibrant ecology of research where art and design inquiry may flourish alongside, within, and out of social and physical science research that is so deeply embedded within the fiber of research-oriented universities? In this special collection of Ground Works, the project work and commentaries explore vibrant ecologies of research, deepening our understanding of the institutional, social, and epistemological systems that effectively weave arts-based inquiry into the scholarly fabric of research.

August 2022 · 10.48807/2022.2.0001 · CC-BY-NC

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Vibrant Ecologies of Research Wins Award from Council of Editors of Learned Journals
January 12, 2023

a2ru Ground Works has been honored by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) with its 2022 “Best Special Issue” award for Vibrant Ecologies of Research. T...


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Featured Articles

Green Light SONATA: Improvisation at the Intersection of Art and Science

Montasir Abbas, Charles Nichols, Anne Elise Thomas, and Qichao Wang

The Green Light SONATA project originated with a hunch in the engineering domain, but could only materialize through true collaboration of researchers working across disciplines. The project tested the hypothesis that translating simulated traffic information into music could lead to musical resolution of persistent traffic congestion. Our team—consisting of civil engineers, a composer/performer/computer music researcher, and an ethnomusicologist—proceeded to construct a model of an intersection in which each direction of traffic flow was assigned a musical pitch. Hearing these pitches as cues, musicians could interact with the sonified traffic to allow vehicles to proceed through the intersection. The result was a musical “gamification” of traffic flow in which the goal was to minimize the vehicles’ idle time. The next stage of this project will include public demonstration and testing sessions, involving students and additional musicians, to assess the concept’s viability, refine our methods, and gather further data. The team’s multidisciplinary dialogue takes us on productive tangents translating between different domains of musical and technical expertise. Moving forward, we plan to test additional methods of data sonification, manipulating additional musical variables (including pulse and rhythm, sequence, scales, ornaments, and other musical elements) and scaling up to model multiple consecutive intersections.

October 2020 · 10.48807/2020.0054

Cultural Engagements in Nutrition, Arts and Sciences (CENAS)

Tamara Underiner, Stephani Etheridge Woodson, Robert Karimi, and Seline Szkupinski Quiroga

Borrowing the Spanish word for “dinner,” CENAS is a transdisciplinary working group of scholars and artists developing, implementing and evaluating innovative approaches to healthy eating at the individual and community level, with arts practices at its center. Since 2012, CENAS has been involved with training, workshops, curriculum development, and research into the following questions: (1) Can the arts in general, and theatre-making in particular, empower individuals and communities to take charge of their health? (2) How does theatre-making relate to individual attitudinal and behavioral change? (3) What role does culture play in health? (4) Are the arts more effective in the long term than more traditional educational practices? Our research with young people and community health workers suggests that cooking together, combined with theatre-making activities, is linked positively to “I can do this” attitudes. We believe making theatre, more than merely watching it, is the key. We link the various components involved in making theatre together to factors identified by health scientists as necessary for attitudinal and behavioral change to occur. A growing body of research suggests the importance of culturally informed interventions in health promotion, yet most definitions of “culture” are pretty narrow. We are working to develop a more robust and nuanced accounting for cultural background as health asset, initially through embodied storytelling practices and theatre-making drawn from participants’ experiences of home cooking.

January 2018 · 10.48807/2020.0004

ASKXXI: Ecologies of Interdisciplinary Research and Practice in Art + Science and Technology

Genevieve G. Tremblay, Jeff Brice, Fernanda X. Oyarzún, Nélida Pohl, and Belén Gallardo

ASKXXI: Arts + Science Knowledge Building and Sharing in the XXI (21st) Century was a US-Chile pilot program fostering inquiry and inter-hemispheric collaboration in art, emerging technologies, and the ecological sciences. Funded through a US Embassy public diplomacy grant, ASKXXI was an adaptive curriculum model situated on a collaborative platform of academic partners. This model provided freedom, flexibility, and responsiveness to dynamic learning and professional development opportunities. The year-long pilot was customized to a jury-selected cohort of Chilean professionals working at the intersection of art and science. Experiential, site-based workshops in arts, ecology, embryology, biomechanics, technology research, and science communication provided exposure to frontier research scientists, data visualization and immersive technology innovators, as well as contemporary artists focused on ecology. Despite the inherent challenges in launching such an independent and distributed program, ASKXXI expanded professional capacities and opportunities. Most importantly, the program activated a thriving ecosystem of practitioners working on pressing issues of sustainability, biodiversity loss, and climate change in both regions. An “ecology of practices” is the framework of our transdisciplinary pilot that tested the feasibility of interhemispheric knowledge exchange, interdisciplinary and institutional collaboration, and impact-focused cultural and scientific diplomacy.

August 2022 · 10.48807/2022.0.0068 · CC-BY-NC-ND

Featured Commentaries

Author commentary on Machines That Dream

A Reflection on 'Machines that Dream'

Benjamin David Robert Bogart

My aim is not merely to make use of knowledge in cognitive neuroscience, but to contribute through the generative capacity of artistic practice. However, the work remains in limbo, unpublished in disciplinary contexts and merely summarized in interdisciplinary journals.

November 2020 · 10.48807/2022.1.0001

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Invited commentary on Vibrant Ecologies of Research

Cripping Media Art Ecologies

Lindsey D. Felt and Vanessa Chang

By remaking the creative design cycle through an accessibility and disability justice lens, Leonardo CripTech Incubator scaffolds new forms of artistic access. Bringing a disability justice lens to art-and-technology research practice and to this incubator’s design, we position ourselves as facilitators in this vibrant ecology, calling up other critical voices in this process. 

August 2022 · 10.48807/2022.1.0011 · CC-BY-NC-SA

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