Displaying items by tag: JEDI

The College of Fine Arts’ (CFA) Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee has programmed a multi-year series of learning and dialogue opportunities for faculty and staff around issues of equity and inclusion in the arts. While we acknowledge that the work to create and maintain equitable and inclusive spaces is ours, we understand and appreciate that the work must be informed by our students’ experiences. To that end, we are hoping to hear from CFA students (Art & Art History, Dance, Film & Media Arts, Music and Theatre) to shape how we address our challenges and manifest progress. Your participation is voluntary and your response will be anonymous. This information will be used by our external consultant, Dr. Nimisha Barton, to inform our spring workshops. 

This short survey will be open from Nov. 15-30. Thank you for your willingness to share your experience to help us better understand where we might be succeeding and where we might need to focus more energies for change. 

Go to the survey

IMPORTANT: sharing your experiences on this survey does not constitute official reporting discrimination or sexual harassment to the university – If you would like to officially report an incident. you may use the University of Utah bias incident reporting system, or contact the Office of Equal Opportunity or 801-581-8365).

Thank you for your time. We appreciate your investment of time toward this initiative.

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Each year, the College of Fine Arts’ Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee welcomes three students to serve and provide the important perspectives and lived experiences of our student population. The 2021/22 applicant pool was strong and highlighted a broad and deep commitment to the work of equity, inclusion, and belonging.

This year’s student cohort has already jumped into action with both feet, providing valuable insights, asking thoughtful and critical questions, and shining light on issues that are of particular importance to them.

Without further ado, please meet your 2021/22 Student JEDI representatives:

F21 JEDI Students

 Morgan Vaca is a transfer student from California and she is majoring in graphic design in the College of Fine Arts. Morgan is a LatinX student with a passion for social justice and enacting change. In her free time, she enjoys creating graphic art, photography, being outdoors, and listening to music.

F21 JEDI Students2

 Lucas Zagal is an undergraduate student studying computer science and music. He is excited to be a member of the JEDI Committee and hopes to be able to successfully represent his fellow students’ perspectives and contribute meaningfully to this important work. His current academic interests are investigating the ways in which technology has caused social problems and how music might be a driving force for mobilizing to address those problems.

F21 JEDI Students3

 Sam Stone is a dance performance artist, teacher, community organizer, and creator coming from 12 years in the Bay Area to pursue her MFA in dance at the University of Utah. She values the expression, freedom, and play that dance offers and always pushes for arts awareness and opportunity for all. Sam is super excited to help strengthen her new community by joining CFA's JEDI Committee to continue the important work that is organizing action against local injustices.

The JEDI Committee’s charge, as spelled out by the CFA’s Strategic Plan is:

  • To provide JEDI-related educational opportunities to members of the College of Fine Arts community
  • To host a series of dialogues around JEDI topics with the goal of illuminating and addressing our unique challenges, and dreaming and planning the solutions to them

We are so thrilled to work alongside these incredible students!

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All employees in the CFA: mark your calendar for either April 9 at 3P or April 16 at 12P! RSVP info below.

With great excitement and expectation, the University of Utah College of Fine Arts’ Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee is inviting and encouraging all CFA faculty and staff including graduate assistants and TAs to participate in a series of educational opportunities focused on fostering a climate of inclusion. Our vision is a college where all bodies and identities are welcomed, accepted and celebrated. We know that compassion guided by knowledge is what will catalyze real and lasting change.

“I am greatly appreciative of the JEDI Committee’s thoughtful and thorough work in providing us with these vital educational opportunities,” said Dean John Scheib. “Consistent with our core values as a College and University, and embedded within the goals and priorities outlined in our strategic plan, we are all expected, at minimum, to be able to effectively and productively interact with the people around us. Each of us having some tools and strategies, along with enhanced awareness and understandings, to help facilitate this is key to our success, and that’s why we are making these learning opportunities as accessible as possible to all."

We have partnered with the incredible higher-ed EDI practitioner and consultant, Dr. Nimisha Barton, who has deep expertise in this work and a keen interest in the arts (for example, she presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for American Music last year and has had inclusive teaching engagements with other international arts programs). We are so fortunate to have her leading this series.

