Displaying items by tag: G102

The University of Utah's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) gives undergraduate students and faculty mentors the opportunity to work together on research or creative projects. The program provides a stipend and educational programming for students who assist with a faculty member’s research or creative project or who carry out a project of their own under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may apply for UROP any semester and may be eligible for a one-semester renewal. UROP awardees are hired as temporary, part-time UROP Participants by the Office of Undergraduate Research and are paid $1,200 for 120 hours of research or creative work during the semester.

This fall, three College of Fine Arts students were awarded funding and are now hard at work on their research projects.

Here’s what they’re up to:

Makena Reynolds
Department of Theatre
Faculty Mentor: Alexandra Harbold

Reynolds is developing a musical based on the life and work of Emily Dickinson through the lens of those who shaped her legacy. What started as a commemoration of a famous poet's works turned into the investigation of her living life and how a falling out in the family shaped how we perceive Emily Dickinson in present day. After reading “Lives Like Loaded Guns” by Lyndall Gordon, the intrigue to tell Emily’s story grew amongst Reynolds' creative team. 

"It’s timely to tell the story of Queer women in theater. More specifically, it is important to tell the story of women through the female lens. Theater has the influence to sway audiences and tell them what is or is not important. The material currently available to produce within the theater industry does not accurately mirror the values of society today. Plays and musicals written by women for women are scarce, and to foster female theater artists intent on making change to the industry and society they require good material that supports it.

For this research I have paired with the registered student organization, Open Door Productions at the University of Utah, to use a departmental performance space and produce this show. A portion of this research project will be conducted in person and will involve producing a script, collaboration with other creators and artists, and ultimately stage a performance of this piece."

Mara Magistad
School of Dance
Faculty Mentor: Daniel Clifton

Mara Magistad, senior Modern Dance BFA student, is working on a UROP project titled "Developing Effective Personal Training Programs for Contemporary Dancers". The project looks at fitness levels, attitudes and behaviors towards fitness training in pre professional track contemporary dancers, and works to create specified programming for the individual based on their artistic and physical goals. Modalities used include weight lifting, high intensity interval training, core and balance training, and plyometrics, to name a few.

Brynn Staker
School of Music 
Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Titrington Craft 

Brynn Staker is conducting musicology research with Dr. Elizabeth Titrington Craft. Dr. Craft is currently writing a book on George M. Cohan and early American musical theater. Staker's research involves cataloguing archived newspaper articles from around 1890-1942. She is creating a database of compiled and annotated articles that reference Cohan, his songs, or his work. 

"I am looking into the role of “international relationships” in early American music and musical theater. These relationships are a point of interest for many composers, and I find their fascination compelling. I will be comparing and contrasting different portrayed relationships, the perspective of the composers, and the affect this representation had on the public."



Published in Finer Points Blog
Tagged under

Seven students from the College of Fine Arts were recently selected as Spring 2020 scholars in the University of Utah's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

UROP gives undergraduate students and faculty mentors the opportunity to work together on research or creative projects. The program provides a stipend and educational programming for students who assist with a faculty member’s research or creative project or who carry out a project of their own under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may apply for UROP any semester and may be eligible for a one-semester renewal. UROP awardees are hired as temporary, part-time UROP Participants by the Office of Undergraduate Research and are paid $1,200 for 120 hours of research or creative work during the semester.

These incredible students, along with their dedicated faculty mentors, are making us proud.

Read about each of their projects:

Alan Chavez, Music
Recording the History of the University of Utah Department of Music
Faculty mentor: Elizabeth Craft

“My project this semester is to begin an oral history for the SoM Piano Pedagogy program. It was one of the first of its kind and has a unique influence on SLC and Utah. I will be interviewing past and present faculty and seeking information on the program’s founding.”

Nate Francis, Art
Queer Isolation
Faculty mentor: Jaclyn Wright

“As a photography student here on campus, I’ve been so honored to have the opportunity to conduct research related to imagery, identity, and loneliness and create imagery that contains my findings. I grew up in Provo, Utah, not far from the U of U campus. As a queer person, growing up in an LDS family and culture has not been an easy journey, and I know I’m not the only one who has experienced the loneliness that comes with growing up queer in Utah. My research is an exploration of Utah’s landscapes, the photographic studio, and my own identity. The work features many iconic Utah landscapes and elements that are used as visual analogies for desolation, weight, and solitude, but which appear from the surface to be beautiful and other worldly. The work also includes the use of the photographic studio, which is a sort of sanctuary and place of self-creation, and my own body in relation to all of the above.”

