Nine SOMD faculty members awarded grants for projects supporting equity and inclusion

By Kristen Hudgins 


Nine University of Oregon School of Music and Dance (SOMD) faculty members have been awarded grants to support their projects centered around equity and inclusion. These grants, totaling $15,000, were provided through SOMD’s Committee for Equity and Inclusion, and comprise both CEI mini grants and grants specifically designated to facilitate guest artist and scholar activities.

Abigail Fine 

A CEI guest artist grant, secured by Assistant Professor of Musicology Dr. Abigail Fine, provided funding for Dr. Ayana Smith to meet with faculty and students in April and workshop their teaching materials. Smith, an associate professor of musicology at Indiana University, had recently published a book titled Inclusive Music Histories: Leading Change Through Research and Pedagogy.

"We are facing a moment of reckoning for Eurocentric curricula, as students call for more inclusive approaches to music history and curricula across the country have been significantly revised and rethought,” Fine said. “Dr. Smith’s expertise offers us a clearer path for students and faculty looking to explore alternatives to the traditional music history curriculum.

Already on campus to deliver the keynote address for the Oregon Bach Festival’s Musicking Conference, the CEI grant enabled the SOMD to make the most of her visit.

Shannon Mockli

The SOMD Dance Department was also able to deepen its engagement with a guest artist through a CEI grant. Already on campus to develop new choreography for the UO Dance in Concert, choreographer Subashini Ganesan-Forbes was also able to guest teach due to the additional CEI funding, obtained by Associate Professor of Dance Shannon Mockli.

Ganesan-Forbes led various classes this spring including dance improvisation, composition, and technique. She introduced students to Bharatanatyam, an Indian dance form rarely explored in higher education curricula, even as some key American dance pioneers have appropriated its movements and aesthetics.

“Subashini has an exquisite clarity in her approach to design of the stage space, time, and emotional intention of the movement,” Mockli said. “UO dance students had the opportunity to observe our collaborative process as we melded our choreographic sensibilities. Moreover, they actively participated as collaborators, generating their own movements inspired by our prompts.” 

Hannah Thomas

As a CEI grant recipient, Assistant Professor of Dance Hannah Thomas will use the funds to bring dancers, predominantly from the BIPOC community, to Eugene for a three-week residency from May 20-June 8.

The visit will culminate in two shows called (Precept)itation that will delve into the depths of human experience through the art of dance. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this award!” Thomas said. “It enables me to welcome diverse dancers nationwide, embody southern hospitality, and ambitiously dream in the creation of this residency and show.”

Zachary Boyt

With a CEI mini grant, Instructor of Music Technology Zachary Boyt will purchase equipment to support the activities of the Ramificaciones Festival in Zacatecas, Mexico, a contemporary music and multimedia festival.

Since its inception in July 2018, the annual festival has been a catalyst for artistic exploration and interdisciplinary collaboration. “In my supporting role in this annual event, I have seen first-hand the strengthening of confidence in returning students, and the spark of emboldened curiosity of new attendees who are often members of historically underrepresented groups within the arts and technology community,” Boyt said.

The support provided by the CEI grant will allow for the performance and installation of experimental sound and multimedia works in nontraditional performance venues and educational environments that align with the culture and community.

“We are very much looking forward to these new opportunities that will strengthen our goal toward a more diverse future in contemporary performing arts,” Boyt said.

Pius Cheung

CEI mini grant funds supported Associate Professor of Percussion Dr. Pius Cheung’s trip to New York City in March, where he performed his ballet Heaven and Earth with NYU’s percussion and dance department.

"I loved having the opportunity to work with dancers as both a composer and a performer on stage with the dance,” Cheung said. “It was a great opportunity to present my work to colleagues on the East Coast, who may be interested in putting it on themselves in the future.”

Jacqueline Cordova-Arrington 

Dr. Jacqueline Cordova-Arrington is finishing an album of works by women composers and touring some of the works around the Pacific Northwest, thanks to funding provided by a CEI mini grant.

"Receiving funding from CEI's grant program has brought me closer to completing a professional and personally important passion project,” Cordova-Arrington said of her new album, Soundscapes. “I have always been excited by the potential to create an album that showcases artful storytelling. It has been a dream to create a recording project that celebrates female composers who deeply value storytelling and view it as an essential element of their compositional perspective. It's truly my honor to do this work, and in doing so, I hope to expand the current canon of flute repertoire so that flutists and listening communities worldwide can enjoy this incredible music."

Her tour will commence in the fall of 2024. 

Alexandre Dossin 

Professor of Piano Dr. Alexandre Dossin will use his CEI mini grant funds to visit the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Collection at Emory University in Atlanta. There, he will research the complete manuscripts, papers, and rare documents of American composer George Walker, helping Dossin create a complete, revised performance edition of Walker’s piano works. Dossin previously recorded all of Walker’s piano works and his piano concerto, to be released by Naxos in two volumes this year.  

“I am really excited about the possibility of sharing with a wide audience not only my approach to the performance of such exciting piano works, but also the ‘work behind the scenes’ – fingering, biographical, performance and historical notes on each piece,” Dossin said. “I am confident that this creative project will be a catalyst in bringing Walker’s works to the forefront of American piano music, where he deserves to be.”  

Akiko Hatakeyama

CEI mini grant recipient, Dr. Akiko Hatakeyama will use the funds to support exhibiting interactive sound installations at the Mid Japan Sound Complex Art Festival in Nagoya, Japan in August 2024. 

“With this visiting opportunity, I aim to advocate gender equality and the importance of education to eliminate societal cognitive biases through the power of music and art,” Hatakeyama said. 

Jason Silveira

Associate Professor of Instrumental Music Education Dr. Jason Silveira received funding through a CEI mini grant to attend the International Society for Music Education conference in Helsinki, Finland in the summer of 2024. At the conference, he will present a paper on the perspectives and experiences of blind preservice music teachers. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to receive this grant,” Silveira said. “Social justice in music education has been an area of interest for me in my teaching, research, and service commitments. “I hope that my study – “Perspectives of a Blind Preservice Music Teacher” – will encourage other music teachers and music teacher educators to be advocates for this underrepresented population and help to remove barriers into the music teaching profession.”