Cultural Resources | Engagement | Academics | Technology | Enrichment

- The Andrew W. Mellon CREATE Grants Program -
Leveraging Cultural Resources through Intra-Institutional Collaboration

Academic Year 2019 – 2020 Awards

Summer 2019 Grant Cycle

“Learning with the Lowe: Leveraging University-Community Connections in Support of Students’ Learning”

Grantee: Matthew Deroo, Ph.D. / Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning, School of Education and Human Development

Featured Collection: Lowe Art Museum

Research Statement: Learning with the Lowe is a student-generated project that provides a unique opportunity to share artwork from the Lowe Art Museum with local school children through the creation of lesson plans that will be made publicly available through the museum’s website. The artwork selected for this project represents a variety of the Lowe’s collection across time and form including paintings, photography, tapestry, sculpture, and glass. Art for this project were purposefully selected for use in teaching across a number of academic content areas from social studies to science, mathematics, and English. Over the course of the semester, students will complete five different components of the project: discussing works of art using the Visual Thinking Strategies approach, researching and writing dossiers for a student-selected artistic object, creating lesson plans based on that piece of art, and teaching their lesson plan at a local school. The culminating event will be an evening hosted at the Lowe between UM students and Miami Dade Country Public School teachers as they share mutual learning gained from the
project. The project’s goal is to integrate the Lowe’s resources into the local community and to support students’ learning across contexts. This approach not only enhances curriculum at the
University of Miami, but also supports learning at local schools. The Learning with the Lowe project therefore provides students with important professional skills and expertise as they lead discussion about the Lowe’s works of art to further expand the boundaries of the museum into the local community.

Amount Awarded: $5,500

Featured Materials

“Intervisuality: Painters on Greater Cuba’s Stages”

Grantee: Lillian Manzor, Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures; Founding Director, Cuban Theater Digital Archive

Featured Collection: Lowe Art Museum and Cuban Heritage Collection

Research Statement: This project forms the basis of ArtLab 2020, an exhibition-based course at the Lowe Art Museum. Taking advantage of the museum’s vast collection of Cuban artists and the Cuban Heritage Collection’s materials on Cuban performing arts, the exhibit will focus on the ways in which 20th–21st century Cuban artists expressed themselves on canvas and through scenography for theater, ballet, and dance. In addition to working with the Museum’s Cuban art collection, students will conduct research at the CHC on Cuban culture, art and theater history, and cultural policies to understand how visual culture serves as the stage for social and political representation. We will be collaborating with the Center for Studies of Scenographic Design in Havana, Cuba. During Spring Break, students will travel to Havana to conduct research at the center; they will also visit museums and artists’ studios in Havana and Matanzas. Throughout the semester, students will work on curatorial aspects of the exhibit including selection of artists, materials and design elements of exhibition space; they will write bilingual wall texts and catalog entries. A CREATE grant will allow me to help defray the production cost of the exhibition catalogue.

Amount Awarded: $6,000

Featured Materials

Fall 2019 Grant Cycle

“Race, Housing, and Displacement in Miami”

Grantee: Robin Bachin, Ph.D. / Associate Professor of History, College of Arts and Sciences

Featured Collection: Special Collections

Research Statement: This project examines the complicated and significant interconnections among race, housing, and displacement in Miami during the twentieth century. By combining extensive local archival research with innovative digital humanities tools, this project will provide an in-depth and engaging approach to urban history by connecting students and community groups to visually chronicle the impact of racialized planning practices on people and neighborhoods. Over the course of the Spring 2020 semester, students will conduct research in Richter Library’s Special Collections, focusing on archival materials from grassroots activist organizations including the Community Justice Project, Max Rameau and Take Back the Land, and the Power U Center for Social Change. In addition, they will conduct oral histories with community members in neighborhoods that have undergone significant transformations over the last several decades, including residents of Overtown, Liberty City, and Little Haiti. UM also will host an archive day where we invite community groups to bring materials related to the history of housing and displacement so we can enhance our existing archival collections. Students will then create a digital exhibition through StoryMap, combining oral history footage with new as well as previously archived materials to chronicle the history of neighborhood change and displacement in Miami. The culmination of the project will be a public program in which we invite community residents and students, as well as UM faculty and staff, to come together to view the StoryMap and discuss the process of shaping urban history through campus-community collaboration.

