Brice Miller is a New Orleans-based academic scholar, engaged scholarship specialist, and jazz musician. As an academic researcher, he is interested in the relationship between urban post-disaster resilience, indigenous cultural arts, and engaged scholarship. Combining cultural engagement, community engagement, public humanities, and urban planning, he has sought more creative and humanistic ways to inspire, influence, and understand community and local setting and the relationship between urban spaces and personal well-being.
His interactive community-based community engagement initiatives using music, art, storytelling, digital tools, community resources, and using a bottom-up grassroots approach have transformed the way universities, municipal leaders, key stakeholders, and residents engage. His lived-experiences as a Hurricane Katrina survivor helped him create events such as The University of Alabama Community Culture Festival (UA Community Culture Fest). Since 2008, the award-winning initiative has completely changed the ways residents interact with one another.
As a interdisciplinarian, Miller is highly proficient in functioning across disciplines and engaging with a global mindset. Using his enterprising spirit, he is not being afraid to experiment, take risk, and pursue new ideas. His experiences understanding resilience strategies following the impact of unforeseen events has served as an example for withstanding and bouncing back following disasters.
For instance, digital storytelling, music, performative arts, and other forms of communication have become critical tools he uses for driving resilience conversations and engaging stakeholder support. In his recently completed dissertation, “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now: Brass Bands in Post-Katrina New Orleans,” he explores the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the resilient strength of the city’s residents and musicians.
From 1997 through 2006, Miller taught jazz education for New Orleans Public Schools and created collaborative K-16 music and art education programs with local universities. More recently, from 2007 through 2012, he served an assistant director with the division of Community Affairs at The University of Alabama, specializing in intercultural and diversity issues on campus, community/scholarly engagement and outreach using the arts and public humanities. In August 2012, he decided to resign from his full-time position with Community Affairs, accepted a Graduate Research Assistantship with Academic Affairs and moved back to New Orleans full-time to concentrate on researching the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the brass band community and complete his Interdisciplinary Ph.D.
He successfully defended his dissertation on June 9, 2014, satisfying all the requirements needed to officially complete his doctorate degree. On December 14, 2015, he walked across the Coleman Coliseum stage at the University of Alabama and was officiated to the world as Dr. Brice Miller!
As an educator and academic, Brice Miller is a two-time graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 1998, and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Leadership in 2006. He has recently defended his dissertation, “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now: Brass Bands in Post-Katrina New Orleans,” the final step in completing his Interdisciplinary Ph.D., from The University of Alabama. His cross-discipline concentration has been (1). higher education administration, (2). urban space with a concentration in community engagement, engaged scholarship, and post-disaster resilience, and (3). ethnomusicology, engagement using the arts and public humanities.
At The University of Alabama, Miller served as assistant director for Crossroads Community Center, an initiative of the Office of Community Affairs at The University of Alabama from 2007 through 2012. In that capacity, he served in increasingly responsible representation for intercultural and diversity issues, community involvement, and has implemented several sustaining campus/community-based initiatives. He worked across disciplines and departments to establish compelling relationships and engaged scholarship initiatives that influenced ideas, best practices, robust decision-making and innovative programming solutions.
In doing so, Miller became a highly visible university representative, developing new relationships and mending long broken relationships between the university, city leaders, and residents. Many people appreciated what they called his “New Orleans swag.” He quickly earned a reputation as an effective and highly respected communicator and achieved recognition for his enduring dedication through several awards, including Outstanding Professional Performance from the UA Professional Staff Assembly. Miller is also a 2010 graduate of Leadership Tuscaloosa. Additionally, Miller taught as an adjunct faculty member in the International Honors College where students in his “Culture and Human Experience” course worked towards the goal of developing global citizenry and intercultural competence skill-sets. His class would reach maximum student each semester.
In 2008, the Vice President of Community Affairs, Dr. Samory Pruitt, announced the creation of the UA Community Cultural Festival and appointed Miller to serve as its chief organizer and producer. Since implementing this award winning community engagement initiative, the UA Community Cultural Festival has been attended by some 60,000 residents. Miller represented the Office of Community Affairs and The University of Alabama as a board member for: Theater of Tuscaloosa, West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Culture Builds Initiative, Alabama Blues Project, Holt Community Partnership, and multiple committees including: Center for Community Based Partners, West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Livability Committee, UA Creative Campus, UA Cultural Programming Committee, UA Intercultural Council, Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, and the Martin Luther King Jr., Realizing the Dream Committee, where he developed the highly successful Realizing the Dream Legacy Award Banquet Dream Awards documentary film series In Their Own Words.
Along with developing strategies to engage external community constituency, Miller has also developed several campus-based programming initiatives: First Wednesdays, Real Talk, Turn on the A.C. (Alabama Culture), Community Conversations, and Global Café–programs all aimed to address the changing cultural demographics the university’s internal campus community has experienced in recent years.
