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Signature Initiatives


Photocracy: Defining Democracy Through Stories & Art

Photocracy invites students, faculty, staff and alum from the U-M campus community to share what democracy means to them by submitting an image along with a short written or audio- or video-recorded explanation of the personal meaning of that image. Submissions will be showcased online in an ever-growing collage of images and videos, where viewers can view a diverse and wide-ranging collection of submission in a gallery of images to see and hear more about the unique perspectives of our campus community. In this way, Photocracy becomes a community platform whereby each of us can speak and each of us can listen as we prepare for the election.

The Photocracy: Call for Artists and Designers asks faculty and graduate student artists and designers, as individuals or teams, to propose a commissioned piece that will be developed using the collected images, text, and recordings as source material and inspiration for an interactive work that will be initially displayed or previewed in January 2021 during the week of the presidential inauguration and fully exhibited in Spring 2021. Proposals may be for any genre of creative work in any format – installation, exhibition, performance, composition, etc. – and must include an interactive community element that can be experienced in connection with the exhibited or presented piece. Whatever the outcome of the November 2020 election, our community will benefit from interacting with the pre-election inspired work and reflecting on their evolving ideas of democracy and the American experiment through that interaction. The presented work can be in a final form when exhibited or presented in January, may continue to be exhibited or performed throughout the Winter 2021 semester, or may continue its creative development through April 2021. Note: Proposals that include interdisciplinary collaborations, teams, or strategies; use of technology; or UX/UI considerations are encouraged. A $7,500 honorarium will be awarded to the selected artist(s), designer(s), or team(s), and an additional $2,500 will be available for materials and other expenses. ArtsEngine will work with the selected artist(s), designer(s), or team(s) to secure exhibition or performance space, or any additional identified needs.

Submissions to the gallery from students, faculty, staff, and alum - now through January 2021; Call for faculty and grad student Artists and Designers commission due December 5, previewed January 2021, exhibited/performed Spring 2021