Ashley Goodwin, Theatre Teaching
The Not Broken Monologues
Faculty mentor: Alexandra Harbold

“My UROP project is called "The Not Broken Monologues", which is a performative theatre piece that I have written and am now working on producing this semester. As a member of the arts community with disabilities I have developed a passion for inclusion and advocacy, and I am a firm believer that there can be space for everyone within the arts. "The Not Broken Monologues" is a piece that embodies that idea, while telling a wide range of stories of the disabled experience and fostering a sense of community and support. With my own experiences and dozens of hours of one-on-one interviews as source material I hope to convey the message that we (people with disabilities) are not just our disabilities, and most importantly - we are not broken.”

Connor Johnson, Theatre
Of Ronald and Edith
Faculty mentor: Tim Slover

“My project is full production of a play called Ronald and Edith which I wrote and workshopped at the U of U in 2020. The play is about J.R.R Tolkien and his wife Edith, and it centers around a story that Tolkien wrote in his earlier years called Beren and Luthien. The performance is going to be outdoors, hopefully with a small, socially distanced audience in the beginning of May.” 

Matt Peterson, Art
Mokume allow compatibility
Faculty mentor: Paul Stout

“I am working on a Japanese metalworking technique called mokume gane. The process involves taking dissimilar non-ferrous metals, stacking and firing them, and then manipulating the resulting billet through forging and gouging, into a sheet of patterned metal. If you have ever seen damascus steel, or pattern welded steel, the patterns in the metal look similar. The process itself has been around for about 400 years, so what I am working on specifically is trying out some newer alloys of silver to see how well they work in the process itself. Making mokume is rather time consuming and challenging, but I think the results are worth it.” 

Duke Ross, Film & Media Arts
"Osaru-Chan" Short Film
Faculty mentor: Miriam Albert-Sobrino

“Osaru-Chan follows the story of two brothers who steal a valuable family heirloom from an elderly Japanese woman, and in the process, awaken her demigod son, who exacts prompt retribution. The film explores concepts of familial relations, Americana, and colonialism, and utilizes the visual style of high contrast black and white widescreen used in many of Akira Kurosawa’s early films. I thoroughly enjoy the East/West blending of cultures and film genres seen in some of Shinichiro Watanabe’s work (“Cowboy Bebop,” “Samurai Champloo,”) and I would love to see more of that in the American cinema. Additionally, due to the rising anti-Asian sentiment in the United States following the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump Administration, I feel as though it’s essential to see more Asian people in the media. The project is currently in post-production and should have the picture locked within the next month or so.”

Paige Stephenson, Music
Power and Patronage: A Study of Female Leaders in Early European Courts
Faculty mentor: Jane Hatter

“While musicology as a discipline is beginning to recognize the key role of female musicians in all eras, there is still a tendency to evaluate their significance using the same criteria used to understand the musical work of men. In Early Modern Europe, women of various social levels had significantly different modes of accessing and participating in musical activities from their male counterparts. My research project explores females as patronesses of music in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. I am discovering how women used their role as a music patroness to further advance their personal goals and ideals.”

Visit UROP's website to find out upcoming deadlines for future creative and research projects! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

Research from two University of Utah College of Fine Arts undergraduate students was recently published in the university's 2020 Undergraduate Research Journal. The Undergraduate Research Journal collects and celebrates the contributions our undergraduate students from all over campus make to scholarship in their fields.

Sydney Porter Williams from the Department of Art & Art History focused her research on the outcomes and benefits of a collaborative mural project in Murray, while Amelie Bennett from the School of Dance examined the role of dance therapy in improving empathy and emotion recognition in non-clinical adults and children. 

We encourage you to learn more about these important student projects, as well as discover the work of many other undergraduate researchers from across campus disciplines! 

