Art and Oppression Initiative

Art and Oppression Initiative


Freedom of Expression Comics Competition/Class

This bi-annual competition explores critical contemporary issues related to freedom of expression, censorship, race, and representation inspired by the comics collection in the McHenry Special Collections library, with a special focus on the Gunderson/Coha comic collection. The award/class is led by a nominated faculty member, based on proposals to ARI. Awarded faculty are given one release time to develop this class. Faculty run the comics competition, select winning students and teach an independent study class to awardees. Nominated students receive a cash prize. Selected student work is published in a limited edition comic alongside contemporary comic artists and displayed in an exhibition at McHenry library Special Collections.

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Superheroes & Other Misfits Visiting Artist program

This bi-annual visiting artist program, for artists/researchers whose creative work responds to oppression and/or is silenced, or is from countries where the creative work is oppressed. (Issues may range from cultural to  social/political or environmental artwork, as examples)  Supporting 1-2 artists per year. Faculty can apply to ARI to host an artist or event. 

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Graduate student teaching fellowship

Graduates teach a course aligned with the comic collection held at UCSC. Proposed classes will use the collection to promote exploration of societal and cultural concerns shaping the lives of the students currently attending UCSC.


Support For Student Research

Mini-grants support the making of work that is challenging in its subject matter, and/or unlikely to find funding through other mechanisms, cutting edge. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. 


Undergraduate/Graduate Student Fellowship

Supporting undergraduate or graduate students whose work is innovative, cross-disciplinary and/or pushing boundaries. 


The Arts & Oppression initiative is generously funded by alumni Jim Gunderson and Peter Coha in memory of Maxine M. Gunderson