Ph.D. Track: Cultural Ecologies, IAHI

As a PhD student and researcher in the Cultural Ecologies track of IUPUI’s Arts and Humanities Institute, Emily Leiserson is interested in questioning and exploring our society’s tendency to marginalize the arts. When and how did U.S. residents and policy makers separate the arts into a distinct field in education and in our built environment? How can we better measure the impacts of the arts when engagement is complex, individualized, and longitudinal?

Emily is interested in bringing together a regional consortium of practitioners, researchers, and funders to measure the impact of arts initiatives on civic engagement in central Indiana. She also plans to conduct ethnographic research documenting individual stories and help activate other documentarians to convey personal experiences of arts and civic life.

For nearly 15 years, Emily has worked with arts organizations and other nonprofits at the intersection of arts, community health, and civic engagement. She currently works for the Damien Center and serves on the boards of Arts for Lawrence and the Friends of Broad Ripple Park. She has also worked in fundraising, operations, and volunteer management for the Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Pasadena Museum of History, and the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

When time allows, Emily continues to practice as an artist and writer. She holds an M.A. in studio art from Ball State University and a B.A. in studio art from Carleton College; in both degrees she focused on printmaking, storytelling, and handmade books.