Urban Arts, Culture, & Humanities Partnership Program

The Urban Arts, Culture, & Humanities Partnership Program (UACHP) utilizes arts, culture, and humanities to build bridges that connect Penn students and West Philadelphia communities. Tapping the potential of the deeply human need for expression, this program’s partnerships improve teaching, learning, and research while increasing cross-community understanding and supporting community development. The program engages Penn faculty and students of all levels, teachers, students, and parents in the public schools, city residents of many ages and backgrounds, and dynamic local artists of all disciplines. 


Urban Arts, Culture, & Humanities Partnership projects communicate the excitement and deep meaning of these topics through first-hand participation. They generate new audiences for Philadelphia cultural treasures and assist communities in documenting their traditions and artistry. The program encourages active, engaged, happy, healthy communities across Penn and West Philadelphia by examining and celebrating the modes of expressing our deepest values.

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Academically Based Community Service Courses Arts-Based After-School Programs Penn Student Employment Opportunity
Conferences and Colloquia Featured Arts Partnership Events Featured Links



Academically Based Community Service Course focused on Arts, Culture, and Humanities 


Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) is at the core of the Netter Center’s work. ABCS students and faculty work with West Philadelphia public schools, communities of faith, and community organizations to help solve critical campus and community problems in a variety of areas related to the environment, health, arts, and education.




  • Integrates service with research, teaching, and learning
  • Works to improve the quality of life in the community and the quality of learning and scholarship in the university through collaborative problem-solving, K-20
  • Fosters structural community improvement (e.g., effective public schools, neighborhood economic development)
  • Emphasizes student and faculty reflection on the service experience
  • Helps students to become active, creative, contributing citizens of a democratic society.


2016-2017 Courses

Fall 2016
  • August Wilson and Beyond: Performance in the African Diaspora AFRC-325-401/ENGL-276-401 -Suzana Berger
  • Globalization and its Historical Significance ANTH-643-64 - Brian J. Spooner
  • Education in American Culture EDUC-240-401/URBS-240-401 - Brian Peterson
  • Teaching Second Language Writing EDUC-516-001 - Anne Pomerantz
  • Multicultural Issues in Education EDUC 723-001/EDUC 723-401/AFRC 723-401 - Vivian Gadsden
  • Writing for Children- Beauty, the Book (and the Blog)* ENGL-121-401/AFRC-121-401- Lorene Cary
  • Essay, Blog, Tweet: Non-Fiction Now! ENGL-134-402/AFRC-134-402 - Lorene Cary
  • The Big Picture: Mural Arts in Philadelphia FNAR-222-401/URBS-322-401/FNAR-622-401 - Jane Golden Heriza & Shira Walinsky
  • Latinos in the United States SOCI-266-401/LALS-235-401- Amada Armenta
  • Field Methods In Ethnomusicology MUSC-650-301- Carol Muller


Spring 2017


  • An Ethnographic Approach to Urban Athletics and Human Movement ANTH-276-301 - Gretchen Suess
  • Research Methods in Social Anthropology ANTH-303-601 - Gretchen Suess
  • Asian American Communities ASAM-205-401/URBS-207-401- Fariha Khan
  • Community Action Filmmaking EDUC-545-012- Amitanshu Das
  • Advanced Writing For Children ENGL-123-401/AFRC-123-401 - Lorene Cary
  • The Big Picture: Mural Arts in Philadelphia FNAR-222-401/URBS-322-401/FNAR-622-401- Jane Golden Heriza & Shira Walinsky
  • Academically Based Community Service Course in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies LING-077-068- Jami Fisher
  • Deaf Culture LING-078-680- Jami Fisher
  • Identity PHIL-295-401/GSWS-205-401- Karen Detlefsen
  • Public Art, Performance, and Community Engagement THAR−275−402- James F. Schlatter



Year- Long


  • Ethnographic Filmmaking EDUC-545-007-Amitanshu Das & Kathleen Hall
  • Visual Legal Advocacy Seminar: Documentaries and the Law LAW-979-001- Regina Austin
  • Music in Urban Spaces MUSC-018-401/URBS 018-401- Molly McGlone



