Following a successful year of supporting Virginia Tech projects and events that feature diverse voices and experiences, the university's Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 academic year.

The program is designed to promote the number and diversity of scholarly voices and artistic expressions from underrepresented groups by providing funding assistance for Virginia Tech departments and other units.

With support from Arts@VirginiaTech and the university’s Office of the Provost, the program provides funds to support events and experiences that provide students with opportunities to interact with guest lecturers or artists to increase their exposure to successful women and minority role models.

A total of 18 speakers, presenters, and scholars received support from the program during the 2016-17 academic year. Presenter’s topics included film studies, history, culture, art, music, social issues, civil rights, science, technology, literature, and environmental issues.

Last year’s speakers included:

  • Mya Taylor, who spoke about her life navigating the entertainment world as a rising transgender actress;
  • Musician Raquel Rodriguez, who recounted her experiences as a notable brass musician in the male-dominated classical music world;
  • Writer Carmen Gimenez Smith, who lectured on the topics of race, class, gender, and identity;
  • Lee Mun Wah, who talked about his life as a Chinese American documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian folk teller, educator, community therapist, and master diversity trainer; and
  • Aviva Rahmani, who highlighted her work as a feminist ecological artist, addressing issues that affect human rights, along with society’s perception of art in a rapidly changing world.

Giving voice to minority and women’s perspectives, these lectures provide an inclusive and interactive space for scholarly exploration and support a collaborative environment for attendees. Invited speakers may be from any discipline, gender, race, or ethnicity. Invitations to speakers whose scholarship incorporates race, gender, class, or international perspectives are especially encouraged. Those presentations that would appeal to a wider audience will be given preference.

Events and presentations begin in the fall of 2017 and continue through the spring. Find more information and a downloadable application for the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series online. Applications are due by Sept. 22, 2017.

Written by Ryan McHugh, of Blacksburg, Virginia, a graduate student studying arts leadership in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.