Integrating the Arts with Women’s Studies

Posted on 10/12/2011 5:10:11 PM

In an effort to unify the arts and women’s studies, a start-up of a new universal women’s consortium website, which includes posts and future events, has been developed.

On September 30, 2011, Professor Joan Van Dyke, Department of Theater and Dance, attended “Making the Cultural Shift to Embodied Voices and Virtual Selves,” sponsored by Indiana University of Pennsylvania along with Clarion University women’s studies programs. An outcome of the event was development of a electronic support network.

The IUP Women’s Commission created this universal women’s consortium website as a Facebook page. It is a “group” instead of a page, so you’ll have to ask to be added to it—and you will be. Note that IUP events (such as Lindsey’s Oyster performances!) are posted, but so are PASSHE and statewide events.

The workshop featured Dr. Susan Shaw from Oregon State University and a video conference with Iris Dunkle from Santa Cruz, California. The topics covered included nationwide status of women and gender studies, research in women’s studies online learning, cross-institutional collaboration, philosophy behind a women’s studies major, and contextualizing technology in the “feminist” online community. Colleagues attended from throughout the state, including Indiana, Clarion, Slippery Rock, Edinboro, West Chester, and Lock Haven universities. Van Dyke’s interests in integrating the arts with Women’s Studies led her to the workshop.

Added to the event page was the Department of Theater and Dance main stage production of Lindsey’s Oyster, written by Pittsburgh playwright Tammy Ryan and directed by Jason Chimonides. Lindsey’s Oyster was the first of three plays written by female playwrights that the Department of Theater and Dance will produce as a participant in the National Theater Conferences’ initiative to support American playwrights.

Lindsey’s Oyster deals with sensitive women’s issues, including date rape and abortion. “The Red Shoes Project,” directed by Joan E.Van Dyke and Tina Lewis, was a dance arts collaboration with choreographer Holly Boda-Sutton, Chauna Craig of IUP Women’s Studies, Steven Loar of the College of Fine Arts, and other artists throughout the university and community. Its premiere last spring at IUP brought two stories from Clarissa Pinkola Estés “Women Who Run with The Wolves,” interpreted to the stage through ballet and modern dance.