Brown Arts Institute

ARTS Courses

Interdisciplinary courses taught by faculty and visiting artists.

Each semester Brown Arts Institute supports academic courses that otherwise may not happen. By working with faculty in the Arts Departments and beyond, as well as Professors of the Practice, BAI offers a wide range of academic opportunities. Courses can be identified by the ARTS designation in the course catalog. 

Fall 2021

Combining art making with the close reading of scholarly texts and media objects, this course engages with the categories of ‘reproduction’ and ‘reproductive labor’ as complex and contradictory sites of activist and aesthetic involvement. We explore 20th and early 21st century traditions of feminist, queer and anti-colonial activism and aesthetics for what they teach us about the uneasy status of the ‘social’ and its reproduction as a semi-autonomous realm. How might we represent the realm of reproduction and reproductive labor when it is at once culturally devalued and obscured even as its representatives are idealized (or vilified) in highly classed, raced and gendered terms—as selfless mothers, prostitutes, mammies, 'essential workers,' etc.? Such questions demand a variety of approaches and students may choose to engage the course primarily through written assignments, artistic projects or a combination of both. Taught by Arlen Austen

In this course, we will divide our time equally between studying the works/styles of contemporary performance artists and practicing performance art techniques and various modes of physically engaging in this art form. (Note: Performance art is not to be confused with the term performing arts. This class is not a theater or poetry presentation course, but can be applied to the ways in which both are presented.) This course will focus on the genre of performance art which lies between most other art disciplines and includes raw feelings (not acted emotions), political views and above all else, the embodiment of physical actions as art. Taught by PoP Ayana Evans.

This course challenges artists, practitioners, and scholars to push the hermeneutic limits of archives. The course presents a series of critical essays, case studies, and workshops to support students as they develop theoretical expertise, creative thinking patterns, and practicable skills. Students will develop finding aids that support enhanced accessibility, and analyze systematic research practices that build toward equity. Ultimately they will develop acquisition plans in alignment with the Brown Libraries new acquisition plan.

Beginning with an overview of what constitutes an archive, this syllabus attempts to guide learners through the acquisitioning process. It foregrounds the ways that anti-racist activists and artists work in and against archives, exploring how collecting professionals and amateurs alike can use the acquisition process to challenge dominant white supremacist narratives and hierarchies of knowledge in the service of more equitable and just institutional development. Taught by Micah Salkind, Jazzmen Lee-Johnson and Tiffini Bowers.

Spring 2021

ARTS 1310 Making the 21st Century Musical
Erin McKeown, BAI Professor of the Practice, Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Songs are a powerful dramatic storytelling tool - we see them used all the time in media, alongside scripted dialogue and visual elements. In this class we will explore contemporary musicals, in all forms, and we will create songs that tell stories. Together we will investigate how dramatic songs are made, what they can be about, and who are our audiences. We will pay special attention to perspectives that have been left out of past musical storytelling, and we will discover ways that our songs can advocate for justice in the 21st century and beyond. Application required (email [email protected] after Dec 1 for a link to the google application form).

ARTS 1010 Script to Screen
Laura Colella, Literary Arts

Script to Screen is an intensive production course designed for students with some proficiency in screenwriting and little to no directing or filmmaking experience. The course aims to serve as a two-way bridge, opening writing students up to possibilities for production, while also investigating how production experiences can inform future writing. Activities include shooting and editing video exercises, working with actors, and filming practice scenes. A local casting director will conduct a workshop and bring in actors for scene work. A highly acclaimed guest director will work with students over three classes, conducting an acting workshop and critiquing scene work.

Fall 2020

ARTS1000 The Arts Workshop: I'm So Alone- Art of Surveilled Bodies Amidst a Global Epidemiological Cluster#@%$
Sydney Skybetter, Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Since COVID-19, enforcement of “social distancing” has become a state mandate. The resultant choreographies of “social distancing” have catalyzed a confluence of gestures, disciplining technologies, discriminatory health practices, and state power; a braid of urgent concern for scholars and artists, and the subject of this interdisciplinary arts workshop. Offered by Brown Arts Initiative, the workshop is open to graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty by application. Full course credit is available for those interested. Participants will consider their respective creative practices in light of COVID-19 and emerging systems of computational recognition, broader trends with technologies of the body, and surveillance.

ARTS1620 Tell the Story: The Afro-Diasporic Experience Through Documentary Film
Yoruba Richen, Professor of the Practice with BAI and the Department of Africana Studies

Documentary films have grown into an influential art form that has influenced politics, culture, social movements and how we see the world. They are relied on to sort out fact from fiction in an increasingly complex world where the lines continue to blur. Through film screenings, lectures, readings, critical analysis and group discussions, the course examines the changing nature of the documentary as it relates to how films documenting the Black Experience are conceived, told and distributed in different mediums. We will also look at how these films have been influenced as much by technology and ethical, social, cultural and political movements, as it has by the individual choices of the filmmakers.

ARTS 1700 Introduction to iPhone/iPad Moviemaking Using 3-D and 360 VR Comparisons
Ted Bogosian, Cogut Center for the Humanities

Mobile Devices are democratizing movie-making by lowering barriers to entry, enabling students to become full-fledged members of the film industry virtually overnight. This pioneering course provides the basic tools for students to create and distribute no- and low-budget live-action motion pictures with professional production values utilizing only their personal smartphones. Students will acquire the skills to plan, capture and edit short motion pictures through hands-on instruction and experimentation with low-cost accessories, including selfie-sticks, lens adapters, directional microphones and iPhone apps like Filmic Pro, Vizzywig and iMovie. Limited to junior, senior and graduate students.