2015-2016 Courses

Fall 2015

  • August Wilson and Beyond: Performance in the African Diaspora 

    Suzana Berger and Herman Beavers  

  • Music in Urban Spaces *year-long course
    Molly McGlone
  • Music and Performance of Africa
    Carol Muller
  • Latinos in the United States
    Emilio Parrado
  • Social Change through Participatory Filmmaking
    John Jackson Jr. & Arjun Shankar
  • The Big Picture: Mural Arts in Philadelphia
    Jane Golden Heriza & Shira Walinsky
  • Filmmaking Workshop: Representing Philadelphia High Schools
    Amitanshu Das & Kathleen Hall

Spring 2016

  • Public Arts, Performance, and Community Engagement
    Jim Schlatter
  • Asian American Communities
    Fariha Khan
  • The Big Picture: Mural Arts in Philadelphia
    Jane Golden Heriza & Shira Walinsky


2014-2015 Courses

  • Public Art, Performance, and Community Engagement
    Jim Schlatter
  • Writing for Children- Beauty, the Book (and the Blog)
    Lorene Cary
  • Music in Urban Spaces
    Molly McGlone
  • The Big Picture: Mural Arts in Philadelphia
    Jane Golden Heriza & Shira Walinsky
  • Essay, Blog, Tweet: Non-fiction Now!
    Lorene Cary
  • Writing Out Loud: August Wilson and Beyond
    Suzana Berger
  • Hearing Africa: Old and New Diasporas
    Carol Muller
  • Asian American Communities
    Fariha Khan
  • The New African Diaspora: African Immigrant Lives in West Philadelphia
    Cheikh Babou and Lee Cassanelli
  • Philosophy of Education
    Karen Detlefsen
  • Philadelphia and the Great Migration
    Steven Hahn

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Arts-Based After-School Programs


Through University Assisted Community Schools, the Netter Center supports extracurricular arts and culture offerings in partner West Philadelphia schools. Projects change from year to year depending on the interests of Penn participants and needs of the schools. Sample projects include:

  • Theatre at Comegys School
    • Comegys third grade students created and performed an original play titled Bucket Dipping! about the hurtful actions they see happening in their school and how to solve the problem. Spring 2015
  • Be a Buddy, Not a Bully Music Video
    • Comegys students across multiple grades created an original song with a remedy for bullying and filmed a music video for it. The video was re-tweeted by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and honored by Philadelphia City Council. Fall 2014
  • Drumline Instruction and Creative Writing at Sayre High School

Penn Community Student School Partnership places interested Penn students in After-School positions at Penn’s community schools. If you are interested in participating in an Arts-Based After-School Program, contact the CSSP coordinator at penncssp@gmail.com

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Penn Student Employment Opportunities


In the Urban, Arts, Culture, and Humanities Program (UACHP), students engage in arts, culture, and humanities partnerships. Partners include West Philadelphia schools, non-profit organizations, the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, The Rotunda, the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program, and other local partners. Specific jobs include: 

  • 40th Street AIR (Artist-in Residence) Program Intern
  • The Rotunda Intern
  • Netter Center intern at the Annenberg Center for Perfoming Arts - still accepting applicants! Interested applicants to contact Caroline Leipf at cleipf@ac.upenn.edu


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Conferences and Colloquia


"Making Home in the City" A gathering on University-Community Partnerships in the Arts, Culture, and Humanities Friday, October 23, 2015


Gathering Time: 9:00 am-6:00 pm

The Rotunda - 4014 Walnut Street

Performance: 8:00 pm

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts - 3680 Walnut Street


Free registration (includes continental breakfast, lunch, and evening reception)


Conference organizers: Carol Muller, Suzana Berger, Daniel Tucker, and Andrew Zitcer


Co-sponsored by: University of Pennsylvania Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Drexel University Arts Administration Program,  and Moore College of Art & Design Social & Studio Practices Department


More information can be found on the Netter Center's events listing.


