Three faculty from The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music were among 12 recipients of arts research grants awarded by the Chancellor’s Council on the Arts (CCoA) and the university’s Office for Research and Creative Activities (ORCA). The Initiative awarded $150,000 in funding to advance relevant arts research projects that demonstrate originality and contribute to the university’s larger commitments to sustainability, equity, diversity and inclusion. School of Music projects include a study of a folk tradition of Northeast Thailand, an investigation of breaking down bias among elementary school students through music education, and a celebration of the Black music of Los Angeles.
“These research grants recognize the arts as essential to our lives,” said Eileen Strempel, inaugural dean of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and chair of the CCoA. “The arts inspire innovation and creativity as they break down barriers, build empathy, and connect us across fields of study, cultures and attitudes.”
Supeena Adler from the Department of Ethnomusicology received funding for her project “Researching, Teaching, and Performing a Folk Tradition of Northeast Thailand.” This will enable her to document a specific folk tradition from Northeast Thailand, acquire instruments and costumes representative of the tradition, and provide UCLA students with a rare opportunity to explore it through her Music of Thailand Ensemble course.
Meanwhile Music Education Professor, Lily Chen-Hafteck, will investigate how students in Los Angeles Unified School District elementary schools may benefit from classes designed to teach them the music and cultures of their classmates. Chen-Hafteck’s project will provide 30 teachers with training and teaching materials designed to increase students’ cultural understanding and appreciation, reducing racial prejudice. The work will take place in 10 Los Angeles schools serving students of low socio-economic backgrounds.
The UCLA Library will additionally co-sponsor an exhibition entitled “Celebrating Black Music in Los Angeles,” with the Ethnomusicology Archive. This will be the first large-scale exhibition at UCLA to present a comprehensive look at the city’s Black music. The project will span musical genres—covering everything from jazz and gospel to rap and film scores—and feature both well-known figures and those often excluded from history, including Black women musicians and composers, music educators and owners of important music venues.
The CCoA brings together leaders from across the university’s three professional arts schools (UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture); three public-facing arts organizations (the Fowler and Hammer museums and UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance); the UCLA Film & Television Archive, a division of UCLA Library; and the UCLA College Humanities Division. To ensure diverse voices comprising the arts across campus are represented, the council has expanded its membership to include Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences; May Hong HaDuong, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive; Cindy Fan, vice provost for international studies and global engagement; and David Yoo, professor of Asian American studies and history and vice provost of the Institute of American Cultures.
The CCoA is also launching GO ARTS UCLA, an online portal that highlights the role of the arts at UCLA and their place within L.A.’s cultural ecosystem. The site brings together a full array of UCLA arts and humanities events and content in a central location. The site offers a full calendar of events, recent feature stories, and the latest news on arts-related research at the university.
Through efforts like the Chancellor’s Arts Initiative and the GO ARTS UCLA website, the Chancellor’s Council on the Arts is committed to advancing the role of the arts as a vital part of the rich and diverse UCLA experience. The research grants demonstrate the power of the arts within our community and throughout the world.