The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities is pleased to announce that two projects connected with IPRH are recipients of Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities awards from the University of Illinois System. A nearly $2 million initiative, the Presidential Initiative was established to promote the strength of the humanities and the arts at our universities, as well as the many and multifaceted possibilities for community impact and public good. Fourteen projects were selected from more than 50 proposals across the three universities.
- Led by Antoinette Burton (IPRH), and Janice N. Harrington (Creative Writing), A Year of Creative Writers at Illinois will foster conversations with and about creative writers by bringing them to audiences across the U of I System. Writers at all states of their careers will highlight a range of genres and share their current work and their reflections on the creative writing process. The year-long celebration will culminate in a “Festival of Writers” event in Urbana in November 2020 with a series of events featuring authors from established names to emerging voices.
- The Art of Medicine: A Public Square on Health and Medicine for the Illinois System, led by Stephanie Hilger (Germanic Languages & Literatures) and Justine Murison (English), is an interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty in the humanities at all three U of I System universities with the goal of creating a medical humanities program and curriculum that bridges the humanities and health sciences for students seeking careers in health. One aspect will be dedicated to the building of a medical humanities curriculum for both undergraduates at Illinois and medical students at the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Another involves creating “public squares,” such as exhibits and discussions with scholarly experts, students, community experts, activists, artists, and health professionals around various health issues.
Of the proposals selected this year, almost all were allocated $100,000 or more and eight will receive $150,000 or more. The Art of Medicine extends the work of the Medical Humanities Research Cluster, supported by IPRH, and reflects the fruition of this cluster’s work and collaborative inquiry. Congratulations to everyone who has participated in the Medical Humanities research cluster the past two years, most especially Professors Hilger, Murison, Jonathan Inda (Latina/o Studies, Cluster co-founder) and Rana Hogarth (History, Cluster co-director, 2018–19). Special thanks to Professor Ruby Mendenhall (Assistant Dean, Carle Illinois College of Medicine) and the other members of the Cluster for their help in crafting the proposal. The work of this cluster is co-sponsored by Carle Illinois College of Medicine and The Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies.
Many other of our wonderful Urbana-Champaign based colleagues are leading or participating in imaginative, transformational projects, including current IPRH Fellows Rini Bhattacharya Mehta, Anita Chan, and Kathryn Oberdeck. For more information on those and a full list of recipients see the System’s website: U of I System invests $2.5 million in arts and humanities. We extend our heartiest congratulations to all the successful recipients and look forward to sharing more information about these projects in the coming year.