Currently, now entering the next chapter of his professional and academic life as Dr. Brice Miller, he seeks to enter a university, city government or social-cultural service agency position where over a decade of engaged scholarship experience will allow the opportunity to contribute his interdisciplinary creative approach, skills of administering comprehensive programming, and genuine enthusiasm creating engagement collaboratives. Since 2005, Brice has been an active lecturer and featured presenter discussing a wide range of topics. For examples, see the following:
Professional Conference Presentations, Scholarly Work, and Publications
- 2014 – Dissertation, “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now: Brass Bands in Post-Katrina New Orleans”
- 2013 – Featured Panelist, “Post-Katrina Futures: The intersection of culture, activism and tourism in post-Katrina New Orleans.” After Katrina: Transnational Perspectives on the Futures of the Gulf South Conference, Tulane University, New Orleans, L A
- 2013 – Featured Panelist, “Beyond Tourism Beyond Recovery.” Rising Tide VIII Conference, Xavier University, New Orleans, L A
- 2013 – Guest Lecturer, “Developing Cultural Competence: Understanding Cultural Selves for Understanding Others.” Department of Community Health, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
- 2012 – Guest Lecturer, “Engaging Scholarship and Understanding Community in Post-Katrina New Orleans,” Department of Community Health, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
- 2011 – Presentation, “From Treme to Treme: New Orleans as a Cultural Discourse.” New College Seminar discussing Landscapes of the South, The University of Alabama
- 2011 – Presentation, “Community Culture Fest: Building Communities through Cultural Appreciation.” Symposium presentation at the National Outreach Scholarship Conference, Michigan State University
- 2010 – Presentation, “Effective Leadership and Community Resilience Post-Disaster.” Leadership Forum presentation at the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Leadership Tuscaloosa 2011 Graduation
- 2010 – Presentation, Lecturer, Performer, “Pain, Struggle, and Survival: Remembering Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later and Its Toll on the Human Spirit.” Multicultural Affairs
- 2010 – Human Rights Week Symposium, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- 2010 – Publication, “New Orleans as a metaphor: Culture is Understanding Yourself and Others.” University of Alabama Partners Magazine of Community-Engaged Scholarship, 3, pp. 29-31
- 2010 – Featured Lecturer, “Hurricane Katrina Retrospective, Remembering Hurricane Katrina: Five Years Later.” Symposium Presentation at the UA Community Conversations: Hurricane Katrina Retrospective, University of Alabama
- 2009 – Presentation/Guest Lecturer, “Reflecting on Hurricane Katrina: The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery.” African-American scholar and author, Dr. Jerry W. Ward, Jr., and Brice Miller shared personal reflections from Katrina. Also, a photography exhibit of images captured by Brice Miller, assistant director of Crossroads Community Center, upon his return to New Orleans after Katrina will be on display in Maxwell Hall during Ward’s visit.
Being much more than a scholar, since age 17, Dr. Brice Miller has also been known as an internationally trekking Jazzman, representing New Orleans at 100’s of festivals and events around the world as both a performer and scholar!
As a performer, Brice Miller is one of the most respected musicians in New Orleans and considered one of the best contemporary jazz trumpeters, playing in a style all is own. He has a uniquely distinctive jazz approach influenced by traditional New Orleans trumpeting stylings, brass bands, and hip-hop infused jazz and the use of modern electronica and sound manipulation effects. Always one in search of new ways to musically express himself, he has always set himself apart from the crowd through innovation and creation rather than existing in the past. An example is the constant high-demand for his Urban Swing performance, which equates to an exciting DJ’ing trumpeter creating a downbeat-like ambient atmosphere. A performance artist as well as a trumpeter, Miller does avant-jazz gigs with a DJ and electronics, but plays more traditional jazz with his Mahogany Brass Band, and twist the defines of traditional jazz with Ecirb Müller’s Twisted Dixie.
As a jazz artist and performer, Miller has enjoyed a phenomenal career as a musician and entrepreneur, traveling internationally since age 17. He is one of the most in-demand musician’s and performance artist in New Orleans. He is also the leader of Mahogany Brass Band, one of New Orleans’ only young brass bands maintaining the legacy of the tradition while still pushing the genre forward. Miller has achieved much success both as a musician/artist and as an educator. However, he is very humble, family centric (happily married for 13 years with four beautiful kids and two boxers, Beignet and Pow’der) and prefers to shy away from the spotlight and attention most artist crave.
To date, Miller has recorded six CD’s as a band leader, and is a featured performer on more than a dozen recordings. He currently has several projects in pre-production that have been on hold while he completed his dissertation, including a suite of digital music composed entirely on iPad.
He has performed at Carnegie Hall on three separate occasions, Kennedy Center, festivals throughout Europe including Umbria and North Sea jazz festivals, and Tivoli Gardens in Denmark to name a few. In 2007, Miller began creating and producing community-based music and arts festivals, starting with the creation, organizing, and production of the Columbus Jazz and Blues Festival in Columbus, Mississippi in 2007. The current highlight however is that 2014 will serve as Miller and Mahogany’s 22nd straight year performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival where they are considered “a must see.” He was also featured in five episodes of season 2 of HBO’s series Treme and performed on the soundtrack.
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