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U-M Arts Initiative Signature

Mapping without Boundaries

Mapping without Boundaries: A Collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and U-M

Maps are used to represent physical topographies of land or borders between nations, and to assist with directing us to a desired destination. But can they also be used to represent emotions? To make unseen connections? Or to understand the past or move forward into a new future? Can the arts help to shape a new kind of map?

A new residency with international performing artist Yo-Yo Ma, launched by the University of Michigan Arts Initiative in partnership with the University Musical Society, will explore these ideas.

Ma will join a newly-formed steering committee composed of six U-M students and three Michigan-based artists from Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn—representing all three campuses—who will be charged with the development of new variations of maps that will express what the U-M community has experienced in the past year.

The residency will kick off on April 15 at 6–7 p.m. with a public, virtual event titled “Mapping without Boundaries.”

U-M President Mark Schlissel with Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Steering Committee reflecting on the challenges of the past year and how the pandemic radically altered educational modes and dispersed the university’s students, faculty and staff. The event will also incorporate performance and audience participation.

Register here to receive the event link

Alyssa Melani, Ashwin Soorya Prakash, Audrey Banks

Artist Steering Committee Members:

  • Nour Ballout, a Detroit-based interdisciplinary visual artist and curator.
  • Tunde Olaniran, a Flint-based musician and performer.
  • Avery Williamson, an Ann Arbor-based interdisciplinary artist whose work includes weaving, photography, jewelry, painting and drawing

Student Steering Committee Members:

  • Audrey Banks, Art and Design, UM-Flint
  • Alyssa Melani, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Ann Arbor.
  • Ashwin Prakash, student, College of Engineering, Ann Arbor.
  • Nithya Arun, president of Central Student Government, Ann Arbor.
  • Darena Matti, DEI liaison and Central Student Government, UM-Dearborn.
  • Samantha Uptmor, president of Central Student Government, UM-Flint