Speaking of which, here’s what we have in the works:

Spring 2021
Opening session: this 90-minute interactive Zoom session will be offered twice to accommodate schedules

    • April 9 @ 3P MT 
    • April 16 @ 12P MT (RSVP now or at least 24 hours in advance)
    • For those who have conflicts and cannot attend either date, this will also be available as an asynchronous online module that can be taken any time after the two live sessions

Summer 2021
Short assignment

Fall 2021
Five thematic workshops (dates TBD)
Closing session: this 90-minute interactive session will also be offered twice (dates TBD)

We’d like your input

  • Faculty and staff: For our sessions, we’d like to pull from our community’s real experiences as learning opportunities. We’d also like to hear from you what topics are of most importance/interest as we plan the five thematic workshops. We will distribute a short survey to contribute your voice and experience to this process, so please watch for that.
  • Students: While we see the work of systematic change as being mostly the responsibility of faculty and staff, we know your experiences, efforts and input are critical to the process and to ensure it’s your experiences that are considered and addressed. To help inform our learning, we’d like to hear from you. We will be sending out a short online survey. We will also be conducting (remote) focus groups—if you’re interested in being part of those, please contact Marina Gomberg.

With respect for your chosen level of engagement
Our intention is to create spaces in which participating and sharing feels safe, as does choosing not to share. We understand, respect and honor that everyone will engage in their own way, and we are grateful for however that might look for you.

This work was inspired by the CFA’s five-year Strategic Plan, specifically the charge to provide equity, diversity, and inclusion training opportunities and dialogue forums.

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“We Shall Not Be Moved,” a hybrid opera which premiered in Philadelphia in 2017 through the efforts of Opera Philadelphia, was named by The New York Times as one of that year’s “Best Classical Performances.”   The power of the story, which took its roots from the historical event ‘The Move Bombing,’ a war against Black American activists which happened in Philadelphia in 1985, is made ever more compelling by the infusion of Hip Hop, spoken word poetry, jazz, classical singing and improvisatory themes.

The School of Music will host a virtual journey into the world of “We Shall Not Be Moved” through a week-long series April 5 – 9, 2021. The project will feature a digital recreation of the hybrid opera “We Shall Not Be Moved,” followed by panel discussions, symposiums, and masterclasses delivered by the cast and creatives of the original show including Daniel Bernard Roumain (composer), Marc Bamuthi Joseph, (poet and spoken word artist), and iconic director and choreographer Bill T. Jones.

Many more artists will bring their expertise and talents to the table, helping students from around the USA to improve their own performance skill sets and abilities as they prepare for careers in the professional arts industry. Register here.

These events are free and available to the university community thanks to the NYU Tisch School of Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, East Carolina University School of Music, and the Department and the Division of the Arts with funding from the Anonymous Fund.

Visit the School of Music's website for more information. 

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The call is loud and nuanced and is leaving too many people in its wake.

As we grapple with the pain of what is an increasingly endemic radicalization of racism toward Asian and Asian American communities, we are including our voices in the explicit call for the end of hate and violence — in all its iterations.

As artists and arts scholars, we have a particular awareness of the impact our representations of ideologies can have on our society. We see the structural inequities in our own domains that affect those whose work is canonized and whose stories are told and how, and we feel an increasing urgency to dismantle the systems that centralize some and marginalize others.

We are, in many ways, the authors of the cultures in which we live. Our work to expand consciousness, erode misunderstanding, and move society feels as necessary as ever for many of us.

While we continue this work, we want to make it abundantly clear that our values are rooted in justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. We invite all those interested to engage with us.


Dean John W. Scheib, and members of the CFA’s Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee:
Sonia Albert Sobrino
Melonie Buchanan Murray
Elizabeth Craft
Stephanie Garcia
Marina Gomberg
Karineh Hovsepian
Lizzy Ivkovich
Brian Manternach
Sai Nitish Paladugu
Pablo Piantino
Sarah Reichel
Aathaven Tharmarajah
Xi Zhang

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In their virtual concert, "Becoming Strength for One Another," University of Utah School of Music's choir, Voci Altissime, performs music entirely by Black, female composers in a program focused on themes of respect, social justice, and unity. The featured composers, Rosephanye Powell, Zanaida Robles, and Brittney Boykin each introduce their piece and discuss the significance of their music within these themes.

