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Arts benefit from pilot project

By Janet Harron

The arts at Memorial just got a little richer, thanks to a pilot project initiated by the Offices of the President and Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

Designed to provide funding to individual units in the arts at Memorial (including the Faculty of Arts and the School of Music on the St. John's campus, and the Divisions of Arts, Fine Arts and Social Science at Grenfell Campus), the one-year pilot will fund activities and initiatives to advance scholarship in the arts.

"We acknowledge that the arts is an essential component of a comprehensive university and constitutes a sizeable fraction of the academic enterprise here at Memorial," said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor. "However, despite the significant contribution of arts to both the university and society at large, the number of sources of external funding and the amount of funding for arts is generally significantly less than in science, engineering, technology, medicine and health sciences. This is a way of righting that imbalance."

Total funding for the initiative is $400,500.

Departments within the Faculty of Arts have submitted a variety of proposals for the funding. The Department of History, for example, hopes to create 10 research assistantships to provide support with the development of project proposals and funding applications, in addition to directing funds to its website and organizing a symposium to bring research to the community.

"This pilot project is greatly appreciated by everyone in the Faculty of Arts," said Dr. Lynne Phillips, dean of arts. "It will allow us to jumpstart our research and to showcase our many exciting and diverse projects. I look forward to seeing the innovative ways in which each of our 16 departments will utilize these funds."
Three divisions at Grenfell Campus will benefit from the pilot project: Arts, Fine Arts and Social Science.

Grenfell's Divisions of Fine Arts and Social Science will use the new funding to support interdisciplinary seminars/speakers' series with symposium and workshop components. Grenfell's Division of Arts will present a number of public speakers, host a humanities conference and English symposium and provide support for a student literary publication, among other outreach activities.

"It's extremely insightful to support the arts in this fashion," said Dr. David Peddle, associate vice-president (Grenfell Campus) academic. "It is a central way to foster vibrant communities and academic culture."

Dr. Ellen Waterman, dean, School of Music, says the school will be using the fund to support innovation and creativity.

"The president's funding to support scholarship in the arts is timely. Faculty and graduate students at the School of Music are engaged in a wide variety of research projects, from traditional music among Labrador Inuit to the use of new technologies in music therapy to a whole range of creative compositional and performance projects."