“What starts here changes the world” is more than just a slogan in the UT College of Fine Arts. We live out this ethos every day, and in this issue of Arts Next, we highlight multiple projects with a global impact.
Visual artist and Professor Beili Liu spent the spring in Norway as the 2021–2022 Fulbright Arctic Chair to support her project Dreams of the High North: Between Survival and Belonging. Liu has been exploring environmental and geopolitical transformations of Arctic Norway through the lens of labor, handcraft and the Arctic Indigenous people’s lived experiences. She also has been thinking deeply about what role artists could play in translating scientific data about our climate crisis into emotional narratives to broader audiences in ways that move us to action.
This spring, Associate Professor Kate Catterall staged a design intervention and performance in Belfast to spark intergenerational conversations around the lived experiences of Northern Ireland residents during the violent period of The Troubles.
And the Visual Arts Center is staging its most ambitious exhibition yet: Social Fabric: Art and Activism in Contemporary Brazil. Bringing together the work of 10 Brazilian artists who reflect upon the long-standing histories and political debates in Brazil, the exhibition will run through March and will then travel to Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo.
But even projects happening here in Texas have new opportunities to reach global audiences, thanks to technology and digital archives. Our Digitality in the Arts roundup explores how technology is creating new access and discovery opportunities for ancient art, even as artists are pushing the bounds of technologies to create new works.
In an effort to more effectively reach our community, from Texas to the world, we also hope to further embrace digital formats to tell the story of the college. To do this, and to afford further depth in our printed formats, this publication will assume an annual cadence moving forward. We’ll continue to bring you more in-depth stories that highlight the incredible impact of the College of Fine Arts.
Ramón H. Rivera-Servera