Health Humanities and Arts Research

The Commons works with researchers across disciplines to build collaborations. With partners across departments and with KU Medical Center, The Commons launched the Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative in Summer 2020.

The Collaborative is based out of The Commons, directed by Emily Ryan ( The initiative is a collaboration by Tamara Falicov, Associate Dean for Research, Arts and Humanities, College Dean’s office; Katie Rhine, Geography & Atmospheric Science and African & African-American Studies; and Teri Kennedy, Associate Dean, Interprofessional Practice, Education, Policy, and Research, KU School of Nursing, KU Medical Center.


  • Create connections across professionals and among researchers around affinities within the realm of health and wellness;
  • Connect researchers to funding opportunities around health and wellness; and
  • Offer a platform for collaboration around existing and emerging health-related challenges.


This collaborative meets as a large group once per month, and smaller topic-specific discussions meet more regularly.
If you would like more information or to attend a meeting, please email Emily Ryan, Director of The Commons, at

Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative, Workshop
11:30am-1:00pm CT Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Online
Hosted by the KU Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative, in partnership with the Organizational Improvement Office at the University of Kansas Medical Center

In this second session of a two-part workshop, you will apply what you learned about your individual strengths to develop an understanding of how you can actively promote collaboration among a group. Led by Brad Barth, MD, Vice Chair for Leadership and Professional Development and Associate Professor in the department of Emergency Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center.

Link to Zoom Registration.

Of interest to:
Faculty, Graduate students, Researchers, Staff
Care & Well-being, Community Engaged Research, Discussion, Framing the Dialogue, Graduate Student Event, Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative, Humans in a More Than Human World, Public Event, Student Event
12:00-1:00pm CT Thursday, February 17, 2022 Online

Climate change is often discussed in scientific terms, but the work of responding to the urgency of climate change requires many voices. The realms of social, creative, activist, spiritual, food production, and many others, play critical roles in the larger conversation. As well, we know that climate change disproportionately affects certain populations. We present this series to showcase the works of leaders included in All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson. This series brings thought leaders from diverse professions and callings into conversation with KU students and the community.

Leah Penniman (Li*/Ya/She/He), Co-Director and Farm Manager at Soul Fire Farm, has over 20 years of experience as a soil steward and food sovereignty activist, having worked at the Food Project, Farm School, Many Hands Organic Farm, Youth Grow and with farmers internationally in Ghana, Haiti, and Mexico. Li co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2010 with the mission to reclaim our inherent right to belong to the earth and have agency in the food system as Black and Brown people. Her areas of leadership at Soul Fire include farmer training, international solidarity, perennials, writing, speaking, “making it rain,” and anything that involves heavy lifting, sweat, and soil. Li’s book “Farming While Black” is a love song for the earth and her peoples.

Penniman will give a presentation, after which li will be in conversation with Douglas County Grower and Food Policy Activist Cody Haynes.

Presented by: The Commons; the Environmental Studies Program; the Indigenous Studies Program; and the KU Departments of African and African-American Studies, English, Geography and Atmospheric Science, and Geology; the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity; the KU Sawyer Seminar; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; the Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative; the University Honors Program; and the Global Awareness Program.

Link to Zoom Registration.

Of interest to:
All Ages, Faculty, General Public, Graduate students, Researchers, Staff, Undergraduate Students


In the News:

Making Connections in a Pandemic: Honors Students Help Launch the Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative, September 15, 2020, University Honors Program Newsletter


Previous Meetings:


Info Share: Seed Grant Opportunity


April 6, 2021

Info Share: Procuring Arts Funding from Agencies & Foundations with Sarah Bishop, Coneflower Consulting


March 5, 2021



October 16, 2020


September 17, 2020


August 11, 2020


July 16, 2020


June 12, 2020