Amount Awarded: $6,000

Featured Materials

“Composing the Collection: Sonifying the Lowe Art Museum’s Musical Instruments and Art Works in Written Music and Live Performance”

Grantee: Dorothy Hindman, Ph.D. / Associate Professor of Music Composition, Frost School of Music

Featured Collections: Lowe Art Museum and Special Collections

Research Statement: In Composing the Collection, Frost School of Music composition students will advance their technique, personal aesthetic, and professional skills by creating new music based on objects from the Lowe’s Musical Instruments and Art Works Collections and the UM Libraries Special Collections. Students will select two objects: an instrument and an artwork. Through research, digital recording, spectral analysis, and in consultation with Lowe and Library staff, students will obtain modern representations of their chosen instrument’s sounds. Guided by faculty whose own music digitally transforms objects into sonic models, each student will then compose a new chamber or multimedia work inspired by their objects, utilizing individualized creative sonic approaches to mapping visual and audio artifacts. The finished works will be premiered, recorded and videotaped in a student-organized public concert at the Lowe featuring professional and student performers. The original audio samples, live recordings of the new works, and other sonic documentation of the source objects will form the basis of an audio companion to augment the Lowe’s Guide by Cell.

Composing the Collection combines the ideals of the Mellon Foundation CREATE Grants Program and the Frost School of Music’s pedagogical C.R.E.A.T.E. Throughlines via: experiential engagement with Lowe and Library collections; use of research and technology to facilitate pedagogy and understanding of the objects; creation of responsive new works of art; development of professional skills in concert organization; collaboration with the greater UM community; and creation of archival materials to enrich the Lowe’s collections for future visitors.

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Featured Materials

“Stories from Little Havana: Family Migration Past, Present, and Future ”

Grantee: Jennifer Kahn, Ph.D. / Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, School of Education and Human Development

Featured Collection: Cuban Heritage Collection

Research Statement: Stories from Little Havana: Family Migration Past, Present, and Future is an education research project that is focused on the use of cultural heritage resources to promote student storytelling about migration, identity, and relocation. The project will take place at a high school serving an ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse population in Little Havana, Miami, in an afterschool program. Youth will be asked to consider the demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors affecting past and future family displacement and migration and document their family’s migration stories through video storytelling. This project will introduce first- and second-generation immigrant youth to cultural heritage artifacts from the Cuban diaspora as well as innovative interactive media depicting large datasets, such as US Census data. Youth will explore primary archives detailing community members’ migration experiences through fieldtrips to UM’s Richter Library and Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) as well as through school-site visits from CHC faculty and conversations with community members. As part of the project, the research and educational team will develop cultural heritage kits from materials from the CHC as well as associated curriculum for educational programming in future classrooms. We will also collect and analyze qualitative data (video and
audio records of instructional activities) in order to investigate (a) the complex role played by media, cultural artifacts, and storytelling in the construction of identity and sense of place; (b) student learning experiences; and (c) how education might intervene in issues surrounding twenty-first century migration.

Amount Awarded: $6,000

“Preservation, Digitization and Education Through the RSMAS Invertebrate Museum”

Grantee: Nikki Traylor-Knowles, Ph.D. / Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Biology and Ecology, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Featured Collection: Invertebrate Museum, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Research Statement: The UM RSMAS Marine Invertebrate Museum is one of the largest invertebrate collection in the USA. It contains over 50,000 specimens that span over 23 phyla. It houses one of the most important deep-sea invertebrate collections in the world and contains specimen dating back to the early 1900s. However, despite this known importance, the museum is underutilized and is currently lacking funding. The collection is not digitized, and samples are in dire need of being replaced into new jars with air-tight lids. To address these issues, we propose to create a Marine Invertebrate Museum Collection Preservation (MIMCP) Working Group of undergraduate researchers which will be led by Dr. Traylor-Knowles and Director of the RSMAS library, Angela Clark-Hughes. Both Dr. Traylor-Knowles and Director Clark-Hughes will train undergraduates on digitization and preservation of a pilot study of a small group of invertebrates (53 lots, Phylum: Brachiopoda) from the collection using the current best practices. Students will be able to sign up for research credit with Dr. Traylor-Knowles and will be responsible for writing up a report on their methods as well as do a historical investigation into one of the specimen. In their final project, they will present their findings during a seminar presentation to the MIMCP and the Marine and Ecology Department. The opportunity to revitalize the museum is one that will have lasting effects not only on invertebrate research but also on enhancing pedological objectives through hands-on learning of historical invertebrate biodiversity.

