Interdisciplinary Research Grants

The Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grants foster collaborative scholarship and creative work by offering recipients time and space to exchange new ideas leading to invention, creation, and publication. Groups can choose between two- and four-week residencies.

Four groups were in residence in 2017–2018:

Iphigenia: Story of a Refugee


During their month-long residency, Lisa Schlesinger (Theatre Arts, CLAS) wrote the script for this live “film opera,” which will debut at Hancher in 2018–19; Irina Patkanian, a Russian-born filmmaker, edited footage she’d taken of refugees landing in Greece two summers before; and Marion Schoevaert, a French theater director, created storyboards that mixed stills from Patkanian’s footage with a panoply of images. Grammy-winning clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, composed the score. 

“We really interrogated the idea of who we sacrifice for war, whose sons and daughters we expect, as a culture, to sacrifice so that others can live.” —Lisa Schlesinger

Avant-Garde in Iowa_DSC9191.jpg

Jennifer Buckley (English, CLAS) and Joyce Tsai (Stanley Museum of Art; Teaching & Learning and Art Education, College of Education) worked to lay the intellectual and logistical groundwork for a five-year program of interrelated exhibitions, performances, lectures, and courses across campus focused on an artistic vanguard that emerged in Iowa beginning at mid-century.

“It was one of the most productive months I’ve had in recent memory and [Jen Buckley and I] both benefited enormously from the time we spent exploring disciplinary, historical, methodological, theoretical, and practical questions together. It was deeply satisfying to learn so much from one another and commit ourselves to this long-term project. Thank you for enabling this endeavor and for fostering spaces of interdisciplinary thought, practice, and community.” —Joyce Tsai

The Intersection of Education and Health in Two Rural Immigrant Iowa Communities

During their time at the Obermann Center, Carolyn Colvin (Literacy, Language, & Culture, College of Education) and Sandra Daack-Hirsch (College of Nursing) applied for an NIH Education and Health: New Frontiers grant. This reflects their growing awareness of literacy and its relationship to health knowledge and health decisions among members of immigrant communities in rural Iowa.

Literacy Interventions in Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis

Erica Kaldenberg (UI Reach, College of Education) and Meredith Saletta (Communication Sciences & Disorders, CLAS) worked on a meta-analysis about literacy in children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, including individuals with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or other disabilities that affect cognition.