Voci Altissime provides treble voices from across campus and of all musical abilities with a challenging and satisfying choral experience. The non-auditioned group of both music and non-music majors studies and performs a variety of the finest choral literature written and transcribed for treble voices. Students and community members can also enroll in Voci Altissime through The University of Utah’s Continuing Education & Community Engagement Program

The choir was also featured in the 2020 College of Fine Arts Studio Magazine.

Enjoy a selection from the concert below. To view the full program, click here!

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As part of the University of Utah’s programming to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week this year (MLK Week), the School of Dance will host “Speaking Through Movement,” a virtual event on January 19th at 6 PM. 

Dancing is a source of transformation, celebration, and affirmation. Choreographers Katlyn Addison and Jennifer Archibald make performances that show us the intricacies of emotional landscapes as they create new forms of dance that merge different vocabularies, including ballet, hip hop, and the art of fencing. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about the importance of such creative artists, “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

The University of Utah School of Dance is fortunate to have both Addison and Archibald as guest choreographers working with student-dancers during this 2020-21 school year. On January 19, we will have a rare opportunity to watch recent works by these artists and engage in conversation with them and with Brooke Wertwijn, a University of Utah dancer who performed in Addison’s choreography entitled, "Saint-George, The Composer, Fencer, and Creator." Archibald will be sharing her recent screendance called "WeAIghT," choreographed by Archibald in collaboration with filmmaker Andrew Cashin, featuring dancer James Gilmer and music by Philip Hamilton. Please join us for an evening of creative brilliance and scintillating dialogue. 


MLK Week has become a platform to engage students, faculty, staff and community members in critical conversations around contemporary Civil Rights issues and race in America. MLK Week is planned by a volunteer committee of students, faculty, and staff collaborating across the university. This year, the week’s theme is “Good Trouble,” honoring the contributions and legacy of United States Representative John Lewis. For a full list of events, click here. 

Register for Speaking Through Movement

January 19th 
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM 

Moderated by Kate Mattingly, Assistant Professor in the School of Dance

Katlyn Addison
Jennifer Archibald
Brooke Wertwijn


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We often talk about arts and experience together because the two are so inextricably linked. The arts — and particularly theatre — are driven by personal narrative. They are reflections of it, and are fueled by it.

In fact, the richness of human experience is the muse of theatre. This is why the University of Utah Department of Theatre is so deeply committed to increasing the vitality of our student community by expanding resources for underrepresented students. Our goal is to foster programs where stories and perspectives from all backgrounds thrive, and where all people pursuing theatre education are welcomed, included, and celebrated.

As part of the work towards this ongoing goal, the Department of Theatre seeks to establish an endowed scholarship to benefit students from traditionally underrepresented communities who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing representation in the theatre arts. Through your generosity, students can pursue their degrees — whether in Actor Training, Musical Theatre, Performing Arts Design, Stage Management, Theatre Teaching, or Theatre Studies — with fewer financial barriers to their creative success. 

We know that the availability of scholarships is a powerful factor when students choose the institution where they will invest their time, talents, and resources. We are taking this important step to increase access for the promising students whose uniqueness will be valued and inevitably enrich our vibrant community.

This renewed effort reflects the urgency of these questions on a national and local level, and has been catalyzed by student voices as they engage our faculty and staff in conversations around expanding access and fostering diversity in the Department of Theatre. An endowed scholarship is one element of a multi-pronged approach that seeks to directly address these concerns for the sake of current and prospective students.

Today through December 16th, your  contribution gets us closer to the $5,000 goal. Every dollar counts! Thanks for your support.


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On October 28th, the University of Utah Alumni Association hosted "Diversity in the Workplace," a live, virtual panel on YouTube featuring School of Dance alumna Natosha Washington, Charlotte Miller, and Nav Dhaliwal, moderated by James Jackson.

Natosha Washington BFA'04 teaches at the Now and Next Dance Mentoring Project and co-directs the Utah-based dance company RawMoves. Her choreography has been seen on many professional, collegiate, and secondary school companies in Utah, Virginia, and Texas. As a voluptuous black woman raised in an LDS southern family, making her way in a white dance community, Washington has a multifaceted lens; she negotiates stereotyping, privilege, and identity every day in her work and loves the challenge the issues present.

The panel covered significant ground: challenges they face as professionals, how mentors played a role in their individual successes, steps organizations can take to be more inclusive and encourage retention of a diverse community, and how emerging leaders can be pioneers of change. 

Watch the entire discussion below! 

