Explore Student Research Opportunities in the Arts

February 1, 2022

Collage of photos representing arts research opportunities described in text below.

Two Duke programs offer immersive opportunities for students interested in the arts, starting this summer and continuing through the 2022-2023 academic year. The following are among the options with an arts focus.

Story+ Summer Projects and Related Bass Connections Project Teams

Dream puppet, an art installation in a natural environment.Art as Relation and Repair Across Disabled Ecologies and Histories (Story+)
Socially Engaged Art and Tech at the Intersections of Ecology, Disability and History (Bass Connections)

Story+ students will create a digital story-map and conduct research that will support the development of a multiyear project of large-scale artistic installations in endangered forests across the country and internationally. The related Bass Connections project team will create an interactive, multisite puppetry installation that incorporates innovative technologies and site-specific histories, sounds and communities. Check out Animate Earth to learn more.

Siloes in a field that looks flooded.Collecting Oral Histories of Environmental Racism and Injustice in the American South (Story+)
Collecting Oral Histories of Environmental Racism and Injustice (Bass Connections)

This project seeks to document the history of racial inequities in the American South through an environmental justice lens. The Story+ team will develop a methodology for intentional, equitable and meaningful interaction with community partners and members for both the oral history and journalistic components of this multiyear effort. The related Bass Connections project team includes oral history, journalism and podcast components.

Madagascar as seen from space.Biocultural Sustainability in Madagascar (Story+)
Biocultural Sustainability in Madagascar (Bass Connections)

The Story+ project’s goal is to transform the current narrative that demonizes farmers for their unsustainable practices to an inclusive narrative told by the farmers about their plight and how they are realizing their goals for a sustainable future. Storytelling through radio announcements, videos, audiovisual media, websites, articles, blog posts or other formats will share project outcomes with a public audience in the U.S. and Madagascar. There is also a related Bass Connections project team.

Other Arts-Focused Story+ Summer Projects

Piano in Duke's musical instruments collection.Curating and Integrating New Visual and Sonic Experiences

The aim of this project is to create new ways to learn about, appreciate and benefit from Duke’s Eddy Collection of Musical Instruments. Students will tell the story of the instruments in the collection and show how physical objects can reveal complex webs of stories involving different kinds of people, places and activities. Using multimedia platforms, the team will trace the histories of these instruments that will engage students and community learners in dynamic, interactive ways.

View of the Cyclorama in Atlanta.The Sound of Monuments and Protest

Students will research how people since the late 19th century have constituted, reclaimed and contested commemorative practice around public sculptures through speeches given at dedications, public lectures, poetry, song, instrumental performances and recorded sound. All of the findings, including audiovisual material, will then be used to create multimedia microhistories of selected public monuments to the American Civil War.

Others Arts-Focused Bass Connections Project Teams

Abstract artwork made from scientific materials.Laboratory Art in Practice: Building a Model for the Art/Science Lab at Duke

Project team members will explore critical making at the intersections of art, science and design by investigating different models of science-inflected art practices while participating in laboratory work. They will also develop individual and group lab projects for exhibition, inviting visiting artists for studio critiques and workshops.

Sculpture of a brain wearing headphones.Language, Music and Dementia

Using a combination of neuroimaging and behavioral data, this project team aims to establish the language and music mappings in professional musicians who are either monolingual or multilingual and examine the effect of musical training and multilingualism on dementia and cognitive impairment. Selected students will participate in an optional summer research component that will last approximately one month for up to 15 hours per week.

Painted portraits of patients before and after head or neck surgery.Evaluating Faith-Based Needs of Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer patients require robust social support to counter the psychosocial burden of their diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. This project team will work to understand the broader impact of facial disfigurement, incorporating faith-based needs and artistic practice alongside clinical interventions. Storytelling narratives and artwork will be produced for display.

Surgery in progress.Financial Burden in Patients With Health Disparities

This project team will use a mixed-method approach to characterize financial toxicity among health disparity populations and their caregivers. To empower older adult minority voices, the team will use photovoice, a participatory research method that combines photography, verbal narratives and critical reflection. Students and participating older adults will work together to identify common themes in the image and narrative data, which will then be shared with stakeholders, the public and policymakers.

Separate Applications and Deadlines

Story+ is a six-week summer research experience for undergraduate and graduate students who work in small teams to bring academic research to life through dynamic storytelling. Learn about all the Summer 2022 projects and apply as soon as possible; the priority deadline is February 20 at 11:59 p.m., but applications are evaluated on a rolling basis.

Bass Connections brings together faculty, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates to tackle complex societal challenges in interdisciplinary research teams. Undergraduates, graduate students and trainees/fellows are invited to apply for 2022-2023 project teams by February 11 at 5:00 p.m. EST. This is a separate application process from Story+; where there are related projects, a student can apply for both components or just one.

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