Arts & Resistance - Fall 2023 Theme Semester


LSA Theme Semester
Fall 2023

Presented by UMMA and the U-M Arts Initiative in collaboration with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Explore the Power of the Arts to Shape Society

Visible all around us, and deeply embedded in our day-to-day lives, the arts play a central role in shaping cultural and political narratives, as well as challenging and criticizing dominant regimes. Some recent examples include the worldwide reproduction of George Floyd’s likeness on city walls to underpin BLM protests; the toppling of public monuments and the invention of new statues; the reactivation of Barbara Kruger in a post-Roe v. Wade era; and the boycott of Russian performers in the West after the invasion of Ukraine. Creative processes have been used time and again to reveal under-told stories and to resist simple narratives. Regardless of one's personal politics, a collective consideration of the arts potential to change hearts and minds seems both urgent and necessary.

In a cross-campus partnership between the U-M Museum of Art, the U-M Arts Initiative, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, this campus theme semester will reflect on how creativity and making can arise out of oppression and destruction. All schools and colleges are invited to participate in this campus-wide engagement. Even when people are stripped of their agency and humanity, they turn to creativity as a way to reclaim some of this agency and resist dehumanization. “Arts & Resistance” will generate public performances, courses, lectures, conferences, exhibitions, workshops, and mini-grants for students, creating an immersive experience that engages the U-M community and broader public in the power of the arts to shape society.




All across U-M’s three campuses students will be learning about the forms, methods, histories, influence, design, implications, and future of arts being used as resistance. There are more than 100 courses available in conjunction with the Theme Semester across most U-M schools and colleges. 

Featured Courses

There are still spots remaining in several Theme Semester courses, including those featured below – Check each school’s course catalogue for additional, updated information


See All Courses!


Make sure you keep your calendars open for the following dates! Join the community and find different ways to engage with “Arts & Resistance”

Featured Events

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Get Involved


Connect an existing course or event to the Theme Semester and receive marketing and communications support across campus and throughout the region. 

What we’re looking for:

  • Courses: either existing, adapted, or completely new that explore the theme of arts and resistance
  • "Marquee" events: major events such as exhibitions, performances, panels, discussions, and guest speakers
  • Student-led projects of all kinds
  • Art-making opportunities

Click below to add your program or event to the Theme Semester program list:



Looking to find ways to give your program a boost? Find everything you need to promote your event as part of the Arts & Resistance theme semester here.

Need something else? Contact us!
If you are interested in any other resources, please feel free to reach out at

Get Updates!

Sign up to receive periodic updates on important deadlines and events related to the Arts & Resistance Theme Semester. 


Arts & Resistance Steering Committee

Jim Leija, Co-Chair; Deputy Director for Public Experience and Learning, UMMA

Chris Audain, Co-Chair; Managing Director, Arts Initiative

Laura De Becker, Co-Chair; Chief Curator, UMMA

Ethriam Brammer, Assistant Dean Rackham Graduate School

David Choberka, Associate Curator for University Learning and Programs, UMMA

Mark Clague, Associate Dean For Collaborations And Partnerships; Director, U-M Gershwin Initiative; Co-Editor-In-Chief, Musa; Professor Of Musicology And Entrepreneurship & Leadership, SMTD

Debby Covington, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Equity Initiatives, Office of Student Affairs, Michigan Engineering; Washtenaw County African American Cultural and Historical Museum representative

Sascha Crasnow, Lecturer, LSA Residential College Makeda Easter, Knight-Wallace fellow and visiting fellow at Center for Racial Justice, Ford School

Mike Gould, Director, Center for World Performance Studies

Kathryn Grabowski-Khairullah, Program Curator, Arts Initiative

Cayenne Harris, Vice President, Learning & Engagement, UMS

Julie Herrada, Curator of the Labadie Collection, UM Libraries

Andrew Herscher, Professor of Architecture, Taubman College

Bethany Hughes, Assistant Professor American Culture

Jessica Jenks, Arts Communications Strategist, Arts Initiative

Amanda Krugliak, Arts Curator & Assistant Director Creative Programming, Institute for the Humanities

Kelly Maxwell, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, LSA

Srimoyee Mitra, Director, Stamps Gallery

Katie Richards-Schuster, Director of Undergraduate Minor Programs and Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work (CASC - Community Action and Social Change)

Alison Rivett, Associate Director, Arts Initiative

Aunrika Tucker-Shabazz, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology

Jason Young, Associate Professor of History

The Arts & Resistance Theme Semester, organized by UMMA and the U-M Arts Initiative, is generously supported by the U-M Office of the Provost, the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick.

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