Calling all College of Fine Arts Students, Faculty and Staff:
The Fine Arts Diversity Committee has completed a proposed five-year Diversity Plan and would like your feedback. The plan is a result of the committee’s work during a 19-month planning process, including data gathered from a college-wide climate assessment, focus groups, interviews, and statistical information.
To view and provide feedback on the plan, please consider attending a focus group the week of October 21. Refreshments will be provided to stimulate your thinking.
To participate in a focus group, please sign up by clicking here or by visiting:
The planned focus groups include –
Theatre & Dance Students: Monday, Oct. 21, 5-6:30 p.m., WIN 1.148
Art & Art History Students: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 12-1:30 p.m., DFA 4.112
Butler School of Music Students: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 5-6:30 p.m., DFA 4.112
COFA Staff: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 12-1:30 p.m., DFA 4.112
COFA Faculty: Thursday, Oct. 24, 12-1:30 p.m., DFA 4.110
Please consider this opportunity to engage with your peers and contribute to the future of diversity work in COFA. The insights gained during the focus groups will be used to update and finalize the Diversity Plan.
If you have questions or feedback, or cannot attend a focus group but would like more information, please contact the Fine Arts Diversity Committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latino Hispanic Art Student Council (LHASC), a recently registered student organization in the College of Fine Arts, brings students together to learn, discuss and share interests in the arts. Students learn about Latino-Hispanic histories in art and conduct outreach beyond the Department of Art and Art History by organizing art-related events, exhibitions and fundraising for programs that will enrich educational endeavors. The council meets weekly to discuss projects and engage in collaborative art-making, films, and visiting lectures.
Sandra Fernandez, the faculty sponsor of LHASC and assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History, shared that she “had been wanting for some time to help students create a student organization like this.” She began asking students if there would be an interest, and many of her Hispanic students responded positively to the idea. About 20 students arrived for the first meeting and the student group was formed!
Ray Delgadillo, LHASC president, talked about how important the student organization is to him personally and to the college, “Over the time I have been at the College of Fine Arts, meeting people of my background has been very difficult. When my former professor Sandra C. Fernandez approached me about helping create LHASC, I was instantly in. Rather than just being another arts organization, LHASC evolved into a family that facilitates collaboration, friendship, and feedback among its members.” Ray is looking forward to seeing the membership continue to grow. He acknowledged that starting a new organization can be challenging, but that “we are finally at a place where we feel we have accomplished something big.” LHASC recently released their zine “The Silent H” at the last VAC opening to great feedback and Ray encouraged students to submit their work by emailing email@example.com.
The LHASC officers are (from left to right):
Priscilla DeLatorre (Vice President), Ray Delgadillo (President), Sandra C Fernandez (Faculty Sponsor), and Erick Silva (Secretary)
Presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance, UT’s award winning ensemble Dance Repertory Theatre takes flight with Roots and Wings. The showcase presents exciting new dance works and re-staged masterpieces by nationally and internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty.
The Uncommitted by Paul Taylor
Solemn Opus: The Journey of Lost and Found by David Justin
3D [Embodied] by Yacov Sharir
Turning It by Charles O. Anderson and David Justin
Apr. 19, 20 at 8pm
Apr. 20, 21 at 2pm
Dance Decoded, a special pre-performance discussion, will be held on Friday, April 19 in conjunction with the Department of Theatre and Dance’s production Roots and Wings. Guest speakers include Roots and Wings artistic directors David Justin and Charles O. Anderson who will share their insight on the evening’s performance. Dance Decoded begins at 7:30 p.m. in the B. Iden Payne Theatre.
The Center for Arts of Africa and its Diasporas (CAAD) invited internationally renowned artist and writer Coco Fusco to UT Austin in conversation with Dr. George Flaherty, Associate Director of the Center for Latin America Visual Studies (CLAVIS) on April 11. The talk was free and open to the public.
