Skip to main content
U-M Arts Initiative Signature

Arts & Resistance

Explore the Power of the Arts to Shape Society

Visible all around us, and deeply embedded in our day-to-day lives, the arts play a central role in shaping cultural and political narratives, as well as challenging and criticizing dominant regimes. Some recent examples include the worldwide reproduction of George Floyd’s likeness on city walls to underpin BLM protests; the toppling of public monuments and the invention of new statues; the reactivation of Barbara Kruger in a post-Roe v. Wade era; the boycott of Russian performers in the West after the invasion of Ukraine. Creative processes have been used time and again to reveal under-told stories and to resist simple narratives. Regardless of one's personal politics, a collective consideration of the art's potential to change hearts and minds seems both urgent and necessary.

In a cross-campus partnership between the U-M Museum of Art, the U-M Arts Initiative, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, this campus theme semester will reflect on how creativity and making can arise out of oppression and destruction. All schools and colleges are invited to participate in this campus-wide engagement. Even when people are stripped of their agency and humanity, they turn to creativity as a way to reclaim some of this agency and resist dehumanization. “Arts & Resistance” will generate public performances, courses, lectures, conferences, exhibitions, workshops, and mini-grants for students, creating an immersive experience that engages the U-M community and broader public in the power of the arts to shape society. More information can be found on UMMA's website.


Connect an existing course or event to the Theme Semester and receive marketing and communications support across campus and throughout the region. Or, apply for funding to support the development of new opportunities, fund an idea you’ve always had, or expand an existing course or event.

What we’re looking for:

  • Courses: either existing, adapted, or completely new that explore the theme of arts and resistance
  • "Marquee" events: major events such as exhibitions, performances, panels, discussions, and guest speakers
  • Student-led projects of all kinds
  • Art-making opportunities


Course Connection Grants

Project and Program Grants

  • Up to $25,000 from the U-M Arts Initiative to support marquee projects
  • Priority Deadline: Applications accepted through summer and early fall. Apply for these funds

Collaborative Project Grants

  • $20,000 - $100,000 from the U-M Arts Initiative to support partnerships between two or more schools, colleges or units that have a significant student engagement component.
  • Deadline: Rolling Application. Apply for these funds


Programs are hosted and implemented by units, and the theme semester planning group provides marketing and promotional support. The theme semester planning group may reach out to you for further information before listing your event. Our first programming announcement is scheduled for April 2023, though we will accept program submissions on a rolling basis. We expect a diverse array of programming such as performances, exhibitions, service projects, art making experiences, publications, panels, symposiums, screenings, lectures, and artist visits.

If you would like your project or program to be listed and promoted as part of the "Arts & Resistance" theme semester (Fall 2023), please complete the form below. You may also use this form to propose project ideas for further exploration and discussion, and a member of the theme semester planning group will be in touch with you.

Early deadline to list a program or event: March 24, 2023! Rolling submissions accepted after this date.

Respond/ Resist/ Rethink 2023

An Exhibition of Student Art for Change

In conjunction with the Fall 2023 Theme Semester: Arts & Resistance, Stamps Gallery is partnering with the U‑M Arts Initiative to present the 4th annual Respond/​Resist/​Rethink student art exhibition. All undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Michigan are invited to apply to this juried exhibition that explores what can be done to create more just and equitable futures in the 21st Century and beyond.

Applications of artwork will be accepted in 2D — including, but not limited to drawing, painting, illustration, poster, photography — and 4D formats such as video, animation, gif, or performance that Respond/Resist/Rethink and/or reimagine the question: “What can we do to create a more just world?” Open to Undergraduate and Graduate students at any of the U‑M campuses (Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint) enrolled for Fall 2023 Semester. More information can be found on Stamps' website.

Deadline to submit: May 15, 2023

Submit your work today!