Background, Context and Acknowledgements

Ground Works is a compendium of exemplary interdisciplinary arts-inclusive collaborative research projects, and a hub for reflection on the processes that drive such work.

Institutional Partners and Leads

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities ( a2ru ), a national network of 40+ research universities, is leading implementation of the GroundWorks platform. Because GroundWorks spotlights exemplary arts-centered research projects and provides a platform for reflection on the processes that drive interdisciplinary collaborative work, it speaks to issues that are central to a2ru’s mission. a2ru fosters and champions the role of the arts and design in research universities, and the GroundWorks peer-reviewed space for arts-integrative projects substantially advances that work.

Carnegie Mellon University ( CMU ) is leading the technical development and implementation of the GroundWorks platform. This project draws on two past community platforms developed at CMU. These are XSEAD - an NSF-funded project to curate collaborations across traditional disciplines - and MakeSchools a platform that cataloged the effects of the maker movement in US Higher education through dynamic contributions. Best practice and lessons learned from both will inform the mechanisms, practices and processes embedded in GroundWorks. CMU's expertise will be used to prepare a socio-technical system to foster cross-cutting exchange and develop a community of practice around art-integrative research.

Committee and Coordination

Who’s participating in this project from shaping ideas to forming the editorial boards.


Current Team

Ground Works Editorial Board 2020

Ground Works Advisory Board 2019-2020

History and Context

Out of a2ru’s early Mellon-funded research (2012-2015) emerged several arts-integrative “proto-fields” at research universities: Arts & Health, Arts & Entrepreneurship, Creative Placemaking, and SEAD (projects at the intersection of science, engineering, arts, and design). a2ru committed to supporting program development within each of these areas, and understood that a key concern for SEAD projects is peer-reviewed publication; many faculty working at the interstices among disciplines find that their work doesn’t neatly fit the guidelines of traditional peer-reviewed journals, either because it defies disciplinary categorization or because its outcome is not a textual artifact. Working closely with staff from Leonardo, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Illinois, we envisioned an online platform that provides rigorous peer-review for boundary-breaking arts-integrative work. The platform would meet important needs for arts-integrative faculty, institutions and research, and open a space for reflection on the processes that drive arts-integrative projects. Through an iterative and intensely collaborative process, we defined guiding principles, criteria, and operations for the GroundWorks platform that now launches in 2019 with a special a2ru Conference Edition.

What’s next

Moving into 2020, GroundWorks will accept submissions on a rolling basis, with a standing Editorial Board and a stable of reviewers. All submissions will move through a two-stage review process; accepted submissions will be featured on the platform. GroundWorks will be a showcase for projects that spark meaningful dialogue among the disciplines even as they keep the arts at their core. Furthermore, GroundWorks editorial staff will select exemplary projects to be case studies in collaboration, interrogating and exposing the processes that underpin successful interdisciplinary collaboration.