PhD Students in Cultural Ecologies 


Abbey Chambers

M.A., Art History, Indiana University
B.S., Art History, Kendall College of Art and Design

Abbey Chambers comes from a background in art history, community organization, and higher education administration.  She has worked for the University of Indianapolis, where she coordinated art openings, resident meetings, and engagement activities at the Wheeler Arts Community.  She was heavily involved in the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association (IDADA), first as a member, then a board member, and finally President.  Her presidency strengthened the organization by bringing members together, giving them a sense of ownership over the running of IDADA, and producing more name recognition for the group, primarily through intentional branding efforts and an event entitled “TURF,” which was a large-scale two-week exhibition of 21 artistic and interactive installations housed in the former City Hall building during the 2012 Super Bowl in downtown Indianapolis.  Most recently, Abbey worked as the Graduate Coordinator and Career Advisor at Herron School of Art and Design, where she handled recruitment, admissions, and academic advising for graduate students and career advising for students of all academic levels.  She has taught courses in art appreciation and art history in content areas ranging from the American colonial period through the mid-20th century.  In her PhD research, Abbey is looking at well-being and agency to find new and innovative measures of the impact of art and culture on communities. 

Michael Kaufmann

Michael Kaufmann

M.S., Library and Information, Science, San Jose State University
B.A., Art Theory, Bucknell University

Michael has a rich history of cultural entrepreneurship, city-building, and artist management. He works to empower others to create and experience surprising beauty. Through his role as VP of Civic Investment for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Michael supports arts and culture, design, active transportation, ecology, and other equitable livability initiatives for the Marion County Health Department and Eskenazi Health Services. In his free time he manages the band Son Lux and provides curatorial consulting to a variety of national arts organizations. Michael serves on the boards of ArtMix, Indianapolis Parks Foundation, Economic Club of Indiana, the IUPUI Board of Advisors and co-chairs the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Great Places 2020 steering committee. He helped establish the Indy Food Council, recently serving as board president. Additionally he has served on the boards of Butler University's Center for Urban Ecology, Indiana Recycling Coalition, Latino Youth Collective, IndyHub, IUPUI's Center for Urban Health, Indianapolis Museum of Art's Contemporary Arts Society, Spirit and Place, and the Reconnecting to Our Waterways Initiative. He is a recipient of IBJ’s Forty Under 40, a Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series graduate, and is a member of the Next City’s Vanguard. 

Stacia Murphy

Stacia Murphy

M.A., Sociology, IUPUI
B.A., Psychology, Purdue University

James Baldwin once posited, “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.” Stacia Murphy is a community-centered advocate for her city with Baldwin’s timeless wisdom as a steady compass for her life’s work. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Psychology and holds a Master of Arts in Sociology from IUPUI. This educational background provides her with a foundation for amplifying communities too often unheard and unseen.

Stacia has a decade of rich experience in public relations and communications. She began her career as an evaluation consultant, using research methods and data analysis as a primary tool for improving capacity and sustainability of programming. During her years with Indiana Black Expo, Inc., she managed the organization’s marketing and public relations projects while simultaneously lending her social media and content curation skills to the communications team. She streamlined collaborative processes between departments, developed and implemented marketing initiatives, designed and copy edited digital and print promotional material, and led public relations efforts alongside her team members.

For several years Stacia has specialized in client management and project leadership for both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, including at G&S Research, Inc., BLKwell Artist Management & Consulting, and the Kheprw Institute (KI). Stacia previously served as communications director of City•Mosaic — Partnership of Churches. At present, she is an equity fellow at the Kheprw Institute, focusing on community outreach, engagement and equity. Stacia is also serving as coordinator for the Indy Innovation Lab which seeks to craft new solutions towards economic stability for previously incarcerated individuals and youth aging out of foster care. The Lab is a collaborative effort operated by New York-based EmcArts; local conveners Spirit & Place – IUPUI, Groundwork Indy, and KI with national funding from the MetLife Foundation. She is also co-facilitator of the Equitable Development Assembly, tackling equitable transit-oriented development and gentrification in Indianapolis, along with serving on the Indy Moves Transportation Taskforce for the city. Lastly, Stacia is co-facilitator and creator of The Build: A Music Community Forum which seeks to support and form an infrastructure for the arts community, as well as a member of the Cultural Corridor Consortium (3C) Creative Placemaking Committee funded by Transportation for America.

Stacia is a trained musician in acoustic guitar and trombone. She volunteers with local arts organizations, bringing an incredible balance of her professional skill set, an extensive network of leaders, artists, and neighbors, and a background in creative expression to the table. She is a mother to an energetic and inquisitive six-year-old, a driving force of her conscious love and community advocacy. 

Callie Smith

Callie J. Smith

M.Div., Christian Ministry, Christian Theological Seminary
B.A., English, Ball State University

Callie J. Smith comes from a background in educational environments working with interdisciplinary programming. She has worked at Conner Prairie museum, reenacting American history and creating educational materials for multiple ages and learning environments. As a clergy person ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has served as program manager for Lifelong Theological Education at Christian Theological Seminary, furthering opportunities for interfaith dialogue and educational experiences drawing on multiple art forms, religious traditions, and social issues. Currently serving in the CTS Center for Pastoral Excellence, she facilitates programming with leaders across a spectrum of cultural backgrounds at the national level. 

At the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, she serves as program manager and evaluator for the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar, which brings together artists, religious leaders, religious communities, humanities experts, and a broad range of publics from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary perspectives around shared study of religious texts.