Susan Seifert is co-founder and director of the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP), a research group at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice. Since 1994 the team has asked questions and developed methods to measure the impact of the arts and culture on urban social structure with a focus on neighborhood revitalization, social inclusion, and community wellbeing. Seifert directs the design, funding, and implementation of project-based inquiry in Philadelphia and other U.S. cities. The work involves development and management of relationships with community practitioners, public agencies, and private philanthropies. Reports and papers, co-authored with principal investigator Mark J. Stern, are published on the SIAP website at: http://impact.sp2.upenn.edu/siap/.
Seifert has long worked as an urbanist with an interest in the role of culture and meaning of place in urban communities. Prior to SIAP start-up, Seifert practiced as a city planner and policy analyst in cultural, economic, housing and community development, primarily in Philadelphia and New York City. She holds a M.Sc. in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Toronto (Canada) and did post-graduate studies in landscape architecture and ecological planning at Penn School of Design (former Graduate School of Fine Arts).