Fusco’s multi-media work explores and challenges cultural issues of race, gender and socio-political inequality. From a closed-circuit television series, a performance based on military courses in prisoner interrogation, and online video-streaming, Fusco’s work combines artistic practice with political commentary and social media. Her work has been exhibited at two Whitney Biennials, and recently at Tate Liverpool and Centre d’Art Contemporain La Synagogue de Delme in France. Fusco is also the author of A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (Seven Stories Press) and editor of several books. She is also Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Parsons, The New School for Design.
The Department of Theatre and Dance’s Performance as Public Practice Program will be hosting two exciting events this week!
Performance as Public Practice presents: Dr. Katrin Sieg on Wednesday, April 3, 3:30–4:45 PM, WINSHIP 1.148
Dr. Sieg will present an informal talk followed by a discussion. Dr. Sieg is Associate Professor of German at Georgetown. Prior to her appointment at Georgetown, Professor Sieg was a faculty member of the Department of Germanic Studies at Indiana University. She holds a Ph.D. in Drama from the University of Washington, Seattle. She has received several awards and grants, among them a Humboldt Fellowship, which she used to pursue research in Berlin during the 2001-2002 academic year, and a Senior Faculty Research Award (Fall 2008), which allowed her to complete her most recent book. Professor Sieg is the author of three books on twentieth-century German theater and performance, which focus on the politics of nationality, race/ethnicity, and gender/sexuality. Her recent research looks at the documentary work performed at an immigrant theater in Berlin. Since 2009, she has been a member of an international, interdisciplinary research group examining the Eurovision Song Contest as a site where the “New Europe” is imagined and performed, and becomes available for identification and refashioning.
Performance as Public Practice presents: Drag Performance Artist Paul Soileau & Documentary Filmmaker PJ Raval on Friday April 5, 2:00–3:30 PM, WINSHIP 2.112
UT’s Performance as Public Practice Program is delighted to present performance artist Paul Soileau— best known as Rebecca Havemeyer, Austin’s favorite drag queen, and the edgy and raw Christeene Vale— as well as award-winning cinematographer and documentary filmmaker PJ Raval (assistant professor, RTF). Soileau and Raval will discuss both personas, as well as their collaboration on music videos and a documentary about Christeene. Free and open to the public. Mature content.
The Cohen New Works Festival presented by the University Co-op, is a week-long showcase of new works created by UT Austin students. Held every other Spring, the festival is the largest of its kind and includes all mediums of student-generated new works. The festival is run and organized by a committee of graduate and undergraduate students, with the support of faculty co-producers. With over 180 events and 40 projects, the festival runs from March 25-29.
For more information about the festival and the 2013 schedule, see The Cohen New Works Festival!
A few project examples from the festival include:
Project Lead: Yao Chen
“Eye Contact” is a performance-based installation expressing the Westernization process of Chinese-American Women in the past 100 years. The installation will include: one scroll, two dolls and Yao Chen.
Eye of the Beholder aka The Beauty Play
Project Lead: Paige Brown and Sarah A. Marcum
“The Beauty Play” looks at how a monolithic ideal of beauty impacts the day-to-day life of people within the U.S. from various races and cultures. Using direct quotes and memories from personally conducted interviews, the play asks the audience to question their own definitions of beauty.
Good Girl/Bad Girl
Project Lead: Kaitlyn Aylward
“Good Girl/Bad Girl” investigates how culture, community, race, religion, age and language influence definitions of appropriate and inappropriate dress. Communities addressed are New Mexican women, Mexican women, Native American women, women who participate in sororities, and women who work on ranches and/or define themselves as Cowgirls. Research is presented through interviews and photographs.
The Lavender and the Letter
Project Lead: Rebecca Goldstein
Meet LETTER who speaks for SARAH, a student with a disability, at the University of Blah Blah Blah. Follow LETTER and SARAH to engage in a conversation surrounding how the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) Act, 39 years after its creation, still affects many in the world today.
