OpenGrounds will be making a transition this year in its support for a culture of collaborative innovation at the University of Virginia. As an idea, a set of programs, and a space for the past six years, OpenGrounds has served as an incubator of new initiatives and collaborations that have created a wide range of high-impact opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and our community partners. Next year, the Office of the Vice President for Research will take over the management of the space in the Corner Building in support of the many collaborative research initiatives that they are now sponsoring, including the 3 Cavaliers program and the Pan-University Institutes. The OpenGrounds staff, which includes myself, Program Manager Ashley Duffalo, and Special Projects Director Matthew Slaats, will be completing our appointments with the Office of the Vice President for Research this month, but I will be continuing as a special advisor to the Provost to develop the vision for OpenGrounds 2.0.
OpenGrounds has always been more than a space; it has been a convener of partners across and beyond the University with the goal of advancing creative collaborations. The network of relationships that we have facilitated over the past six years has been transformational for many in the University community and beyond. The Provost has committed to making the upcoming year one in which we explore the untapped potential for the OpenGrounds ethos to be more fully integrated in the life of the University. This will be an opportunity to reimagine how the mission of OpenGrounds may be realized with the expanded involvement of the schools, institutes, centers, student organizations and other administrative units of the University. We look to engage the new leadership of the University to realize this next phase.
We have achieved a great deal, as we captured in our series of publications over the past several years and recent programming with community and institutional partners, and I am excited about the prospect of working with everyone to design the next steps. In my current role as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Alliance for the Arts at Research Universities, a platform for national leadership on the integration of design and creative practices across disciplines, I am very aware of the example that we have set for other universities to re-imagine themselves in an era of rapid change in ways of knowing and practicing in our disciplines and in the world. I look forward to continuing that leadership to build on the University of Virginia’s identity as a supporter of experimental programming, innovative practices, and creative engagement with the world.