"Never think that what you are doing to create inclusivity is too small. Every little thing you are doing matters...Meet people that are different from you, have conversations, don't put up walls or barriers, be willing to be open, be okay sitting in the discomfort. These conversations are not easy. I feel like our society has told us that we are supposed to feel good all the time and that's not true. We learn the most when people make us have to think and reflect." 
Natosha Washington


"Diversity and inclusion is not a marathon, or a sprint, or a destination — it's a journey, and it's an adventure. It's going to constantly evolve, and so it's important that we stay connected and we continue to evolve as well so we can grow in our welcoming in each of our industries." 
James Jackson 

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by Lisa Chaufty & Elizabeth Craft

As part of a significant new student success initiative funded through the Dee Foundation and private donations, the School of Music is soliciting proposals focusing on student success, student wellness, and social justice from students and faculty. The McKay Music Library Committee will review and support these proposals.

 Over the past seven months we all have had to cope with additional stresses in our lives, as we have explored new ways of working and performing together under various levels of quarantine and have witnessed events of racial and social injustice. As we have come together to begin this new and unique academic year, we need healing. We are also presented with an opportunity to seize the moment and reflect on our art and creative aspirations, and to open ourselves to innovative thoughts, ideas, and experiences. This reality inspires the School of Music to expand the student experience through events that contribute to student wellness and success and that lead to a deeper understanding of our place and our art in a diverse world.

These events, on a wide range of topics, are already well underway. In September, music theorist Lissa Reed gave a talk “On White Supremacy and Antiracism in Music Theory,” discussing the history of music theory as a discipline and sharing strategies for integrating anti-racist ideas and policies into the classroom and curriculum. In “So What’s Next?” flutist Lindsey Goodman talked with performance students from across the School of Music about portfolio careers and music entrepreneurship. Upcoming events include panel discussions and a masterclass on African American art song and opera and also a series of workshops with Luc Vanier, Director of the School of Dance, on the Alexander Technique, which teaches improved posture and movement. Many of these events have been recorded and catalogued in the School of Music’s new Music Online Resources and Enrichment (MORE) Canvas Library, allowing for access beyond the date of the event. One exciting part of this initiative is a student wellness microgrants program. Students are encouraged to submit proposals for events or activities with an aim toward increasing the wellness of their School of Music peers. Proposals should address one or more of the multiple dimensions of wellness, such as emotional, intellectual, physical, professional, and social wellness. The deadline for student microgrant proposals is October 30 and is fast approaching! We encourage music students to submit proposals here.

Upcoming Student Success Initiative Events

Sept. 17-Oct. 30 
Student Wellness Microgrants applications open

Oct. 15 | 4:10 p.m.
Alexander Technique and Developmental Movement for Musicians, Session 1: The body and mind as habitual patterns
Presented by Luc Vanier, Director, School of Dance
Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Nov. 2 | 5-7 p.m.
Panel Discussion
Dr. Louise Toppin, Professor Darryl Taylor, Dr. Marquese Carter and Dr. Naomi André.
A panel discussion on diversity in the arts, including but not limited to the topics of allyship, music theory, music history, composition and performance (i.e. through art song, opera and casting).
More details to come.

Nov. 6 | 5-7 p.m.
Panel Discussion
Dr. Louise Toppin, Professor Darryl Taylor, Dr. Marquese Carter and Dr. Naomi André.A panel discussion on diversity in the arts, including but not limited to the topics of allyship, music theory, music history, composition and performance (i.e. through art song, opera and casting).
More details to come.

Nov. 7 | TBD
Masterclass with Dr. Louise Toppin and Darryl Taylor
More details to come.

Nov. 12 | 4:10 p.m.
Alexander Technique and Developmental Movement for Musicians, Session 2: Alexander Technique basic principles part 1
Presented by Luc Vanier, Director, School of Dance
Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Dec. 3 -11
McKay Library End-of-Semester Stress Buster events
More details to come.

TBD | 4:10 p.m.
Alexander Technique and Developmental Movement for Musicians, Session 3: Alexander Technique basic principles part 2
Presented by Luc Vanier, Director, School of Dance
More details to come.

TBD | 4:10 p.m.
Alexander Technique and Developmental Movement for Musicians, Session 4: Your instrument and your questions
Presented by Luc Vanier, Director, School of Dance
More details to come.

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