 

THE MURRAY MURALS PROJECT: CONNECTING LIVES ON CANVAS -- Sydney Porter Williams, Department of Art & Art History
Faculty Mentor: V. Kim Martinez

"The Murray Murals Project is a collaborative effort between University of Utah art students and thousands of Murray youth and community members. These groups worked collaboratively over the course of the fall 2018 semester to create community-engaged, portable murals for nine Murray elementary schools. These murals now hang in the halls of these schools, giving students ownership of their artwork and of their communities." 

HOW WE MOVE WHEN WE FEEL: KINESTHETIC EMPATHY THROUGH MIRROR NEURONS – Amelie Bennett, School of Dance
Faculty Mentor: Kate Mattingly

"This work examines the commonly accepted notion of dance/movement therapy that mirroring another person’s movement will increase both participants’ levels of empathy. Mirroring involves a participant creating expressive dance; in a therapeutic setting, the therapist mirrors their movements to establish a relationship and gain insight into their physical and emotional experience."

 

EXPLORE THE 2020 UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH JOURNAL

Published in Finer Points Blog

The College of Fine Arts is delighted to present the 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher award to Alicia Ross from the School of Dance.

In 2015, The Office of Undergraduate Research established the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award to recognize an outstanding undergraduate researcher from each college. Faculty mentors are invited to nominate students, and awardees are selected by committee. The criteria for the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award include: a record of sustained commitment to developing research skills and knowledge under the supervision of a faculty mentor, evidence of independent and critical thinking, active participation in research-related activities on campus, and positive contributions to the research culture of the department, college, and university.

Alicia's impressive accomplishments as an undergraduate researcher and student leader in the College of Fine Arts center around her commitment to her work as a movement researcher and performer.  In the last three years, Alicia has engaged in 14 research related activities, as a performer, collaborator, choreographer or participant.  These include her being selected to participate in work by internationally recognized artists Doug Varone and Anouk van Dijk.

“Alicia is the first undergraduate artist-scholar that I can remember who has made such a compelling case for movement research as a valid form of critical inquiry. Her proposal for the Outstanding Researcher Award articulated the multifaceted modalities that artists draw on at all times when creating and dancing in movement—physics, musicality, psychology, design, spatial-awareness, history, physicality, kinesiology— all at the neuromuscular level. Her work in the department has exemplied this multiplicity, as she has shone as a performer, maker of dances, and writer/scholar. It was a joy to see her synthesize all of this vast body-mind knowledge at receive this deserved award.”
-Satu Hummasti 
Associate Director for Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor, School of Dance

 

In Her Own Words 

Name: Alicia Ross
Major: Modern Dance
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Three words that describe you: imaginative, passionate, intuitive 
Favorite CFA class or teacher: My favorite College of Fine Arts class is improvisation because I get to explore all kinds of movement and the infinite possibilities of the body.   
Most memorable moment at CFA: My most memorable moment here was performing "CLEANSLATE" by Satu Hummasti. It was a significant work that encouraged kindness and equality in today's world. 
One thing you learned at CFA: The most important thing I've learned at the College of Fine Arts is that I can make a difference as an artist. I have a powerful voice as a dancer and choreographer that can be used to enact change in society.  
What inspires you: I'm inspired by all of the courageous and graceful women in my life.
Summary of major accomplishments both on and off campus: On campus I have performed in works by Stephen Koester, Anouk van Dijk, Satu Hummasti, Eric Handman, and more. I have also choreographed and performed a solo entitled Introspection, and showcased two of my dance films in our Modern Student Concert. Off campus I have participated and performed in programs such as the Ririe Woodbury Summer Intensive and the Doug Varone Summer Workshop. Lastly, I look forward to continuing my off campus performance career after graduation in a local show at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.    
One sentence that describes your work: My work aims to convey the beauty, complexity, and intensity of the human experience through movement and emotion.

“Throughout my four years here I have been able to explore the potential of the body for creating art that is meaningful and alive. Studying the creative process with my professors has allowed me to make discoveries and figure out what it means to be a movement researcher and performer. Each professor has taught me a new way to study dance and produce material that conveys a message to the audience… Being able to physically create and feel movement that portrays intellectual thoughts and ideas is complex yet fulfilling. Through my corporeal research I have found a deep understanding and appreciation for the creative process and the expression of the dancing body within my discipline. The guidance I have received from my professors and mentors to develop that will definitely impact my future projects and long-term artistic career.”
-Alicia Ross, Class of 2020

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Kate Mattingly 

As a researcher who teaches courses in dance histories, dance studies, and dance criticism, I spend a lot of time thinking about how we communicate through our bodies and our words. My dissertation, which I completed in 2017, analyzes how dance criticism not only responds to a performance but also shapes and influences our value systems and priorities. Historically, dance critics have wielded a lot of power: John Martin named the genre “modern dance” and heavily influenced the success of certain choreographers, like Martha Graham, in the 20th century. 

