Anna White-Nockleby

Street Dance Activism

On Thursday, one of this year’s participants, Shamell Bell, led us in a Street Dance Activism workshop, sharing some of her pedagogical and activist strategies as a #BlackLivesMatter organizer in Los Angeles and PhD Student at UCLA. A trained dancer, Bell is invested, both in theory and practice, in how street dance can be used as a form of what she terms “self-care, resistance, and team building.” This LA ...

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Interview with Doris Sommer

Doris Sommer is Founder of Cultural Agents, an NGO dedicated to civic development through the arts, and the Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies. She is leading this year’s seminar, “The Arts of Agency,” and I sat down with her to ask her about her thoughts on the themes of the 2017 Mellon School, Research, Pedagogy, Activism.

AWN: One of the things that I admire about your work is the style and readability of your writing, and the fact that it crosses disciplinary boundaries. I...

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Interview with Carrie Preston

Carrie Preston, an Associate Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Boston University. is leading this year's seminar, “Race, Gender, Participatory Theater: What Do Audiences Learn?”. I sat down with her to ask a few questions about her work in relation to the Mellon School theme of Research, Pedagogy, Activism.

AWN: I was struck both in your lecture, and in your book [Learning to Kneel: Noh, Modernism, and Journeys in Teaching] by your use of your own experience, which involves you putting yourself...

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Action Shots

We've been up to a lot over the past few days! Here are a few photos from seminars, conversations and outings.


Doris Seminar 2

Forum Theater scenes in Doris Sommer's seminar



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Adventures in the Harvard Theatre Collection

This afternoon, I stopped by Harvard's Houghton Library in search of materials relating to the many plays we've discussed over the past week of seminars, public lectures and discussions. I was especially struck by archives housed in the Harvard Theatre Collection pertaining to the work of Amiri Baraka, whose 1964 play Dutchman came up in Harvey Young's lecture. I also found manuscripts and other documents surrounding the theatrical production of French playwright Jean Genet and The Blacks: A Clown Show, which was the subject of Carrie...

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Lessons from Day 1

On a rainy Monday, we arrived at Farkas Hall from all over the US and world to begin 2017’s Mellon School, focusing on a theme that seems more pressing, and prescient, by the day: “Research, Pedagogy, Activism.” So in the spirit of teaching and learning, I asked many participants to tell me one thing that they learned, or discovered, in their first day. Perhaps most practically, “Bike rentals in Harvard Square are super expensive!” and “Parking is really expensive” too. But I quickly learned my own lesson. As one participant gently recounted, Doris Sommer began her seminar “The Arts of...

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