Arts and Design Research Incubator launches with April 3 Open House

March 03, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- During a recent lunchtime session on the ground floor of Borland Building, theatre faculty member Andy Belser shared his efforts to improve cross-generational communication and combat age-based stereotypes through a project where participants study, describe and touch one another’s faces. Called “Face.Age,” his project is one of several in the College of Arts and Architecture supported by the newly established Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI), the goal of which is to help get high-impact arts and design research projects off the ground and in the public eye.

An open house where guests can learn more about ADRI-funded projects will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 3, in 16 Borland Building on the University Park campus of Penn State.

According to Andrew Schulz, associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Architecture, ADRI places Penn State at the forefront of the emerging field of interdisciplinary arts research. “Interdisciplinary arts research crosses and blurs disciplinary boundaries with the aim of claiming a key role for arts practitioners in addressing the fundamental challenges facing us on local, national and global scales,” he said.

Operating within the Arts and Architecture Research Office, ADRI provides seed funding, technical support and workspace to projects that, although often in their initial stages, have a strong probability of attracting future external funding. In keeping with goals outlined in the college’s strategic plan, ADRI projects are typically collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, push methodological boundaries, link research and teaching, make innovative use of technology, engage with University-wide research initiatives and priorities, and have the potential to garner national and international recognition.

Belser, director of ADRI, said it provides an infrastructure through which College of Arts and Architecture faculty can collaborate with others at the University. “We’ve come to the realization that to solve problems, we need to think expansively across disciplines, and art aids in that communication,” he explained. “ADRI gives us a way to have a public consciousness.”

ADRI coordinates and hosts a range of programming designed to foster and support innovative arts research and its broad dissemination, including the lunchtime lecture series. Remaining lectures this spring include Kimberly Powell, “Walking as Wayfaring: Movement-Based Inquiry in and for the Arts and Social Sciences” (March 23); Bill Doan, “Embodied Mind/Damaged Brain: The Art of Beginnings and Endings (April 6); and Joe Julian, “Brain Sculpture: How Making Art Remakes Your Brain” (April 20). All lectures begin at 12:10 p.m. in 16 Borland.

The College of Arts and Architecture also recently launched the Borland Project Space, a site used to showcase the vibrant research culture of the college, with the term “research” intended to encompass the full range of practices in which faculty engage to create new knowledge in the arts and design disciplines. 

“The aim of the Borland Project Space is to move beyond traditional notions of exhibition, performance and scholarly programming in an effort to reveal the processes and procedures of ‘arts research,’ which are customarily hidden from view,” said Schulz. “Both ADRI and the Project Space indicate the college’s commitment to playing a more central role in the research enterprise at Penn State.  They will help us achieve the aspirational goal of the Arts and Architecture strategic plan, which is the make the arts and design disciplines central to the Penn State identity.”

For more information on ADRI, visit For more on the Borland Project Space, visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 04, 2015