2015-2016 Projects

Investing in creative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research is our driving focus; our Faculty Collaboration Grant awards prove it. We’re providing funding for five projects that include 18 researchers representing 17 different departments across the colleges of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The research ranges from utilizing virtual environments as a teaching tool to exploring how depth is perceived in art; from the linguistics of intergenerational phone calls to capturing oral histories of our borderland communities and providing artistic performance platforms to the voices of the displaced.


Virtual Harlem: A Geographically Accurate Virtual Reality Environment

Africana Studies Associate Professor Bryan Carter (COH) and former Music Associate Professor/School of Information, Technology, and Arts Professor Kelland Thomas created a virtual reality representation of 125th Street as it stood in the 1920s Jazz Age and the golden age of the Harlem Renaissance. This project allowed participants to experience Virtual Harlem in an immersive environment where they can better understand the social, cultural, political and economic relations that shaped the Harlem Renaissance. View the video.


Space and Place: Perceiving Depth in Contemporary Landscape Art

Thomas Bever, Regents’ Professor of Linguistics, Psychology and Neuroscience (SBS), in conjunction with Associate Professor Martina Shenal, School of Art, and Regents’ Emeritus Professor of Philosophy Kevin Lehrer, explored how depth is perceived in art and how behavior and neurological processes differ as a function of artistic experience. This study of the aesthetic experience integrates art and science in ways that elaborate on how and why audiences gravitate to certain works of art.


Barrio Stories Project

Mexican American Studies Professor Lydia Otero (SBS) and Theatre, Film and Television Assistant Professor Elaine Romero (CFA) – in collaboration with Borderlands Theater –  worked alongside youth, anthropologists, historians and playwrights to collect oral stories from the Barrio Libre neighborhood, which was demolished in the late 1960s to build the Tucson Convention Center complex. The narratives were theatricalized, in March 2016, by a team of three award winning playwrights to illuminate the neighborhood’s rich history and reclaim the voices of its community members. Visit BarrioStories.org to learn more.


Intergenerational Telephone Calls: Linguistic and Communicative Parameters

Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Ana Carvalho (COH) and Senior Research Scientist Malcah Yaeger-Dror (SBS), along with a team of Communication and Linguistics experts, collected and studied a corpus of telephone conversations between monolingual and bilingual students and their grandparents to investigate the linguistic and communicative dynamics of cross-generational interactions. This corpus helped develop models of supportive and adversarial communication strategies and fine-tuned software for the recognition of multicultural and multigenerational speech. 


Border Cowboys

J.C. Mutchler, Associate Research Historian at the Southwest Center (SBS)  and Art Professor Jackson Boelts (CFA) created a cross-disciplinary examination of ranches and ranchers along the U.S.-Mexico border that led to a better understanding of the cultural complexity and rich history of the borderlands. Through collecting and analyzing oral histories, photography and public history, the team recreated and documented cultural narratives of our unique borderlands communities.