Moorman-Simon Arts, Culture and Humanities Faculty Seminar (monthly)

The Arts and Culture and Humanities Faculty Seminar, funded by the Moorman Simon Program for Education and Schooling for Democracy and Citizenship, brings together faculty and staff across Penn’s 12 schools that are interested in and currently involved in university-community arts & culture research, classes, programs, and projects. In each monthly lunchtime meetings, one initiative is featured, allowing people to share their work, discuss it in depth with others, and network with others for future collaborations. Professor Carol Muller of Ethnomusicology, who is also the current Moorman-Simon Faculty Fellow, facilitates this seminar. Previous seminars have featured some of the following initiatives:

  • Film, Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens, 2011- Professors Debra Thomas and John Jackson
  • Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP)- Director Susan Seifert and Professor Mark Stern
  • Music & Social Change Residential Program- Dr. Molly McGlone
  • WXPN Radio – Executive Director Roger LeMay
  • Provost Arts & Culture Initiative – Professor Karen Beckman
  • The New African Diaspora: African Immigrant Lives in West Philadelphia ABCS Course- Professors Cheikh Babou and Lee Cassanelli
  • August Wilson & Beyond and The Literatures of Jazz ABCS Courses- Professors Herman Beavers and Suzana Berger

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Featured Arts Partnership Events


Paul Robeson House / West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the University of Pennsylvania's August Wilson & Beyond class are thrilled to invite you to:

A Community Discussion of August Wilson's King Hedley II

 Sunday, October 18 at 1:30pm
W.E.B. Du Bois College House  3900 Walnut Street  Philadelphia, PA 19104
King Hedley II is August Wilson's hard-hitting chronicle of a man's fight to make a place for himself in a world that tells him he doesn't count. One of the final pieces in Wilson's Century Cycle of 10 plays exploring African American life in each decade of the 20th century, the play is set in Pittsburgh's Hill District neighborhood in 1985. Recently returned from prison, King struggles with how to provide for his family as his wife Tonya questions how they will care for their unborn child. Friends pressure him to stray from the path he has set for himself, while around them the neighborhood is suffering through violence and a loss of connection to their history. 
The afternoon will include lunch, conversation about the play, and opportunities for everyone to share their own stories about the struggles and beauty of Black life the play expresses so vividly. 
Plus staged reading of scenes from King Hedley II by Philadelphia theatre favorites 

 Carlo Campbell as King 

 Jaylene Clark Owens as Tonya 

 and other special guests
To RSVP for the gathering or if you have any questions, please contact Professor Suzana Berger: suzanab@sas.upenn.edu  215.680.3488  Paul Robeson House / West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance: 215.747.4675

We are happy to provide you with a complimentary copy of King Hedley II to read before the gathering. The play will be available for pick-up at the Paul Robeson House office at 4949 Walnut Street at the beginning of October. Please call the Robeson House at 215.747.4675 to ask about pick-up times.


"August Wilson and Beyond" Academically Based Community Service course end-of-semester performance

December 6, 2015 

The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street

Free and open to the public.

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Featured Links


40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program -- The 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program awards West Philadelphia artists 1 year of free studio space at 40th & Chestnut Sts. In exchange, residents share their talents within West Philadelphia by leading workshops, teaching classes, exhibiting, etc.


Engaging African Arts-- These projects focus on the music of the old and new African diasporas, focusing mostly on African American communities in West Philadelphia. The classes from which these projects emanate range from advanced graduate seminars to freshman seminars.


Music and Social Change Residential Program -- Open to incoming college freshman, the Music and Social Change Residential Program in Fisher-Hassenfeld House in the Quadrangle explores the many ways in which individuals use music in their everyday lives to develop who they are and, often subconsciously, to advance their own social and economic position.


The Rotunda -- The Rotunda, located at 4014 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, PA, is a community-gathering place that is fueled by the belief that art is a catalyst for social change and that the arts can lead to the formation of meaningful partnerships between the University of Pennsylvania and surrounding neighborhoods


West Philadelphia Music --This site is the result of an ongoing research partnership between students, both graduate, and undergraduate, at the University of Pennsylvania and the University’s wider West Philadelphia community. The materials presented at this site are generate in ABCS-style courses taught in the Music Department by Ethnomusicology professors Carol Muller and Tim Rommen, and sponsored by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and PRRUCS.

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For more information on UACHP, please contact:


Faculty Director of the Urban Arts, Culture, & Humanities Partnership Program and Moorman-Simon Faculty Fellow: Carol Muller camuller@sas.upenn.edu

Coordinator of Urban Arts, Culture, & Humanities Partnership Program: Suzana Berger suzanab@sas.upenn.edu