Arts Research Center

The Arts Research Center is a think tank for the arts. It acts as a hub and a meeting place, a space for reflection where artists, scholars, curators, and civic arts leaders from a variety of disciplines can gather and learn from one another.

ARC advances but also challenges the “cross-disciplinary” ethos in contemporary art practice by bringing innovators in the fields of visual art, creative writing, dance, theatre, music, architecture, film, public art, photography, and social practice into dialogue and debate. Participants share different histories, test perceptions of skill and innovation, and analyze the economic circuits and support systems that constrain and enable cross-disciplinary art practice.

Visit our staff page here and our over 70 affiliate faculty here, learn about upcoming ARC events on the navigation bar above, or view our past events here, and discover more about our exciting Poetry initiative here. We are grateful for the support and community building of our partners and co-sponsors, here.


The Arts Research Center is located in 201 Dwinelle Annex on the campus of UC Berkeley, behind (west of) Dwinelle Hall.  A map can be found here


M, W, TH: 10am – 5pm (in person)

T & TH: 10am – 5pm (appointment/online)

Questions? Please contact Associate Director Laurie Macfee at Laurie is available by email 9:30-5:30pm M-F.


ARC was founded over 20 years ago as an Organized Research Unit (ORU) within the Consortium for the Arts, a coalition conceived by then Provost Carol Christ to “advance all of the arts Berkeley” (1998-2008).  Together, ARC and the Consortium organized a broad range of symposia, artist residencies, and teaching opportunities. When funding was eliminated for the Consortium in 2008, ARC continued as the only ORU devoted to the arts at UC Berkeley, specializing most intently on supporting the research and creative activity of ARC-affiliated faculty. At the same time, ARC has endeavored to sustain the wider campus arts vision of the Consortium through fellowships, student programs, and other forms of public engagement, continuing on as a hub for cross-disciplinary research. Since 2009, ARC has supported fellowships for over 150 faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from 40 departments on campus, including our most recent initiative with Poetry and the Senses.

As a ‘think tank,’ ARC develops projects that capitalize upon the resources and goals of our campus constituencies, even as we also address programming and publication toward broad networks of local and international art leaders.  We seek to bring the world to Berkeley, and Berkeley to the world. This reciprocal relationship creates links to and between a dynamic international art scene. Please visit our past programming here.


ARC affiliated faculty have been joined by prominent or emerging artists who were invited to campus for extended visits to pursue their own creative work (original research), collaborate with students and faculty, and participate in the ARC seminar meetings. In cooperation with other units, these visitors taught on campus and presented their work to the general public in various forums. More information on recent visiting artists can be found here.

Residencies were one to three months, and gave visiting artists space and time to pursue their work; allowed students to work with leading practitioners in their fields; stimulated and challenged faculty artists and scholars; and gave local community members the opportunity to engage with important artists (and vice versa). Artists who have visited Berkeley found particularly valuable the opportunity to interact not only with other artists, but with the University’s critics and curators, and with scholars from the humanities and sciences. The Arts Research Center has been honored to welcome:

2018-2019      Art + Science Artists-in-Residence with Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler / Morris)

2017                Inaugural Art + Science Artists-in-Residence with Bull.Miletic

2014                Artist and community organizer Rick Lowe

2012-2013       Playwright, director and Berkeley alum Stan Lai

2009-2010       Campo Santo company members Sean San José and Erika Chong Shuch of Campo Santo 

2008-2009       Writer/director Alex Harvey and composer John Gromada

2008-2009       South African opera singer, film actress and writer Pauline Malefane

2008-2009       Playwright and filmmaker Philip Kan Gotanda

2008-2009       Composer and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud

2007-2008       The Builders Association Artistic director Marianne Weems

2006-2007       Touchable Stories Artistic director Shannon Flattery

2005-2006       New York-based choreographer Reggie Wilson

2004-2005       Spanish-born, Denmark-based artist Ignacio Rábago

2003-2004       Fine artist Helen Mirra

2002-2003       Fine artist Fred Wilson

2002-2003       Sculptor David Rabinowitch

2001-2002       New York-based, Russian-born conceptual artists Komar & Melamid

2002-2003       Pioneering New York musician/composer Henry Threadgill

2001                “Pilot” ARC residency with Los Angeles-based performance artist/activist Tim Miller

The artist-in-residency program is on hiatus due to funding constraints, through 2022.