Updates About the Initiative & Diversity at UIC

Solicitudes de becas NEH disponibles para estudios museológicos

Posted on September 5th, 2017

Therese Quinn, directora del programa de estudios de museos y exposiciones, ayudó a obtener una subvención NEH para aumentar la representación de las minorías en los estudios museísticos.

Therese Quinn, directora del programa de estudios de museos y exposiciones, ayudó a obtener una subvención NEH para aumentar la representación de las minorías en los estudios museísticos.

Los estudiantes de color que deseen obtener una maestría en museos y estudios de exposición pueden solicitar una de las dos becas de la Fundación Nacional para las Humanidades (NEH por sus siglas en Ingles).

For English

El premio es parte de las becas inaugurales de Humanidades de NEH, que proveen programación cultural a grupos desatendidos y se otorga a 34 organizaciones, incluyendo el programa de estudios de museos y exposiciones de la Universidad de Illinois en Chicago, reconocido como MUSE. La subvención requiere que la UIC asigne $50,000 de fondos NEH para estipendios y dispensas de matrícula por un valor total de $100,000.

Therese Quinn, directora de MUSE, dijo que había una necesidad de diversidad y citó estadísticas recientes que muestran que los blancos no hispanos forman la abrumadora cantidad de curadores, conservadores y administradores que ayudan a los museos a realizar sus misiones intelectuales y educativas.

MUSE es un programa interdisciplinario y centrado en la justicia que enfatiza la evolución de los contextos sociales y políticos de las instituciones culturales.

Una investigación de la Fundación Andrew W. Mellon de 2015 muestra que “el personal blanco no hispano domina las categorías de trabajo … asociadas con la misión intelectual y educativa de los museos, incluidos los de curadores, conservadores, educadores y liderazgo”.  En esos puestos, usando las categorías del censo, “el 84 por ciento del personal se identifica como blanco no hispano, con 6 por ciento de asiáticos, 4 por ciento de morenos, 3 por ciento de blancos hispanos y el 3 por ciento de dos o más razas.

La Beca de Acceso a las Humanidades de la NEH se usará para apoyar asistencias de posgrado ofreciendo estipendios y dispensas de matrícula para dos estudiantes graduados de color inscritos en el programa de maestría interdisciplinario de dos años. El primer estudiante que recibió estos fondos comenzó el programa en el otoño de 2017 y el segundo beneficiario será un miembro de la clase entrante 2018.

El ciclo de aplicación de MUSE 2018 se abrió el 1 de septiembre y todos los materiales de solicitud deben recibirse antes del 15 de diciembre.

Para obtener información sobre MUSE, vaya aquí y vaya aquí para obtener información sobre la aplicación.

Applications sought for NEH grants in museum studies

Posted on September 5th, 2017

Therese Quinn, director of the Museum and Exhibition Studies program, helped to get an NEH grant to increase minority representation in museum studies.

Therese Quinn, director of the museum and exhibition studies program, helped to get an NEH grant to increase minority representation in museum studies.

Students of color who would like to seek a master’s degree in museum and exhibition studies may apply for one of two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The award is part of NEH’s inaugural Humanities Access grants, which provide cultural programming to underserved groups and is awarded to 34 organizations, including the University of Illinois at Chicago’s museum and exhibition studies program, or MUSE. The grant calls for UIC to match $50,000 of NEH funds for stipends and tuition waivers worth a total of $100,000.

En Español

Therese Quinn, director of MUSE, said there was a need for diversity and cited recent statistics that show non-Hispanic whites make up the overwhelming number of curators, conservators and administrators helping museums pursue their intellectual and educational missions.

MUSE is an interdisciplinary and justice-centered program that emphasizes the evolving social and political contexts of cultural institutions.

A 2015 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation research shows that “Non-Hispanic white staff dominate the job categories…associated with the intellectual and educational mission of museums, including those of curators, conservators, educators, and leadership.” In those positions, using census categories, “84 percent of staff identify as non-Hispanic white, with 6 percent Asian, 4 percent black, 3 percent Hispanic white, and 3 percent two or more races.”

The Humanities Access Grant from the NEH will be used to support graduate assistantships offering stipends and tuition waivers for two graduate students of color enrolled in the two-year, interdisciplinary master’s program. The first student to receive these funds began the program in fall 2017 and the second recipient will be a member of the 2018 incoming class.

The MUSE 2018 application cycle opened on Sept. 1 and all application materials must be received by Dec. 15.

For information on MUSE click here and go here for application information.

Exhibits highlight African-influenced art, movements

Posted on August 30th, 2017

Jacqueline Y. Smith holding a book on the American Negro Exposition

“Cavalcade of the American Negro” by Jacqueline Yvonne Smith, an UIC museum and exhibition studies alumna, will be exhibited this fall.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s African American Cultural Center is kicking off its 2017-18 program themed, “Afro-Geographies,” by hosting two exhibits that will be on display and open to the public through the fall semester.


Sept. 6

Open House 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Opening reception 3:30 to 5 p.m.


