Interdisciplinary Collaborations Lecture Series 2017

You are invited to share the experience and insights of participants in four initiatives that bring together diverse perspectives from the sciences, arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and communities around the globe. In addition to discussing their innovative projects and synergies, experts will address best practices for creating, building, and maintaining collaborative initiatives.

Dates: Select Fridays from January 27 to April 21 (click the date for the full talk description)

Venue: Student Union Memorial Center, Kachina Lounge, 1303 E University Blvd

Parking available in the Second Street Garage or on the street

Time: 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM, with reception to follow the event

Free and open to the public

Can't attend in person? Recordings of the presentations are available on this page and through the Graduate Center Videos page.

Full Schedule

January 27 – Creating Intersections Across Communities: Institute of the Environment’s Arts, Environment, and Humanities Network (AEHN)


  • Eric Magrane, Carson Scholar and coordinator, Arts, Environment, and Humanities Network
  • Ellen McMahon, Professor, School of Art

AEHN fosters, supports, and instigates collaborations and conversations among artists, writers, humanities scholars, and environmental scientists. The network and its affiliates strive to find novel ways of knowing the world in which we live and offer new ideas about how society might address environmental risks. Two affiliates of the AEHN involved with the network from the start will discuss their experiences building the network; they will also share examples of their interdisciplinary art-environment projects and insights they have learned from doing this work.

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February 17 – Mobilizing Creativity and Expertise for Change: UA’s "Smart Villages" $100,000,000 Proposal


  • Dean Joaquin Ruiz, College of Science and the College of Letters, Arts and Science
  • Gary Nabhan, Professor and Research Social Scientist, Southwest Studies Center
  • Diane E. Austin, Professor and Director, School of Anthropology and Research Anthropologist, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology

The University of Arizona was one of many institutions to submit proposals for the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change Initiative, which will award $100 million to one project working to solve a grand challenge. This session will focus on how the Smart Villages proposal came to be and how the architects of the proposal have come to build momentum around interdisciplinary projects.

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March 24 – Managing Across Organizations and Aligning Missions: Green Streets in South Tucson, a funded project of the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice


  • Anna Spitz, Director, Agnese Nelms Haury Program
  • Katie Gannon, Tucson Clean and Beautiful
  • Jennifer Parlin, University of Arizona, Pima County Cooperative Extension Garden Kitchen
  • Mick Jensen, City of South Tucson
  • Rafael Batain, Zoe Landscaping Company
  • Melanie Yubeta, Arizona Department of Corrections

The Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice supports initiatives that address wicked problems, particularly those that have impacts that improve environmental and social justice. One such project, Green Streets in South is a community-led initiative to address climate change and the urban heat island effect in South Tucson while improving socio-economic prospects of chronically unemployed and marginalized adults through landscape business training. Through the experiences of the project members of Green Streets in South Tucson, attendees will learn more about strategies for creating a comprehensive community initiative and best practices for collaborating across organizations and missions.

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April 21 – Building Coalitions and Celebrating Culture: The Southwest Folklife Alliance


  • Maribel Alvarez, PhD, Executive Director, Southwest Folklife Alliance
  • Liane Hernandez, YWCA
  • Monica Surfaro-Spigelman, Pima County End of Life Care Coalition
  • Richard Noel, Tucson Meet Yourself
  • Imelda Cortez, South 12th Ave Foodways Project

This session will focus on the ways that interdisciplinary projects often must include cultural understanding and respect. Dr. Alvarez will focus on how the Alliance came to be as well as the ways in which the Alliance builds more equitable and vibrant communities. Best practices and lessons learned from community events such as Tucson Meet Yourself and other initiatives will be shared with attendees.

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Last updated 16 Jun 2017