Echo the Chorus: Spring 2016 Education Program

Design for Dress_McNeelyThe lights are off, and I am running, running barefoot through a hushed, intent audience until I reach the spotlight, downstage center left. My heart is beating as fast as the wings of a hummingbird hovering above the hibiscus to sip its nectar. Cast not as an Argive elder carrying a stave for support, but rather as a nimble Chorus, I am one of three young women dispersed in a simple white triangle of tunics. Our text is equally divided, not recited in unison, but flowing, syncopated. Point to point, I sing out my opening lines. Against the stark, black backdrop of the ancient, imaginary palace, we prepare for the entrance of Queen Clytaemnestra. Agamemnon runs for the weekend; our connection to theater runs longer.

How does the theater apply to education and influence new forms of learning? We reflect on the essential components of theater, as we look upon the Spring Education Program. Our audience largely comprises students. Our performers are faculty, guest speakers, students, and staff. Content includes book and guest talks; workshops; live music; displays and exhibits. Performances in the large library classrooms incorporate sound to welcome and enhance content, while live music continues weekly in the Everett Café. Environment, physical, is library classroom and café as stage; environment, social, is the feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and learning that emerge as a result of programming and/or production. Enter the Chorus, who, with its “oneness of character”, serves to set the mood, discuss, debate, inform, advise, engage.

Book talks continue to show internal and external collaborations, namely with TC’s Department of Arts and Humanities, and the Dimon Institute, as they recognize the work of our faculty: Mary Hafeli, Professor of Art and Art Education; Olga Hubard, Associate Professor of Art Education; and Theodore Dimon, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education and Psychology. Topics explore studio materials, art museum education, and mindfulness in action, as they attract large audiences and a good cross section of students and faculty.

Guest talks deepen collaborations — key to theatrical experience –, particularly with the George Clement Bond Center for African Education; a series of events address economics in People’s Democratic Republic of Congo; perspectives on African education, and the mission of Village Health Works, Burundi. Other events are co-sponsored with the Department of Curriculum and Teaching; Film and Education Research Academy; and Office of Development where guests include Geoff Whitty, Kum- Kum Bhavnani, and Nimat Barazangi. We host the third annual conference on interdisciplinary and cultural studies, where doctoral students form intimate panels on poetics, gender, video autobiography, education-teaching, art, photography, literary narrative, popular culture. The day is capped with a “Theater Piece” by Alaina Hammond.

Instruction incorporates a highly popular new series, Engaging the Disengaged Student, with Ph’D candidate and guitarist “edu-tainer”,  Joseph Mathews, and a custom workshop on integrating media in education by WNET/PBS, led by alumna Akriti Macker for MSTU 5003. Our regular workshops concentrate on research tools and strategies; historical research methods; and the new program of alumni resources. Abby, beloved therapy dog, visits students during finals in the second floor Zen Garden — to be rewarded with Kibble.

Special news displays provoke ideas on new forms of presentation, with a view to blogging and design tailored to accentuate headlines of chosen topics of interest to the broader field of education. Similarly, book displays in Everett Café are enhanced by blog posts and the promotion of research databases to encourage further analysis of themes; Sensational Gods, How to Win an Election, and The Supremes are joined by Politics, Law, and Economics of Education.

Live music features new sounds, with Nakami and Randolph, for some acoustic soul, and Kambujo, for Peruvian jazz. Returning performers include: The Corduroy Suit, Wadsworth Strings, Sarah Kang, Tyreek Jackson, and Ann Teed.

Delving into Pocketknowledge, Teachers College Record, and other sources, we provide research support to the design team for the Offit Gallery exhibit on historical TC portraiture. Other gallery exhibits, such as Mindful Lights, Music Lessons, Confronting Tradition (Chinese art), and Seen in New York: Summer in the City, are paired with offerings like special news displays (Mardi Gras), guest talks (Studio Art Education in China and America), and research resources (Health Sciences and Health Promotion and Family and Community).

The nectar is sweet — an adaptation of Chorus. Like Mary McNeeley’s Design for Dress to be Embroidered, we eagerly await the opening of the fourth floor Learning Theater, a black box with high end technology for educational research. Back in the day, our tunics for the first student production of the opening play of The Oresteia, are simple and white; our program ahead to be decorated, stitches in time, by sewing in new patterns of thread.

–“As for what’s to come — you’ll know that when it comes. So let it be.” (Aeschylus, Agamemnon, Chorus, lines 295-296).

Mask_Dow_Moorer

 

 

 

 

 

Education Program: Spring 2016 Offerings Attendees
Talks
Book 3 163
Guest 10 244
Instructional
Tours 6 33
Workshops 10 184
Online Discussions 2 n/a
Self Guided 5 n/a
Live Music 12 n/a
Displays & Exhibits 101 n/a
Special News 19 n/a
Regular News 74 n/a
Book Collections 3 n/a
Installations – Gallery 5 n/a
Total 150 624

Images:

Design for Dress to be Embroidered (1923) by Mary McNeeley. Part of the Mary Elizabeth McNeeley Costume Drawings Collection, a collection of 10 drawings produced by McNeeley in Costume Art classes taught by Belle Northrup, Instructor in Fine Arts at Teachers College.

Mask: Detail of GL00-BB04-FF06-DR04-0143 (n/a, 1904-1922), by E. Moorer. Part of The Students of Arthur Wesley Dow Collection, a collection of works rendered by Teachers College students studying under Professor Dow in the period 1905 to 1923.