UIC African American Cultural Center

Addams Hall, Rooms 200 and 209 2nd floor

830 S. Halsted St.


The center’s exhibits include a premiere of “Polymathic” by Chicago-based artist Damon Lamar Reed and will include a reprise of “Cavalcade of the American Negro” by Jacqueline Yvonne Smith, an UIC museum and exhibition studies alumna. Both exhibits are part of the center’s 2017-18 program theme, “Afro-Geographies.” The theme focuses on the intersections that people of African descent must navigate toward self-identity within past, present and future histories and experiences.

“Polymathic” meditates on human versatility and Reed uses diverse media including print, mosaic, poetry and music to create various artistic styles to help the onlooker discover themselves and their potential. Reed, a public arts artist and rapper, became the first artist in 2013 to receive the “Gem of the Community” award from Archi-treasures, an arts-based community development organization, and honored in 2016 at the Voice of the People annual gala for his commitment to excellence.

“Cavalcade of the American Negro” uses objects, images and historical narrative to explore the legacy of the Chicago’s 1940 American Negro Exposition. The exposition in the Chicago Coliseum marked 75 years of African-American freedom from slavery. The exposition featured accomplishments of black Americans to public audiences.

Smith, who received her master of arts degree from the College of Art, Design and Architecture in 2015, first curated the exhibit at the center in Spring 2015. Smith, an emerging art history expert whose research focuses on the black arts movement, has worked on a number of projects for UIC special collections.

The exhibits and program admissions are free and open to the public. More information is available at (312) 996-9549 or online.

UIC’s CHANCE program honored

Posted on August 17th, 2017

UIC CHANCE Summer Program

Students involved in UIC’s CHANCE summer program meet with members of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago where the program was honored.

Cook County officials recently honored the University of Illinois at Chicago’s CHANCE program’s efforts to assist UIC in the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups.

CHANCE, which stands for Counseling Help and Assistance Necessary for a 21st century College Education, was formed in 2004 to help UIC reach students from underrepresented populations and provide them with support through counseling and workshops. The program has graduated 660 students, including 596 bachelor’s degree recipients, 53 master’s degree recipients, and 11 doctoral degree recipients.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago honored the program by passing a resolution on Aug. 3 applauding its efforts.

The proclamation, sponsored by Commissioner Kari Steele, also applauded the Chicago Housing Authority, or CHA, and the Ameresco Corporation for joining UIC in 2011 to create the CHANCE for CHAnge Summer Youth STEM camp. The summer program seeks to introduce 25 high school sophomores and juniors to STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“Over a six-week period these students came to the UIC campus daily and were exposed not only to our college setting and our rigorous curricula but of most importance, a safe-zone environment,” says Kendal Parker, director of the CHANCE program.

The students involved in the summer program were part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s One-Summer Chicago Youth Employment Program. The students had the opportunity to live in a dorm for a week and received a monetary stipend.

As part of the summer program, the students toured the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, considered the largest wastewater treatment facility in the world. The plant serves 2.3 million people in a 260-square-mile area. During the tour, Commissioner Steele and staff encouraged the students to consider STEM careers.

This summer, CHANCE officials also hosted the National Summer Transportation Institute, or NSTI, and the Exelon-ComEd STEM Academy.

Three current UIC students, Taahira Muhammad, Clarke Eaddy and Aimme Muro, who participated in the Exelon-ComEd STEM Academy each received a merit-based scholarship of $16,650 for up to four years from the United Negro College Fund, its newest partner, said Parker.

The group is planning to partner with The Network, a group of black communication professionals at AT&T, to hold a citywide STEM conference in October.

Click here for more information about the CHANCE program.

Social Justice Initiative receives grant for ‘Intellectual Quilting’ think tanks

Posted on April 20th, 2017

Barbara Ransby

Barbara Ransby, Distinguished Professor of African American Studies and History; Director, Social Justice Initiative at UIC
Photo: Jenny Fontaine

The Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago has received a grant from the Lannan Foundation to convene a series of education-focused national think tanks.

The aim of the seminars will be to engage researchers, civic leaders and community organizers in dialogues over the coming year pertaining to social and racial justice issues.

A goal is to encourage scholars to speak to non-academic partners in an accessible language to underscore the “reciprocity inherent in all learning,” says Barbara Ransby, director of the SJI and principal investigator for the $50,000 grant.

“We hope to build new bridges of understanding and new bases for collaboration,” said Ransby, who is professor of African American Studies and History.  “We think of this as a kind of ‘intellectual quilting’ as we stitch together ideas and information drawn from a variety of sources inside and outside the academy, with social justice as our theme.”

Since its inception in 2012, SJI has worked to build ties between academics and community social justice practitioners through conferences, seminars, public programming and informal gatherings.

Most recently, SJI concluded a yearlong Andrew Mellon Foundation-funded seminar at UIC, “Geographies of Justice,” which hosted scholars and artists from three continents to talk about issues related to education, prisons and wealth inequality.

With the funds from the Lannan Foundation, SJI will host three gatherings, involving some 50 participants, to wrestle with challenges facing social justice projects in various regions of the country. Topics include racism, poverty, violence, immigration, human rights, indigenous rights, ableism, LGBTQIA issues and gender justice.

The Lannan Foundation is a family organization dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects supporting exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities.

More about SJI and upcoming programs at