News & Announcements

Dr. Stephanie Ryberg-Webster Receives Highly Competitive Endowment for the Arts Research Lab Award 

Dr. Stephanie Ryberg-Webster will collaborate with a team of researchers studying the intersection of the arts and diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the United States 

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has approved an NEA Research Lab award of $125,000 to a team of researchers, including Dr. Stephanie Ryberg-Webster, Associate Professor of Urban Studies in the Levin College of Public Affairs and Education. The grant will support Place, Arts, & Cultural Systems Lab (PACS): To Study Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in U.S. Arts and Cultural Districts. The NEA is supporting four new Research Labs to fund transdisciplinary research teams grounded in the social and behavioral sciences.  

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this Research Lab, part of the NEA’s investment in exploring the value and impact of the arts,” said Director of Research & Analysis Sunil Iyengar. “The NEA’s Research Labs are an important component of our agency’s goal of understanding the factors, conditions, and characteristics of our country’s arts ecosystem and the many ways the arts can impact other areas of American life.” 

Dr. Stephanie Ryberg-Webster shared, “Our team is excited and honored to earn this highly competitive award, which will advance collaborative research around the intersection of arts, culture, and DEI efforts. The project brings together a group of research and community partners at the local, regional, and national levels. I am thrilled to be a part of this team, along with my colleagues from Boise State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Arizona.”  

The PACS Lab investigates how arts and cultural districts (ACDs) support diversity, equity, and inclusion using a national survey and case studies in the Intermountain West and Industrial Midwest. ACDs are widespread: it is important to understand barriers to and best practices for making those districts inclusive, equitable, and drivers of economic and social innovation. PACS will both learn from and serve ACD organizations and neighbors by creating a typology and national public database of ACD characteristics; using the database to analyze patterns of DEI practice; identifying good practices for different district types, geographies, and capacities; and developing and sharing a flexible ACD toolkit for communities with a range of resources and needs. The principal investigators for the PACS Lab are Dr. Amanda Ashley and Dr. Leslie Durham from Boise State University. 

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit