Ensemble Lab

A cooperative of artists, researchers and civic leaders working across disciplines to explore the role of artists, increase professional opportunities for artists and equip artists to be engaged civic partners.

Ensemble Lab

The Ensemble Lab was founded by Herberger Institute Professors Liz Lerman, Michael Rohd and Daniel Bernard Roumain.

As artists who have ongoing national and international bodies of practice including production, education and capacity-building across multiple fields and disciplines, we are thrilled to have an artistic home at ASU and honored to start a lab at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

ASU Ensemble Lab


Liz Lerman

Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur "Genius Grant" and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance. A key aspect of her artistry is opening her process to various publics from shipbuilders to physicists, resulting in both research and outcomes that are participatory, relevant, urgent, and usable by others. She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and led it until 2011. Her most recent work, Healing Wars, toured across the US in 2014-15. Liz conducts residencies on Critical Response Process, creative research, the intersection of art and science, and the building of narrative within dance performance at such institutions as Harvard University, Yale School of Drama, Wesleyan University, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the National Theatre Studio among others. Her third book, Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, was published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press.

ASU Profile

Michael Rohd

Michael Rohd is the founding artistic director of 17-year-old ensemble-based Sojourn Theatre. He is author of the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue. He leads the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, where current projects include The Catalyst Initiative, a national program supported by The Andrew Mellon Foundation, and Local Landscapes, through which he is currently collaborating with Arts Councils at the State and Local level around the US. In 2015, he received an Otto Rene Castillo award for Political Theater and The Robert Gard Foundation Award for Excellence. Recent/Current projects include leading a two-year Sojourn Artist-in-Residence collaboration with Catholic Charities USA poverty reduction sites around the US; a Sojourn partnership with Planning Commissions around the country utilizing civic practice in public engagement settings to help communities deal with difficult conversations and resource allotment; and, collaborating with theaters and universities around the country to mount locally specific projects.

ASU Profile

Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain's (DBR) work as a composer and a performer has been commissioned by artists and institutions worldwide. His outreach and residencies have garnered long-term relationships with countless universities, orchestras, and performing arts centers including the Berklee School of Music (Boston), The Academy – a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute, and Vanderbilt University (Nashville). He served as Music Director for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; Assistant Composer-in-Residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music; Artist-in-Residence with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; and is currently the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence (University of Houston). Roumain is currently working on We Shall Not Be Moved, a new chamber opera commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, directed by Bill T. Jones; Meditations for Raising Boys, a new oratorio commissioned by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra; and BOUNCE: A Basketball Opera in 4 Quarters, directed by Grethe Holby.

ASU Profile


Goals of the Ensemble Lab

With a purpose of nationally and internationally relevant discoveries and impact, the ASU Herberger Institute's Ensemble Lab will focus on 3 main goals:  

  1. Expand the work and impact of artists through training and exposure to a breadth of contemporary aesthetic and civic practices

  2. Cross-sector and cross-disciplinary collaboration

  3. Creative capacity in daily work and life

Goals at the Herberger Institute across ASU and beyond 

  1. The Ensemble Lab's focus will be on how artists across all the arts disciplines get trained for a career in the arts and evolve the way art schools teach an ethical, equitable community-engaged practice. As part of that training, the lab going to help artists better prepare to collaborate with residents and organizations where they live on practices that aren’t limited to their regular output but take on varied shapes and forms;

  2. The Ensemble Lab will work with schools, departments, centers and student groups in areas outside of the arts (such as economics, education, science, health, government, planning) to explore and demonstrate the potential of working with artists to achieve non-arts focused goals and to build healthier, more equitable communities and we’re going to work across arts disciplines to demonstrate the power of hybrid forms and sharing knowledge beyond the traditionally siloed approach of genre and medium;

  3. The Ensemble Lab will help individuals and groups in diverse fields use art and creativity in their own daily practices- to innovate, to collaborate, to problem-solve and to build coalitions.

As we tackle the three goals above, our process will be anchored in 3 core approaches

  1. Research + design: Utilizing the resources of a world-class research institution, the lab is going to contribute to creative research; we will make and document new knowledge, investigate and disseminate those learnings about our respective practices and the practices of other projects and individuals across campus and the nation;

  2. Practice + innovation: Within Herberger Institute and across ASU, the Ensemble Lab members are going to offer their individual creative practices as a responsive collaborative/conceptual resource for initiatives and individuals who want to engage with the members of the Ensemble Lab on their own points of interest, inquiry and action;

  3. Space for the unknown, discovery + departure: The lab’s lab. Space will be left for what is not known. Time will be left for what yet to be imagined. The challenges of a complex world and the possibilities of exponential technological progress are a part of our ongoing experimentation and curiosity. 

Spring 2018 Classes

CourseCourse TitleSLN, Description and RegistrationInstructorSessionLocation
HDA 494/598,
MUP 494/598
Artist as Activist26834 / 26835
31675 / 26822
Daniel Bernard RoumainBTEMPE
HDA 494/598,
MUP 494/598
Hip-Hop and Opera31730 / 31777
31933 / 31934
Daniel Bernard RoumainATEMPE
THP 598
Devising Collaboration28143
Michael RohdATEMPE
DCE 494/598,
HDA 494/598,
THP 494/598

Animating Research22198 / 22199
26760 / 26756
22200 / 22201
Liz LermanCTEMPE
HDA 494/598,
THP 494/598
The Atlas of Creative Tools30281 / 30282
30268 / 30276
Liz LermanBTEMPE
DCE 494/598Atlas of Creative Tools: Building an Online Course30274 / 30275Liz LermanBTEMPE
Past Classes
Course TitleInstructorSemesterLocation
Communicating Artist: Language as Perf & PracticeDaniel Bernard RoumainFall 2017TEMPE
Leadership: Creative IndustriesDaniel Bernard RoumainFall 2017TEMPE
The Atlas of Creative ToolsLiz LermanFall 2017TEMPE
Devising Care Exams: Crs Sctr Prticipat Theatr WrkMichael RohdFall 2017TEMPE
Course TitleInstructorSemesterLocation
Artists, Institutions and ChangeDaniel Bernard RoumainSpring 2017TEMPE
The Atlas of Creative ToolsLiz LermanSpring 2017TEMPE
Animating ResearchLiz LermanSpring 2017TEMPE
Civic Body: Art & Public HealthMichael RohdSpring 2017TEMPE
Creative FacilitationMichael RohdSpring 2017TEMPE
Course TitleInstructorSemesterLocation
The Communicating ArtistDaniel Bernard RoumainFall 2016TEMPE
Transitions ProjectLiz LermanFall 2016TEMPE
Devising CollaborationMichael RohdFall 2016TEMPE

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