But digital platforms change the status and authority of critics’ words because there are more immediate opportunities to challenge a viewpoint and to use social media platforms to offer different perspectives. A great example of this happened in 2010 when a New York Times critic wrote that Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy with New York City Ballet, looked “as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” The outpouring of support for Ringer led to her appearance on The Today Show and Oprah. These interviews are still available online, making the critic's words less definitive. jennifer ringer

In my scholarship I analyze how the digital sphere opens spaces for a co-existence of different perspectives, and how this brings attention to artists and ideas that have been misrepresented or completely ignored. Much of my current research focuses on how criticism in the 21st century can challenge the sexisms, racisms, and classisms that have circulated through print critics’ writing.  On April 14, I gave a lecture for students and faculty at UCLA on digital dance criticism, and how traces of a project by Amara Tabor-Smith called “House/Full of Black Women,” circulated through photographs Amara posted on Facebook, thereby extending the reach of her processions that happened in Oakland, California. This is an important example of how artists bypass a critic who speaks “for” a project and instead gives the artist access to self-representation and self-definition. 

In my dance studies course this semester, when we shifted to an online format, students shared final projects through PowerPoint presentations and then we opened online discussions about the topics. The students’ work was stellar and the online discussions deepened and extended the conversations we had begun earlier in the semester when we were meeting together. One particularly timely project, by Todd Lani ’20, examined social media users who can promote social justice or their own fame. Todd used Matt Bernstein as an example of a social media “activist” who thinks of others and dismantles hate and violence against LGBTQ+ communities. Todd wrote, “Growing up in a smaller rural area, the media (more specifically social media) was the only outlet and opportunity that I had to see any representation of someone like myself.” 

During this pandemic, as we find ourselves relying on the digital sphere, we might also be noticing the differences between attending a live performance and watching dancing through a screen. There are undoubtedly things that seem to be missing, like the communal experience of watching a performance with a hundred-plus people, or the feeling of liveness and immediacy as an artist creates the movement in your presence. But there are also advantages: many companies are offering performances to view free of charge, and events that happened in far away places are now visible in our homes. 

A student-run group at the University of Utah, the Dance Studies Working Group, took a trip to San Francisco in 2018, supported by funding from a FAF Grant, to see a festival called Unbound and attend a Symposium of guest speakers who included Dwight Rhoden, Virginia Johnson, and Marc Brew. When the company’s current performance season had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, SF Ballet released performances from Unbound online. This Friday students and alumni of the Ballet Program are hosting a zoom conversation, organized by Victoria Holmes Johnson ’19, to discuss the possibilities of online transmission, and also what’s missing in this virtual realm. 

We think these conversations are important during this time of uncertainty because we hope that the future of dance, like the future of dance criticism, will be more inclusive and equitable. Artists are known for their imaginations, able to problem-solve and think creatively, and their expertise is invaluable at this moment. 

Finally, when people use words like “unprecedented” to describe this pandemic, they are making invisible a lot of people who have not had access to services or movement for years, if not decades. People who are confined and dependent on others due to disabilities could be our teachers. I hope that this moment of "uncertainty" is an opportunity for us to look at our interconnectedness: how do we support and nurture one another? how do we honor  our different needs and capacities? I hope we do not return to a world that is about individualism, convenience, and control, but rather one that embraces the interdependencies and indeterminacy of life. 

Author Kate Mattingly is an assistant professor in the University of Utah School of Dance. 

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Emeri Fetzer

When Utah’s K-12 schools closed in response to COVID-19, graduate students in the U’s Masters of Arts in Teaching - Fine Arts (MAT-FA) program wondered how to move forward with the projects they and their young students were already hard at work on: things like team murals, original music collaborations, and movement activities. The arts are inherently social, interactive, and tangible.