Amount Awarded: $6,000

Spring 2020 Grant Cycle

“Archiving Untold Immigrant Stories: South Asians in South Florida”

Grantee: Sumita Chatterjee, Ph.D. / Lecturer, Department of History and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences

Featured Collection: Special Collections

Research Statement: Archiving Untold Immigrant Stories: South Asians in South Florida is an immersive critical engagement with Richter Library’s digital oral histories housed under Special Collections. This pedagogic project envisions two dimensions of student participation that allow contextual, hands-on learning about migration by engaging in existing archival sources and creating new digital collection for future researchers and students. First, use of existing archives allow students to understand beyond the book, theories, and classroom, the layers of history that exist in oral narratives of ordinary people’s recorded lives. Using these sources, students will write short historical pieces on immigrant lives that shape our community histories. This will allow students to understand the value of oral sources in making visible immigrant voices and stories not found in official and written archival documents. Second, students will contribute to the existing archive of oral histories by curating and collecting new interviews recording immigrant life experiences of a diverse group that is often either forgotten or understood stereotypically as “model minority” in the immigration histories both locally and at the national level – people of South Asian heritage in South Florida (from such diverse places as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Trinidad, Guyana to name a few). These critical engagements both with library archives as well as with community outreach, will provide students ethnographic skills as well as a more complex and unique understanding of the history of migration itself – the trajectories of belonging, home, and identity that get formed at the intersections of race, class, gender, and caste identities of new immigrants. It will also contribute to enriching the library’s robust Special Collections by adding new oral histories.

Amount Awarded: $6,250

“Black Feminist Archives Project”

Grantee: Marina Magloire, Ph.D. / Assistant Professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences

Featured Collection: Special Collections and Lowe Art Museum

Research Statement: In my course, “Find Your Mother: An Introduction to Black Feminism,” graduate students learn that a careful attention to black women’s presence (and, more often than not, absence) in the archive is a black feminist practice. Previous versions of this class have incorporated a wildly successful “critical fabulation” project, in which students were asked to use documents from Special Collections to write a creative work based on the life of a black woman or LGBTQ person in the archives. In Fall 2020, we will partner with (f)empower, with a local activist and artist organization for femmes of color with particular expertise in zine production and dissemination, to create zines based on the lives of black women and LGBTQ people in Special Collections. These zines will serve two purposes: to enhance the Kislak Center’s holdings related to black feminism, and to foster connections between University of Miami students and members of the South Florida community who are already engaging in a black feminist archival practice without institutional resources. This Black Feminist Archives Project is both academic and community-oriented, ending in a symposium that invites scholars, students, and community members to meditate on how to use archives to imagine the obscured histories of black women whose lives, in the words of Saidiya Hartman, “are visible only in the moment of their disappearance.”

Amount Awarded: $7,000

“In/tangible Pedagogies: Building an Interdisciplinary and Holistic Curriculum on Archival Studies”

Grantee: Yolanda Martínez San Miguel, Ph.D. / Professor and Martha S. Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, College of Arts and Sciences

Featured Collection: Special Collections and Cuban Heritage Collection

Research Statement: The objective of this CREATE grant application is to pilot a course that will be offered in Fall 2021 to graduate students in the arts and sciences who wish to interrogate and expand their understanding of archives through hands-on training and experiences using the wealth of materials from UM Libraries’ (UML) Distinctive Collections with an emphasis on the Caribbean and Latin America. Collaborators in planning, implementing, and co-teaching for this course include Amanda Moreno, MSLIS/MA, Cuban Heritage Collection Archivist; Béatrice Skokan, MLIS/MA/MA, Head of Manuscripts and Archives Management, Curator of Caribbean Collections & Subject Liaison for French and Francophone Studies; and Dr. Martin Tsang, Cuban Heritage Collection Librarian and Curator of Latin American Collections.

