NCCAkron Announces Open Application for Creative Administration Research Program

By Mariclare Hulbert

AKRON, Ohio —The National Center for Choreography – Akron (NCCAkron) announces its first Creative Administration Research (CAR) open application period. Funded by a multi-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CAR program is focused on challenging the dance ecosystem to think beyond the boundaries of known, traditional models and “best practices.” The program launched in 2020 and has already initiated three cohorts of 15 Artist Teams total. This is the first open application period for CAR; opening January 10, 2022, and closing February 14, 2022. There is no fee to apply. 

Through this open application, NCCAkron will welcome a new CAR cohort of two Artist Teams. Teams include the Artist, a curated Thought Partner, and NCCAkron team members. Each Artist Team will engage in two artist-dedicated Investigative Retreats: one virtual and one in-person, with funding, time, and space to identify administrative experiments that support their discrete artistic visions. NCCAkron Executive/Artistic Director Christy Bolingbroke explains, “The so-called best practices developed across our sector over the past 70 years presume everyone’s operating environment is the same. Through the CAR program, we aim to investigate and discover what unique opportunities and solutions are specific to each artist’s chosen home and way of working.”

An Artist Selection Committee will review applications and in March 2022 selected participants will be invited to join the program. Non-selected applicants will also be notified of the committee’s decisions. A detailed schedule is below. To learn more about the CAR program, visit NCCAkron’s Frequently Asked Questions page: https://bit.ly/CAR-FAQs.

Brian Brooks (New York, NY), a member of the first Creative Administration Research cohort, shares his experience, “Reflecting upon our past strategies and outcomes to realize strengths and patterns has been amazing. I’ve been able to recognize successful team-building techniques that I hadn’t completely owned before. I’ve been honestly inspired by NCCAkron’s idea of ‘Creative’ Administration and using choreographic tools to create more cohesive management approaches. This idea has been quite illuminating and pivotal. Each conversation concerning the work, whether artistic or financial or educational or logistic, has potential connections to other partners, and I find myself looking to connect these dots more and more.”

Thought Partner, Indira Goodwine (Boston, MA), reflects, “NCCAkron’s Creative Administration Research program provides an opportunity to intentionally merge a choreographer’s creative practices with emergent administrative strategies that support their career trajectory and overall desired social impact through dance. It not only creates additional pathways to better support individual artists, but also places a high value on the stewardship of trust that must be built amongst all members of the dance ecology for equitable transformation to occur in our field.”

All active Artists and Thought Partners will join NCCAkron for the inaugural National Summit Convening in Akron from Thursday, June 2 through Saturday, June 4, 2022. The planning of the inaugural convening is informed by another artist-centric committee including Creative Administration Research Artists and Thought Partners in addition to national scholars.

This past fall, NCCAkron recently welcomed the third cohort to the program. This latest cohort includes artists based in Knight Foundation resident communities: Dominic Moore-Dunson (Akron, OH), Iquail Shaheed (Philadelphia, PA), jumatatu m. poe (Philadelphia, PA), Pioneer Winter (Miami, FL), and Rosie Herrera (Miami, FL). The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided the initial funding to establish NCCAkron in 2015.

In 2020, the first cohort onboarded into the program includes Artists: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko (Philadelphia, PA), Raja Feather Kelly, (New York, NY), Ron K. Brown (New York, NY), Silas Riener + Rashaun Mitchell (New York, NY), and Brooks mentioned above. The second cohort onboarded in early 2021 and includes Abby Zbikowski (Columbus, OH/ NYC), Banning Bouldin (Nashville, TN), Bebe Miller (Columbus, OH), Kate Wallich (Seattle, WA), and Marjani Forté-Saunders (Pasadena, CA).

In addition to Goodwine above, current Thought Partners include Antuan Byers (New York, NY), Byron Au Yong (San Francisco, CA), Dixon|Dahlia Li (New York, NY), Francine Sheffield (Richmond, VA), Huong Hoang (New York, NY), John Michael Schert (Boise, ID), Mengtong Guan (New York, NY), Michele Byrd-McPhee (Jersey City, NJ), Pamela Green (Durham, NC), Reuben Roqueñi (Portland, OR), Sydnie L. Mosley (New York, NY), and Tonya Lockyer (Suquamish, WA).

The Creative Administration Research program is made possible with lead support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

CAR Application Schedule

Monday, January 10, 2022: Application is open to the public. There is no fee to apply. Application form

Monday, February 14, 2022, 12 pm ET: Applications due

March 22 – March 31, 2022: Applicant notifications

Thursday, June 2 – Saturday, June 4, 2022: Summit Convening (Akron, OH)

To be notified when the application goes live, join NCCAkron’s mailing list at nccakron.org/engage.

About NCCAkron

The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron supports the research and development of new work in dance by exploring the full potential of the creative process. In addition to offering studio and technical residencies to make new work, activities focus on catalyzing dialogue and experimentation; creating proximity among artists and dance thinkers; and aggregating resources around dance making. For more information, visit nccakron.org.

The establishment and general operation of NCCAkron is made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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