School of Public and International Affairs
Ph.D, George Mason University
M.S., The University of Baltimore
B.A., American University
The underlying current of my career is creating connections within my community and building meaningful, transnational relationships. I come to the School of Public and International affairs with a background in anthropology, the visual arts, and peace and conflict resolution. As an ethnographer, I rely on my training in conflict analysis and the visual arts to examine how communities use the arts to make meaning and to create social change during violent conflict and after a mass atrocity. You can find me looking for new murals, researching the history of a monument, talking to people about their experiences with social movements and public art, and constantly being curious about how people build peace and address conflict in their lives. My current research is in Indonesia where I work with arts-based peacebuilders, artists, and activists who are contributing to environmental, feminist, and other social movements.
At The University of Baltimore, I teach courses in global affairs, understanding and analyzing conflict, approaches to managing conflict, and cultural and ethnic factors of conflict in the M.S. in Negotiations and Conflict Management program. I am also a graduate of this fantastic program where I conducted qualitative research on the use of street art in Baltimore. After interviewing Baltimore residents all over the city who live with this art every day, as well as the artists who created it, I came to see that the street art in Baltimore is a necessary piece of the puzzle when understanding the layers of social conflict we experience while also providing key information for transforming the conflicts themselves.
Prior to joining UBalt, I taught anthropology and peace and conflict studies at York College of Pennsylvania and I am the lead facilitator for the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the University of Delaware. Before my work in higher education, my career focused on international human rights policy and protection of civilians during armed conflict.
Key research interests:
- Visual culture and social change
- Mass atrocity prevention
- Arts-based peacebuilding
- Social movements in Indonesia
- Feminist ethnography
- Gender equality and women’s empowerment
Clay-Robison, Shelly. “The Arts Are Not for Sale: Addressing Cultural Trauma and Prioritizing People over Profit in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.” In Realizing Nonviolent Resilience: Neoliberalism, Societal Trauma, and Marginalized Voice, edited by Jeremy Rinker and Jerry Lawler. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, 2020.
Clay-Robison, Shelly, Liz Hume, Melinda Burrell, Kate Temoney, Deena Hurwitz, Gretchen Sandles, and Emily Sample. "Empowered Women Empower Women: Peacebuilding in the Era of #MeToo." In Building and Architecture for Peace, edited by Emily Sample and Doug Irvin-Erickson. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2020
Clay-Robison, Shelly. “Solidarity Without Borders: Friendship, the Arts, and Social Movements.” Peace Review. Summer 2022.
Clay-Robison, Shelly "Book Review: Armed Conflict, Women and Climate Change," Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, Vol. 16: Issue 1: 137–139, 2022.
Clay-Robison, Shelly. “Visualizing A More Perfect Union: Social Science and the Visual Arts Building Just Futures Together.” The Radical Review. July 2021.