Research, Scholarship and Creative Work

IRISE has developed its existing programming to include a variety of opportunities for students, faculty and the community to engage in research and advocacy projects related to inequality including, but not limited to, project grants, workshops, lecture series, course development and community outreach.   

The research mission of IRISE is to support community-engaged interdisciplinary research that addresses racial inequity through qualitative or quantitative methodology, creative works, as well as projects that provide policy prescription or analysis. Given the interrelated nature of education, health, housing and income, we will consider all projects that illuminate the impact of racial inequity in our region consistent with the vision of DU Impact 2025.  Specifically, IRISE supports cohorts of postdoctoral fellows for contribution to existing faculty research, and provides partial funding for IRISE affiliate faculty research projects.  IRISE has supported the following research projects through grant funds and/or postdoctoral fellowships.  

IRISE Visiting Scholar Grantee Projects

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Where is it healthy to build housing in Metro Denver?

IRISE Visiting Community Scholar, Ean Thomas Tafoya, in collaboration with Amanda Rees and colleagues from The Geospatial Analysis and Mapping Laboratory (GAMLab) at CU Denver, designed this Buildable Land Analysis that helps housing policy decision-makers and advocates weigh positive and negative community attributes in land use decisions within the Denver Regional Council of Governments territory.



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IRISE Postdoctoral Fellow Projects

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Social Movement Support Lab

The Social Movement Support Lab was established in Summer 2020 by Civil Rights Attorney and DU Law Faculty member, Jim Freeman, to create a center where University of Denver students, faculty, staff and alums work alongside communities fighting for racial justice.  IRISE Postdoctoral Fellow May Lin will be working with the Social Justice Support Lab for 2020-2022.

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Spirituals Project

The Spirituals project is a collaborative interdisciplinary research project that examines the relationships between music, social justice, and race. The project is centered on The Spirituals Project (TSP) is a multicultural, multigenerational, and interfaith 70-member community choir founded in 1998 with a unique tripartite mission: performance, social justice, and education based at the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music. IRISE Postdoctoral Fellow Veronica Pacheco has joined the Spirituals Project for the 2020-2022 cohort.  

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Racial Health Disparities Study

IRISE Postdoctoral Fellow Allison Bair of the 2020-2022 cohort joins faculty of the Department of Psychology to study racial disparities in health.  In collaboration with the mentorship team, Dr. Bair will examine provider biases in risk assessment and psychiatric treatment recommendations for Black relative to White hypothetical patients

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Office of Teaching and Learning

IRISE Postdoctoral Fellow Christine Vega works directly with the directors of Inclusive Teaching Practices and Academic Assessment to implement inclusive pedagogies, critical theories in teaching and learning and contribute innovative lenses of analysis and praxis. 

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Music Across Borders: Bridging Latinx Communities in DU and Denver

The Music Across Borders (MAB) project hosted Mr. Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, a prominent son Jarocho musician from southern Veracruz, Mexico, as an initiative to connect DU students with the organization Su Teatro: Cultural and Performing Arts Center, while providing an enriching learning experience inside and outside the classroom. With the support of the DU Center for Immigration, Policy, and Research (CIPR), the DU Latinx Center, the Lamont School of Music, and IRISE, between April 7th to the 15th of  2022, students, faculty, and members of the Latinx community participated in class presentations, music workshops and jamming sessions, and a fandango at DU and Su Teatro. Additionally, and in the context of the MAB project, Mr. “Jose” Jozer Guerrero, Prof. M. Roger Holland, II, and Mrs. Dianne Briscoe McKenzie joined Mr. Gutiérrez in a panel to talk about their engagement with music and community-based projects. 


By Verónica Pacheco, PhD

Director of the Music Across Borders Project and IRISE Postdoctoral Fellow

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Affiliate Faculty Grantee Projects

Women of DU History

Seeking Grace

The research team has conducted oral histories with living alums, conducted extensive original research to identify early alumnae, and developed an exhibition documenting the history of early (pre-1945) Black women at DU.

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This is My Denver

What kinds of stories can young people tell if they write about their neighborhoods, using the memories of established residents? With support from Esteban Gómez, and Tribal Zyphers, students at North High School will produce short-form documentaries.

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Jobs With Justice

Dr. Sigumbe Muyeba and Dr. Rebecca Galemba of Korbel are leading a Jobs With Justice evaluation project of the I-70 corridor construction job targets for women and minorities set by Denver City Council. 

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Our Stories Our Medicine Archive

Our Stories, Our Medicine Archive (OSOMA) is a community-based, community-owned archive that foregrounds traditional Indigenous health knowledge and their implications for improving chronic diseases.

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Health Equity Community Exchange

The Health Equity Community Exchange is an online public use database culminating from a year long environmental scan of health equity in the state of CO.  The website facilitates collaboration and coordination between a variety of entities and also houses an extensive resource library. 

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The Color of Water

This project works to engage government agencies, institutions of higher education on the topic, and communities of color in the realm of water and climate justice.  Built upon Dr. Tom I. Romero, II’s path breaking article, The Color of Water: Observations of a Brown Buffalo on Water Law and Policy in Ten Stanzas , the project is building new pathways for local and state government agencies to partner with, collaborate on, and readily as well as meaningfully share data, develop research questions, and disseminate information with Colorado's under-served communities on issues of water. 

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One Tribe Family Freedom School

Led by Dr. Maria Salazar and IRISE Community Scholar Hasira "Soul" Ashemu with the Righteous Rage Institute and the Black Child Development Institute, the mission of the Freedom School is to provide a humanizing and empowering community for BIPOC that pursues racial, education, and healing justice.

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