Getting Outside of the Classroom: A Year of Student Engagement at UMMA

UMMA’s commitment to student engagement is one of the reasons it is such a unique part of the campus community.  Students who come from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to create relationships with the Museum, its staff, and other students, by participating in the Student Engagement Council (SEC) and participating in events that are geared toward the student body. ​


learn_SEC.jpgThe SEC

The 2017-18 SEC was comprised of 33 students, whose majors and minors span more than 30 different areas of study. The SEC is dedicated to increasing student engagement with the arts and developing the arts leaders of tomorrow.

SEC members collaboratively developed a small exhibition, Mirrored Image, with works by Diego Rivera, Elliott Erwitt, and David Hockney (among others) from UMMA's collection.

Working on this project enabled students to get a taste of the curatorial side of museum work. Students took all of the necessary steps to create their installation—from choosing a theme, and selecting pieces, to writing labels and deciding layout. To read more about the project please click here.

What our students have to say about their experience at UMMA:

"I love how much of the Museum we get to see, our visibility in staff meetings, our ability to create our own little exhibition in the study cases, and the processes and projects that we’re allowed to be part of. My favorite projects are the ones where we feel like we, and therefore the student body, are being represented at UMMA."  -- Sarah Jacob, U-M Sophomore, International Studies and Neuroscience majors with an Islamic Studies minor.


“The SEC has given me the opportunity to try my hand in several departments in museums (i.e. programs and content creation) which has played a large part in my career and aspirational development. I love working with fellow students, as well as the staff, to bring what the Museum has to offer to the entire student body.” -- Karissa Knapp, U-M Senior,  English major with a Museum Studies minor.



“Being a member of the SEC has been the most influential experience of my time on campus. I have had the opportunity to explore and grow my interest in museum work, but more importantly, I have connected with a diverse community of students and staff that I would not have done without the SEC. “ -- Hannah Baker, U-M Senior, History of Art major with Museum Studies and German minors





Artscapade and Student Late Night

Two large student events bookend the year: Artscapade is a signature Welcome Week event at Michigan that UMMA organizes in partnership with Arts at Michigan that introduces 4,500 incoming students to all things art each fall; Student Late Night, organized by the SEC, closes out the winter semester with a fun-filled art night for all.





World AIDS Day and ArtsX UMMA

SEC members helped organize two programs specifically devoted to understanding diverse identities. Campus partners for these programs included  U-M Spectrum Center, U-M Center for Sexuality & Health Disparities, Arts at Michigan, the Michigan Community Scholars Program, the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the Trotter Multicultural Center.

World AIDS Day: Alternate Endings, Radical Beginnings

The evening of December 1, 2017,  included a screening of Visual AIDS’ Alternate Endings, Radical Beginnings, a series of new video works by seven contemporary artists that prioritize Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, followed by a panel discussion with AIDS activists (left to right) Demario Longmire (former SEC member), Leon Golson, and Bré Campbell.






ArtsX UMMA: UNDEFINED was an evening of student performance on February 9, 2018, where the aim was to reject divisive categorization, emphasize the fluidity of the human experience, and view our differences and similarities as cause for celebration. The night featured performances of dance, music, spoken word, mixed media, and digital arts.











Education Co-Sponsorships

In addition to facilitating the Student Engagement Council activities, the UMMA Education department actively partners with departments and student organizations to host events that support student initiatives and development.

Value the Voice

The U-M Comprehensive Studies Program and Department of Afroamerican and African Studies partnered with UMMA to host a series of Moth Style Storyteller Lounge events that explored themes related to campus life, coming of age, learning and growing.

Maize Collective Speaker Series

UMMA partnered with Maize Collective, a student organization whose mission is to build a community based on collaboration and support for student artists, musicians, and creatives, to host a three-part speaker series that explored topics relating to the music industry. Each event served as an opportunity for audience members to engage with professionals in the creative industry and learn from their experiences.