By working with the faculty of Special Collections, the Cuban Heritage Collection, and the Kislak Center, students will obtain training in multiple facets of archival processing and collection management. The syllabus will also explore new technologies for archival management. By doing so, each student will be able to understand the decisions, labor, and practices that go into the creation, care, and use of archives and their spaces.

Funds from the CREATE grant will be used to invite recognized leaders who are pushing the frontiers of archival pedagogy. These practitioners will come to the graduate class to run workshops, interactive sessions, and discussions with our students. In these sessions, materials from UML’s Distinctive Collections will be centered, relating our archival practices and learning to the Caribbean, Latin America, and the hemisphere as a whole. Funds will also be used to hire a graduate research assistant that will help to locate and scan materials for the course blackboard site, to support student projects and an end of semester showcase or symposium that will also allow students to unveil their archival projects to the UM community.

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Featured Materials

IN/TANGIBLE PEDAGOGIES Online Presentation Series

Public Lectures

“Resilience in Response to Political Adversity”

Grantee: Elizabeth Oldman, Ph.D. / Senior Lecturer, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences

Featured Collection: Lowe Art Museum

Research Statement: So many of the holdings in the vast, global collection at the Lowe Art Museum authentically confront instances of political adversity, such as the chaos following a devastating earthquake in Haiti, efforts to flee political upheaval in Cuba, and problems within the prison industrial complex in the United States. Pascal Monnin’s Resurrection Angel (2006-2011), Titus Kaphar’s Destiny II (2016), and Carlos Alfonzo’s A Tongue to Utter and Ballerinas (1988) manifest as acts of “true hope” by artists who confront their private experiences wrought from political turmoil and choose to share them with the viewer. These carefully-crafted pieces, as I see it, and as Dr. Maria Sirois eloquently puts it, serve to “hold the viewer’s suffering as if it were precious, for in our recognizing
our pain we are given the opportunity to grow into shared compassion” (A Short Course in Happiness After Loss, p.52) and confirm our interconnectedness in a shared acknowledgment of pain. Contemplating these paintings and sculptures creates an occasion to face, and ideally reduce the impact, of personal crises wrought from political oppression. In my collaborative presentation with
Massachusetts-based positive psychologist, consultant, and inspirational speaker Dr. Sirois to a primarily student-based audience, we will project high-resolution images of selected art from the Lowe’s permanent collection, and talk about the challenging political circumstances which inspired the artists to produce their works, centering on Dr. Sirois’s insights about resilience as a response to adversity. This project is an effort to facilitate a vital conversation across disciplines during a time of political challenge, and confirm how artistic expression and the creative process can contribute to greater optimism and overall wellbeing.

Amount Awarded: $5,800

“Re-Presenting Art: A Holographic Installation for the Lowe Art of Africa Gallery Collections”

Grantee: Zevensuy Rodriguez, MPS / Lecturer, Department of Cinema and Interactive Media, School of Communication

Featured Collection: Lowe Art Museum

Research Statement: Re-Presenting Art is an interactive holographic installation that allows the user to experience and digitally view 3D scanned masks from the Lowe Art Museum’s Art of Africa Gallery. The goal of this project is to 3D scan, present holographically, and digitally preserve art pieces that would otherwise be relegated to storage because of condition or lack of exhibit space. With traditional informational kiosks, a patron is presented with a flat perspective of the work. The holographic display lets viewers perceive the objects as if these were right in front of them. The interactive kiosk lets users virtually handle the object. The installation allows users to manipulate the digital artifacts, not only through the touchscreen interface, but through hand gestures as well. Re-Presenting Art gives the Lowe a new didactic canvas to inform, experience, and highlight items in its collection.

Amount Awarded: $9,000

Featured Materials

Questions? Any additional questions may be addressed by email to