In this new and developing community challenge, how could they push forward, and ensure their students didn’t lose progress, as well as their connection with one another? 

In a time of increasing isolation, the U’s community of fine arts educators leaned on each other for strength and innovation. To brainstorm solutions, MAT-FA graduate students turned to faculty members in the College of Fine Arts who were facing the same complex challenges in taking their university courses online. What resulted from these collaborative conversations were numerous smart solutions, and an abundance of encouragement.

When the pandemic hit, MAT-FA educator Laura Decker and her students at Monticello Academy in West Valley City were working on developing sculptures about culture and identity. In such a hands-on experience, it is difficult to instruct without referring to a physical example. Also, students at home do not have the access to art supplies that they would at their schools.

So, last Monday, on the first official day of online learning for the state of Utah, Monticello Academy students and families came to the school to pick up art project kits along with a piece of clay and art making instructions that Ms. Decker had prepared. The students were incredibly excited to see her and to be back in the school building even for a brief period during this time of uncertainty. Students were thrilled to collect their art kits and for the opportunity to complete their sculptures at home.

By Thursday, three days later, over 50% of the students had finished their sculptures and sent back photos. But Decker wanted her class to see each other’s work and discuss the finished projects as a group. To this end, she is now asking them to take thirty-second, 360° videos of their sculptures and answer a few questions about their process and inspirations, which they will then share collectively. 

Eric Spreng’s middle school band students at The Open Classroom in Salt Lake City were in the midst of writing original musical compositions on the theme of climate change when they were asked to stay home. They were very much looking forward to performing their pieces for each other and their families this April. But like all other live performances nationwide, this was no longer in the cards for this spring.  Spreng MATFA 3Some of Eric Spreng's middle school music students at work, prior to distance learning

After meeting with Jared Rawlings, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Music, Spreng, another standout MAT-FA candidate, is inspired to take a new direction that he hopes will still unite his student musicians. With their own instruments from their private homes, each student will call into a live Zoom session where Spreng will conduct them all together. They hope to send footage of their online concert to the legislature, sharing their climate change ideas and reflections with their local leaders. 

Examples of adapting education to a format for social distancing abound: theatre students in secondary schools discovering and self-taping monologues related to their current emotions, visual art teachers creating tutorials to follow on YouTube tutorials, or live-streaming the painting of a class-planned mural while students to comment on its direction and progress -- the list goes on and on.

One thing is certain, the arts in schools are not going anywhere.

And even while they are digital, their value is deeply felt, by both Utah's young people and our community at large.

To learn more about the U's Master of Arts in Teaching - Fine Arts program, click here. 

Published in Finer Points Blog

For David Park, School of Music Adjunct Professor, 2020 will be a landmark year for violin performance.

“2020 marks the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven, and the 75th Anniversary of United Nations (UN). To pay tribute, I will perform an all-Beethoven program at a landmark UN Ballroom in London where the inaugural General Assembly reception took place hosted by King George VI and Prime Minister Attlee. This is very fitting since music of Beethoven represents freedom and solidarity. For my London debut, a world-renowned violin foundation will loan me one of the rarest 18th century Stradivarius violins in the world,” Park explained.

Continuing the theme of Beethoven’s anniversary, later in the year Park will make his Long Island debut with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Then, in the Spring, he will travel to LA to play the all-time favorite, Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," with which he made his NY debut at Carnegie Hall.

Also, February marks the release of his first recording with Centaur Records, one of the oldest and largest classical labels. “This will be quite special, because I will be recording the music of Kreisler, one of my heroes. In the music industry, it is very difficult to record mainstream repertoire unless one is a household name, so I’m very grateful they are taking a chance with me. I’m also excited to collaborate with two splendid pianists, Alex Marshall and Melissa Garff Ballard. Alex is the music director of U Theater and Melissa is a noted arts patron and serves on the Utah House of Representatives.” Park said.

To top it all off, Park has recently risen to #40 in Ranker’s list of “The World’s Greatest Violinists,”  and has been selected as the first Cultural Ambassador of Ferrari.

He is looking forward to sharing all of his exciting upcoming engagements and successes with our campus community. “I hope I can do justice to these masterworks and that some of you can join me in this journey of discovering the seat of my soul,” he said.

Published in Finer Points Blog