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The Jacobs School of Music Community Engagement Initiative substantially expands opportunities for involvement and participation in community engagement work throughout all areas of the Jacobs School of Music. This 18-month initiative is meant to function as an ‘onramp’ to a future in which the Jacobs School of Music considers community engagement to be a fundamental part of its core mission.
The IU Jacobs School of Music developed and supported 22 performing arts and research projects throughout the 2018–2020 school years in three primary cities: Nashville, Salem, and Huntingburg. We additionally launched projects that engaged with the communities of Paoli, Greene County, Ellettsville, Batesville, Bedford, Trafalgar, and French Lick.
Most projects were multi-faceted and involved elements of performance, pedagogy, and scholarship. We engaged in joint rehearsals and performances with community ensembles, educated high school students through one-on-one mentoring clinics, produced a leadership retreat focused on creativity and innovation, brought opera designed for children to public school classrooms and auditoriums, and hosted movement workshops for kids, adults, and those with movement restrictions. A faculty member in the music education department worked with us to explore scholarship, choosing to build her seminar on the Sociology of Music around community engagement in Huntingburg, IN. Our students have even found research opportunities in their firsthand engagement experiences, merging their own educational curiosities with the interests and curiosities of rural community members. To learn more about these past projects, explore here.
It is crucial that projects put on by the Community Engagement Initiative cater to both students in the Jacobs School of Music and members of our partner communities. The Initiative aims to promote capacity building in these partner areas through their own community-articulated vision, so projects must be highly collaborative and flexible in nature. With the Community Engagement Initiative, we hope to develop projects that reach deeply into the cultural and structural identities of communities. Rather than forming one-off events or developing projects that are convenient for mostly students and faculty, we believe that the initiative can create impact that aligns directly with the needs, aspirations, and vision of our partner communities. We plan to emphasize CRE values by encouraging Jacobs faculty and students to discover and deploy solutions to problems facing rural communities, and additionally empower them to use their unique abilities to create plans for long-term improvement.
The Jacobs Rural Engagement Initiative partners with individuals, organizations, schools, and leaders in communities throughout the Indiana Uplands. We have developed and regularly collaborate with a task force of leaders in Nashville, Salem, Huntingburg, and Paoli to craft actionable plans that will improve quality of place through the arts.