Research Team

Abbey Dvorak (Music Education and Music Therapy) is a member of AUMI-KU InterArts since 2014, co-facilitator of “Do You AUMI? community jams and recording sessions, and a member of research team using the AUMI working with people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities.

Kip Haaheim (Music) has always sought out intersecting collaborative possibilities that cross boundaries and has made music on projects involving planetary scientists, anesthesiologists, ecologists, neuroscientists, and mathematicians as well as choreographers, filmmakers, and visual artists.

Michelle Heffner Hayes (Dance), who teaches dance improvisation at the University of Kansas, was one of the original producers of the danceAble festival in Miami, FL, an annual event that brought international participants together in a series of movement workshops and performances of “integrated” or “mixed ability” dance. Hayes is interested in movement and improvisation on a number of levels: as a means of generating new vocabulary during the choreographic process; as a form of rapid, embodied problem-solving that distinguishes live performance from other modes of being; as a theoretical model for the consideration of history, writing and memory; and as a pedagogical tool for the cultivation of mindful, collaborative ways of learning.

Nicole Hodges Persley (Theatre) is a performer and scholar interested in improvisational practices in theatre and performance, who engages improvisation in cross-racial and ethnic coalition building. She has also incorporated improvisation into teaching pedagogy and undergraduate active learning experiences. She also creates and teaches improvised solo and ensemble performance.

Ray Mizumura-Pence is Associate Teaching Professional in the American Studies Department at the University of Kansas. With Sherrie Tucker, he directs the Disability Studies Hall Center Seminar. Dr. Pence has taught in universities since 1994. His current research projects look at US military veterans with disabilities and the impact of multiple sclerosis on Richard Pryor's career and life. 

Pauline Oliveros(Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute and Deep Listening Institute) (1932-2016) is the founder/creator of AUMI. We mourn her passing in November, 2016. Oliveros is widely recognized as one of America's most important composers of the 20th and 21st century. A leader of the avant-garde and a musical pioneer of the highest magnitude, Oliveros profoundly influenced American music through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth, and ritual. Oliveros has an extensive discography and filmography of works spanning 45 years. And, she has received numerous internationally acclaimed honors and prizes including at least two honorary doctorates and several lifetime achievement awards. Her academic positions included Distinguished Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Darius Milhaud Artist-in-residence at Mills College, Oakland, CA. Additionally, she was also the founder and executive director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. in Kingston, NY (now Center for Deep Listening at RPI, directed by Tomei Hahn). While not physically on-site at University of Kansas, AUMI-KU InterArts, Pauline actively participated in the launch and progress of the KU Team.​eep Listening Institute, Ltd. in Kingston, NY. While not physically on-site at University of Kansas, AUMI-KU InterArts is honored to have Pauline as a member of the KU Team.​

Sherrie Tucker (American Studies) comes to Improvisation Studies through her interdisciplinary collaborative engagement with Jazz Studies. She is the facilitator of the Improvisation, Gender, and the Body team for the research initiative, Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, supported by the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada.