Dear PS Undergraduate, MA, and Ph.D. students,
A short note from all of us, the Full Time PS Faculty and PS Administrators and Staff.
First of all, we hope that everyone is safe and healthy at this moment of so much uncertainty and upheaval. We are all dealing with something unprecedented, and it is a lot to take in, so please make sure you take good care of yourselves and do take this break as a real break.
We wanted to share with you some ideas and initiatives that we have been brainstorming over the last few days to try to ensure, as much as we can, the continuation of the work that we have been developing in class with you over this academic year, and particularly over this semester. We understand that can't mean just carrying on as usual - and we want you to help us imagine the most supportive and productive ways for us to teach and learn from each other now.
And we also wanted to share some ideas on how to find ways to continue the more occasional dialogues and chats we have in our hallways, or during our regular Office hours, and during some of the many initiatives and events that make our department's life so vibrant.
We are still figuring out exactly how to proceed in many of those areas, so in the next few days, we will be sharing more specific information on some of what we are planning.
But for, now, this is what we are sure about:
· All classes will continue via Zoom until the end of the semester. Last week we had several classes already up and running, and despite the novelty, it seems that overall the experience was positive. Please note that at this point, there is no official word yet about the Summer session. But Barbara Browning is already planning a Zoom version of the MA Final Projects, which looks quite amazing. But, again, we need to wait to hear from the University on this decision about the Summer session.
· All regular Faculty Office Hours will remain in place, as always. Nicole and Allison are finalizing a protocol on how to book appointments online and have Office Hours via Zoom.
· Inspired by the fact that some of you are already working towards moving the PS Salon to a virtual environment, the Faculty is following your lead on this, and we are creating a twice a week, "Drop In Session" via Zoom, where faculty will be discussing, informally, a short paper, a topic, sharing their work, reading together something, discussing a piece, etc. These "Drop-In Sessions" will be informal get-togethers, but with some kind of soft-focus on a topic, proposed by each convener so that we can gather and offer our collective brain some critical fun.
· We are also thinking of the possibility of having some evening lectures via Zoom, with guest speakers, visiting scholars, or some of our faculty.
· And, we are also exploring ways for you to post and share videos on our website of your artwork, or your critical reflections of the situation. We are trying to figure out if this is possible, technically.
In other words: we will remain together because of distance and proximity is not just measured in miles.
It is worthwhile quoting here a post from yesterday by the amazing Chicago based playwright and performer Matthew Goulish, co-founder of the ensemble Every House Has a Door:
If distancing always affirms that which it distances, then social distancing affirms the social – my bond to my nearest neighbor, across the divide. In this zone of isolation, how do we gather? We find our way as we find ourselves, flung apart, groping in the new twilight, signaling across the expanse. How do we prepare for the day when we will re-enter, dancing through the eye of a needle, the vast evacuated theater?
Matthew Goulish, March 18, 2020
Again: specific instructions on all of the above will follow soon, with details on how to book Office hours, how to assess the Drop-in Sessions, and how to participate in eventual Events at the end of the day. So please stay tuned to your email!!!!
Finally, we also want and need to hear from you: with ideas, inspiration, comments, concerns, critiques, or any other topic you want to share and feel we can be of help. So feel free to write to any of us.
And, to close, because it is still spring break, and because there are amazing waves of solidarity and sharing among artists, scholars, writers, public intellectuals, art institutions, etc., rushing across the planet, here are some performance-oriented links that have been made available to help us all, wherever we might be, endure this new mode of living in social distancing.
Receive our warmest wishes, hang in there, we will continue, together, because there is no other way!
The Faculty, Administrators, and Staff of Performance Studies