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Curriculum Impact Grant


The Green Machine Ensembles are awarded a Curriculum Impact Grant.

In June, the Green Machine Ensembles were awarded a Curriculum Impact Grant in the amount of $42,000. Dr. Matthew Dievendorf spearheaded the effort for the ensembles. Dr. Dievndorf is on staff as the audio, guitar and bass coach.

The Green Machine, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), and School of Business will work together to create a new Mason Impact course module entitled, The Activist-Artist: Art as an Engine of Social Justice. This is a year-long project-based learning opportunity for students from across George Mason University (GMU). While working through this course module, students will be asked to investigate an issue of significance to society such as systemic inequalities, the consequences of racial or gender biases, or environmental degradation. Each year a meaningful research question will be devised with student input that will contribute to a related field of study. In addition to rigorous research into the question at hand, students will construct their own understanding of how knowledge is created and how they can use art to communicate that knowledge to others. Academic study will inform experiential learning as students collectively design, manage, and produce a work of art that will confront the power structure they intend to influence or dismantle.

The inaugural (2020-21) Activist-Artist course module will contribute to the Enslaved Children of George Mason (ECGM) project. In 2017, GMU Honors College students asked whether we can recover the names and voices of those enslaved by George Mason IV and his descendants. Their research “raise[s] awareness that the namesake of George Mason University sought the benefits of slavery...,” and “initiate[s] broader discussions about the impact of slavery on institutions of higher education in the United States.” In 2019, GMU Honors College student Madison Gaines composed a poem, “A Proper Education in IV Parts,” which is based in her research for the ECGM project. Ms. Gaines collaborated with Dr. Michael Nickens, Dr. Wendi Manuel-Scott, and members of the Green Machine to produce the Mason Legacies: Listening to the Ancestors event, a work of interdisciplinary activist art. We see this performance as an exemplar for future Activist-Artist Impact Projects.

In 2021, the Memorial to the Enslaved People of George Mason, a work of sculptural art, will be completed on Wilkins Plaza as part of the ECGM project. Students involved in the 2020-21 Activist-Artist course module will create performances that commemorate the individuals represented by the memorial. These performances will be offered to audiences throughout the region and the world. We will use Curriculum Impact Grant funds to do the following:

  • A CHSS course in social justice, which is currently offered in the fall of 2020, will be augmented to include Mason Impact learning outcomes and coordinate with the Activist-Artist course module.

  • Two new Mason Impact courses will be developed for CVPA: a music history course in protest music offered in the fall of 2020, and a project design course offered in the spring of 2021.

  • A Mason Impact course in project management will be developed for the School of Business to be offered in the spring of 2021.

  • Undergraduate students will be funded for co-curricular research and development completed during the 2020-21 winter break and the summer of 2021.

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