The Women of Juarez
Project Leads: Isaac Gomez and Bianca Sulaica
Before the war on drugs took precedence in our border country of Mexico, Ciudad Juarez had a bigger problem. Told through an ensemble of Latina women, The Women of Juarez explores the ways in which the stories of the women of Juarez – the missing and the lost; the murdered and the ones left behind – are honored and told in unconventional and untraditional ways.
The Way You Move Your Body
Project Lead: Lucy Kerr
This dance/theatre piece exposes and dissolves disability prejudices. Abled and disabled dancers guide the audience from the world of outcasts to a world where difference is celebrated. It is an unsettling but eye-opening journey, leaving the audience cringing, laughing, crying, smiling, and questioning the way we conventionally perceive differently-abled people.
Intercultural Performance: Emerging Artists from UT and Chung Ang University
Project Lead: Yvonne Ferrufino
During the 2013 Spring Break vacation, artists from UT and Chung Ang University will create a new work in Seoul, Korea. This lecture presentation will reveal the final dance theater piece of an intercultural collaboration between performing artists that explores the relationships between civilian Korean women and military men.
Times Two: A Public Display of Love and Desire
Project Lead: Joey Gaona
“Times Two” is a collaborative dance piece that portrays the universal concepts of love and desire through male/male partnering. Along with an original score and spoken personal recollections, this piece will present dance and the arts as integral partners in civic dialogue.
Project Lead: Rachel Gilbert
Ish is an auto-biographical solo performance exploring the story of how a young Jewish woman defined her own sense of identity through trauma and history. Ish explores the conscious and subconscious influence of identities we inherit but don’t always know what to do with.
In our continuing series of question and answer sessions with Fine Arts Diversity Committee members, John Yancey recently shared his insights on the diversity planning process in the college. John, a professor of art and art history, also serves as the chair of the Fine Arts Diversity Committee.
What is the most beneficial part of the diversity planning process for the college and for you personally as the chair of the committee?
In my opinion, the most beneficial part of the diversity planning process for the college is the opening up of pathways, conduits, and opportunities for dialogue and discourse on issues related to systems, structures, behaviors, beliefs, and practices related to issues of difference and the “other”, and an opportunity for all members of the College of Fine Arts to share experiences and perceptions related to equity and inequity, privilege and prejudice, as well as inclusion, exclusion, and marginalization based on race, gender, gender identity and expression, ability/disability, religion, ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic status and even veteran status. For me personally, this process has provided an invaluable opportunity to hear frank and diverse views and opinions on very real and difficult issues and to participate in a plan to prioritize and proactively address problems that are typically denied, ignored, or pushed off to the margins. It is a chance to be a part of something powerful, positive, significant, and sorely needed.
In what ways do diverse experiences, people, and ideas enrich the college?
Diverse experiences, people, and ideas enrich the college in a wide variety of ways. Many speak of the increasingly important role that globalization plays in our need to embrace diversity. While I certainly agree that this is true, I often speak of benefits that are perhaps less pragmatic but no less urgent and important in my opinion. I believe an environment and climate that truly and wholly embraces inclusion and equity in the areas of access, opportunity, and belonging are necessary to complete us as human beings. We can never truly understand ourselves until we understand those who are different in some way from us. Without an environment actively and vibrantly alive with diverse people and ideas, what we can teach and what we can learn is dramatically limited. Unless and until we learn to fully respect others who have differences from ourselves, we will always only be a small fraction of what we can and should be, and we will always only be able to contribute a small fraction of what we are actually capable of contributing to the world around us. Diversity in all its dimensions strengthens us; it completes us. It allows us to be better people, better teachers, better students, and to pass a better world on to our children and all those who come after us. It is our collective responsibility and duty to work toward this goal.
What do you envision/hope the college will look like after this process is complete?
