MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities (MCLA-IAH)

Together, the arts and humanities form essential elements of a liberal arts education — they form part of the prism through which students can view and understand the world, drawing on the tremendous diversity of thought, insight and expression gathered in the course of their experiential learning process.


The MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities (MCLA-IAH) is a grant-funded initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which works to strategically promote equity-centered change on campus and in the community by (1) expanding access to area arts and humanities resources, (2) catalyzing opportunities for interdisciplinary engagements, and (3) advancing experiential teaching and learning practices in higher education. 

We create experiential spaces for arts education, dialogue, and action.

mcla-iah annual summer symposium

The MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities is happy to announce the 3rd Annual MCLA-IAH Summer Symposium on the theme of accountability. The four-part zoom series is produced in collaboration with BRIDGE’s Inclusive Leadership Cohort (ILC), Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF), Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), and the Berkshire Cultural Assets Network (BCAN). See below for details on each program.

All programs are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration for MCLA-IAH’s 2021 Summer Symposium can be accessed on the main event page here.

MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities 2021 Summer Symposium 06/01/2021 through 06/17/2021, listing the 4 events below plus program sponsors: Mellon Foundation, Mass Cultural Council, BCAN, Bridge, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

Community Care & Public Engagement: What does it mean to create brave spaces?
June 1st from 2PM-4PM EST

Dr. Brea Heidelberg will lead a conversation about creating brave spaces and will engage participants in exploring what constitutes a brave space and discuss common mistakes made in facilitating these spaces.


Anti-Racist Theatre Work: Responding to “We See You White American Theatre” 
June 8th from 2PM-4PM EST

This IAH panel discussion, moderated by Gwendolyn VanSant (BRIDGE), will feature Dawn Meredith Simmons, Nicole Brewer, representatives from WAM Theatre and Shakespeare & Company, as well as featured guest Dr. Kimberly Richards from the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. Panelists will discuss what is required in anti-racism work in theatre, arts and with their sponsors and partners. 


Responding to Systemic and Collective Trauma with Community Partnerships: Addressing Culture and Community in a Regional Conversation 
June 15th from 2PM-4PM EST. 

Gwendolyn VanSant (BRIDGE), Quenna Barrett and Rebecca Martinez (Center for Performance and Civic Practice) will facilitate this dialogue alongside representatives from area cultural organizations to explore the importance of listening and responding to the community as we notice the issues that have emerged within our organizations.


June 17th from 2PM - 4PM EST

Offered by The Mastheads, poet Sarah Trudgeon and architect Tessa Kelly, this workshop will launch a regional campaign inviting a “call and response” creative prompt about Berkshire County from participants. This experience will culminate in a presentational video and several poetry billboards to be featured around Berkshire County throughout the summer.


Opportunities for Students 

Learn about student internship positions; attend community engagement workshops and events; apply to receive funding through our student mini-grant program; and more.  Visit us on Canvas to learn more!  

  • IAH Student Internships
    Summer 2021 -- Applications CLOSED
    Fall 2021 -- Applications CLOSED
  • IAH Student Mini-Grant Program
    Grant funding is available to support student-led projects and interdisciplinary collaborations that engage the community by activating the area’s unique, cultural resources. Students interested in this opportunity are encouraged to apply to receive funds for innovative projects, activities, or program initiatives that strategically address notions of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA). Those whose projects are selected will be expected to document and present the outcomes of their project. 
  • IAH Student Advisory Board
    The MCLA-IAH Student Advisory Board is a committee of students with an interest in promoting Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) on campus through review and revision of MCLA-IAH programming. Already, the Institute aims to engage students in its mission by inspiring active participation in events and resources. However, MCLA-IAH also recognizes that appealing to students’ needs and wants from an institutional standpoint can fall out of focus without their voices in the mix. In an effort to engage students more thoroughly in the IAH mission and make steps towards further curating programming to their needs, we want to include student voices in MCLA-IAH planning.
  • IAH Community Workshops & Events
    Created by students for students. Visit our page on the Art's Management Sm[ART] Commons Blog to learn more about our 2019-20 community engagements.
  • Empowered Voices Collective (Submissions close November 8th)

    Created by MCLA-IAH intern, Destiny Rivera, The Empowered Voices Collective is an online platform, housed on the SM[ART]COMMONS website, where BIPOC students can submit and present their creative work and engage with others' creative forms. The platform will feature poetry, short stories, freewrites, photography, and artwork from BIPOC and aims to address cultural disparities by engaging the MCLA community in these diverse art forms and experiences. Altogether, the collective is an outlet for students of color to be vulnerable about their emotions and express their own experiences through their personal vehicle of expression.
    Contact Destiny Rivera ( or with questions.

Opportunities for Faculty 

  • IAH Faculty Fellowship Program -- Applications CLOSED, Returning in 2021-2022
    Grant funding is available to support faculty's development of interdisciplinary curricula, high-impact practices, student research, community involvement, etc. We invite faculty to apply for this fellowship and submit proposals for interdisciplinary projects that address and investigate issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion by promoting students' access to area arts and humanities resources. 

Opportunities for Community

  • IAH Season Preview  (Fall 2020) (Fall 2019)(Fall 2021 COMING SOON)
    Each year, MCLA-IAH publishes a Season Preview highlighting select arts and humanities programming from featured community partners throughout the Berkshires. Contact us to have your organizational resources featured!
    You can access all these event-related materials on the MCLA-IAH Canvas Site.
  • IAH E-Newsletter

    This Fall, MCLA-IAH will be launching a bi-weekly e-newsletter. In the newsletter, the MCLA-IAH team will provide resources, promote Berkshire arts and culture opportunities and events, highlight students, faculty, and artists, and more!
    If you would like to be added to the mailing list for MCLA-IAH E-newsletter, please fill out the quick form here.

  • IAH Multi-Media Resource Library
    A carefully curated selection of media, entertainment, and literature, the library provides a wide range of resources that embrace the I.D.E.A. principles the Institute is founded on. From tv series with diverse casts and strong messages to plays, podcasts, and music that relay a variety of experiences, this guide is a medley of entertaining material that has significance and necessity. We hope the next time you are looking for something to watch, listen to, read, or unwind with, you will turn to this guide. View the finished library here.

Our Team 

Contact us to discuss community collaborations, opportunities, resources, and more.

Dr. Lisa Donovan
Director, MCLA-IAH
Bowman Hall 322D 
(413) 662 - 5581


Erica Barreto
Coordinator, MCLA-IAH
Bowman Hall 309
(413) 662 - 5406


Declan McDermott
Communications & Administrative Assistant


Brianna Christie
Communications & Engagement



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