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Arts Research Integration

The Arts Research Integration (ARI) program at the Spencer leverages the power of artists and art to advance interdisciplinary research practices and engage the public in learning and knowledge-sharing. Through ARI, the Spencer actively embeds artists into high-level research happening across the sciences and humanities at the University of Kansas, recognizing that the creation of art is a research methodology in its own right and one that has much to contribute to the study of our world. Through collaborative projects, referred to as Inquiries, as well as a robust slate of fellowships, ARI establishes new pathways for discovery, dialogue, and community engagement with subjects and issues core to our daily lives and the shape of our future.


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ARI builds on a long history of ambitious, interdisciplinary initiatives at the Spencer, including the Arts Research Collaboration initiative (2011–2015), which catalyzed collaboration between the Museum and KU’s faculty, staff, and students. The success of the initiative laid the groundwork for ARI and led to a major grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that seeded and has sustained ARI’s work. Through generous private philanthropy, ARI has now been endowed, allowing the Museum to expand and continue the critical work of making art central to the study and manifestation of ideas.


Learn more about the driving vision and spirit of ARI through a recent report on projects and successes.

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IARI - Inquiries
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ARI’s inquiries, or interdisciplinary collaborative projects, bring together artists with researchers, scholars, professors, and students to explore subjects deeply relevant to our lives and communities. This work makes artistic practices central to research methodologies and, as importantly, engages the public through talks, exhibitions, performances, events, and other convenings and modes of gathering.

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Research Fellows

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Semester- and year-long research fellowships through ARI allow KU students and faculty to engage with innovative practice and develop deep connections with the Museum and its global, cultural resources.

Meet our current and recent fellows:

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Scholars and Creative Specialists


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Scholars & Creative Specialists

ARI works with an incredible range of artists and creative innovators, whose practices connect with timely and topical subjects. Their collaborations with scholars, professors, and students at KU establish new pathways for discovery, encourage dialogue and active learning, and connect with the community, breaking down barriers and fostering understanding.


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For questions about ARI, please contact the Curator for Research.

Joey Orr
Mellon Curator for Research