When this process is complete, I envision the implementation of a number of strategic diversity initiatives that will improve everything from climate and discourse to recruitment and curriculum in the College of Fine Arts. I hope for a culture of deeper understanding and respect for our diversity and differences throughout the College characterized by a greater awareness, vigilance, and stewardship with regard to our collective responsibility to teach, learn, and live at the highest level with all dimensions of our diversity thriving at the core, not on the margins, of our shared scholarly and pedagogical mission, activities, and identity.
John, thank you for leading the Fine Arts Diversity Committee and for sharing your insight into the diversity planning process!
The Center for the Art of Africa and Its Diasporas (CAAD) will present an artist talk with printmaker Allan Edmunds on Friday, March 22 from noon-1:30 pm in the ISESE Gallery, Jester Center (JES A230). Edmunds founded Brandywine Print Workshop, which produces lithographs from local, national, and international artists to generate dialogues about the relationship between art and social engagement. The talk is free and open to the public.
For more information, see Artist Talk.
Calling all College of Fine Arts Students, Faculty and Staff:
Last spring, you were invited to participate in a college-wide survey about your perceptions of climate and diversity within the college and about interaction among students, faculty, and staff. Recently, the survey results were shared with the college.
We are interested in hearing more about your perspectives, experiences and opinions on diversity and equity in COFA. The Fine Arts Diversity Committee is conducting focus groups in the college from February 18-28 to learn what you think about these topics. Our hope is to create a space for open dialogue where participants can share their perspectives and insight.
Sign up today to attend a focus group by clicking here.
Please consider this opportunity to engage with your peers and contribute to the future of diversity work in COFA. The insights gained during the focus groups will be used to directly inform the college’s inaugural Diversity Plan and subsequent activities. Food and refreshments will be provided to stimulate your thinking.
If you have questions or can’t attend a scheduled focus group but still want to contribute your thoughts, please contact the Fine Arts Diversity Committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The results of the Fine Arts Diversity Committee climate assessment conducted in spring 2012 are now available online, in an executive summary and a full report. The survey, completed by 702 students, faculty and staff (26% of the college overall), asked about perceptions of diversity, climate, intergroup relations and discrimination within COFA and UT-Austin.
Overall, survey respondents indicated that the college promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment and that diversity is integrated to varying degrees in the curricular, performative, scholarly and social aspects of the college. Still, those taking the survey indicated a greater need for sensitivity and inclusion of diversity in the COFA experience and there was less satisfaction with particular aspects of the environment noted by those identifying with underrepresented groups within the college.
Some examples of the assessment’s findings include:
- 86% of survey respondents agreed that skills related to diversity are needed for the professional success of COFA graduates.
- Two-thirds of survey takers felt comfortable discussing diversity in the classroom or workplace.
- 60% of respondents said that the curriculum prepares students for careers that recognize the needs of diverse populations. People of color and those who identified as low-income, lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer were more likely than their peers to disagree.
- 61% of survey respondents felt that diversity is adequately reflected in COFA’s productions, performances, exhibitions and events.
- People of color, women and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer were more likely than their counterparts to say they had experienced or witnessed discrimination on campus.
- Respondents indicated that students, faculty and staff interacted most positively across three types of diversity — sexual orientation, national origin and disability — and slightly less positively across differences of socioeconomic status, religion, race/ethnicity and gender.
During the spring semester and beyond, the Fine Arts Diversity Committee will use the data collected in the climate assessment, along with data from other college and university surveys and upcoming focus groups and stakeholder interviews in the college, to set goals and objectives for COFA’s inaugural Diversity Plan. The committee will continue to seek the input and expertise of all members of the college community.
This data will directly inform future efforts to positively influence and promote diversity within COFA. The committee is appreciative of all who completed the climate assessment in the spring and would like to hear from any COFA student, faculty or staff member who want to learn more about the committee’s efforts or contribute perspectives and ideas about its work. You may contact the committee by emailing email@example.com.