Partners in the Arts (PIA), a program of the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies, offered two courses August 12-16 for local educators on the University of Richmond campus.

The two courses, the Joan Oates Institute: Foundations of Arts Integration and Making the Connections: Engaging the Community, are parts of the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate (AILC) project in partnership with Richmond Public Schools (RPS), and supported by a US Department of Education grant.

PIA hosted 67 teachers and four coaches on campus during the week-long course. Teachers from the second RPS AILC cohort enrolled in the Joan Oates Institute: Foundations of Arts Integration course, while teachers from the first RPS AILC cohort enrolled in Making the Connections: Engaging the Community. Additional local teachers, including PIA Engaging Creative Thinkers (ECT) award recipients and graduate and professional development students, enrolled in both courses.

Participants in the courses were engaged and empowered by presenters that came from all over the country including Berkley, California; Ann Arbor, Michigan; North Adams, Massachusetts; and Washington, D.C., along with our strong regional and UR partners and faculty.

Students participated in explorations that included Dr. Ron Eglash’s Culturally Situated Design Tools, Don Belt and Mason Mills’ Slow Journalism and Out of Eden Walk, Hip Hop: Teachers as Curator, MC, and DJ, and multiple sessions with Kennedy Center and PIA teaching artists and others.

Our own Dr. Bob Spires led the graduate section and worked with Foundations of Arts Integration students, while the coaching team participated in both courses and also received training from our partner and coaching guru, Angela Stewart.

Review the agenda below for details about specific workshops, explorations, hands-on learning and sharing sessions during the week-long experience.

Defining Arts Integration & Course Overview: Dr. Bob Spires and Rob McAdams

Sketchbook: Artist Research with Aijung Kim

The sketchbook or field journal, is an essential tool for capturing your observations and working through your curiosities and ideas, designing and sharing your stories. In this session you will make your sketchbook “your own.”

Zines and Book Making: Visual Art + Text Skills with Aijung Kim

Using visual art elements and text in journals, zines, and simple books, is an interactive way to incorporate and share content in a form that can compress, expand, and reveal. Learn how to guide students through new skills in communicating visually and creating book forms.

Reflections and Classroom Connections with Dr. Bob Spires

Each day concludes with reflection, discussion, and brainstorming to align your experiences to your teaching and where you are/want to be on the continuum.

Shadow Journeys: Exploring Content Through Shadow with Daniel Barash

Shadow puppetry allows students to express their understanding through visual art, drama, and writing. Discover how to create and use shadow puppets to explore your content area and cross-curricular connections.

Music and Reading Comprehension with Imani Gonzalez

Enhance student learning by using sound and rhythm to explore ways to help students develop reading comprehension strategies and make connections between music and language. Teachers are guided through a process to help students create a Soundscape, a way to retell the story that connects students to the story’s tone, mood, setting, and the characters’ culture(s).

Design Your Future: Merging Math, Art, Computing, and Social Justice with Culturally Situated Design Tools with Ron Eglash

Explore quilting in African American, and Native American traditions. These quilts encode Indigenous mathematical ideas, social messages, and other systems for turning patterns into meaning. Learn how to use these “heritage algorithms” to creatively code your own quilt designs, and turn your virtual quilts into physical cloth.

Better Conversations: Coaching for Impact with Angela Stewart

AILC coaches will explore types of coaching, beliefs, practices and skills in this interactive session.

The Problems We All Live With: Finding an Elegant Fit with Lisa Donovan and Teri Buschman

Explore connecting the theatre practice of tableau, movement, and dance with non-arts content through an exploration of The Problems We All Live With by Norman Rockwell. Discover the artist’s choices and look closely at the objects and clues in order to decode the story of Ruby Bridges through the lenses of multiple content areas. Create and design pieces of artwork in theater and dance to contextualize the story of a civil rights hero or addressing a problem they feel they are faced to live with today in America.

Community Exploration and Inquiry – Out of Eden Walk, Slow Journalism, and Video with Don Belt and Mason Mills

Discover the Out of Eden Walk project as a model for exploring our neighborhoods and community histories and develop inquiry and multimedia storytelling skills. Participants will learn interviewing, research, photography, video and writing. Integrated with filmmaking, students will gain professional skills and concepts that can help in the creation of digital videos as a means for capturing and telling community and individual stories. Participants should bring their own photo/video capturing devices, such as an iPad, or smartphone.

Slam Poetry with John Blake

Discover how Spoken Word enables students to conquer verbal and non-verbal communication and learn to dare our students to once again speak in this time of the text message. Participants will create their own poem and be invited to share their creation out loud in a Poetry Slam.

Curriculum Slam and Idea Demos: Dr. Bob Spires and Rob McAdams

Share what has inspired you throughout the week and how you are going to utilize some of the ideas and experiences you have discovered. Bonus points for creativity and rhymes.

Related Campus Units

Education Department

Director, Partners in the Arts
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts
Member, SPCS Speakers Bureau
Integrating Creativity in Learning & Working
Arts Integration
Assistant Professor, Education
Member, SPCS Speakers Bureau
Human Trafficking & NGO Efforts to Address Trafficking
Disadvantaged Youth in Asia & Africa
Socio-psychological Processes Impacting Educators