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Grant marks first for Fresh Minds

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07



Students experiment with technology and music in previous PerfTech endeavors.

Art and music are performance mediums often used to convey meaning, but what happens when they are used as research tools rather than features of a music video?

Jeff Morris and Autum Casey, instructional assistant professors of the department of performance studies are researching this question with aid of grant through the Tier One Program.  

The program awarded 11 grants from 34 proposals across several of the university’s academic colleges this year. These grants are expected to affect more than 4,000 students annually.  

The funds awarded to Casey and Morris will be used to create the Fresh Minds Festival in 2013, a collaborative initiative exploring the relationship between performance and technology, or “PerfTech.”  Due to the interdisciplinary nature of their program, Casey and Morris both spend time in the music department and in visual art departments, such as theatre.  

“We’re exploring different ways in which technology influences our everyday lives that is part of an overall department initiative of exploring performance as a form of research, or a tool of research,” Morris said. “Some things we’ve found you can’t learn or you can’t discover until you’ve tried to put them in a performance context.”  

One such performance context is the Fresh Minds Festival, scheduled to host a broad call for fixed media works from professional, audio-visual artists from around the globe. Students in related fields will be able to choose the works they want to include in this night of performance.  

“The great thing about the Fresh Minds Festival is that we’re going to give students a way to enter into inter-media performance and different kinds of music and visual arts,” Casey said.  “We want students’ perspectives.”  

Students’ opportunities to be involved with the program will increase as a result of the program’s new funding. Casey and Morris hope that the “PerfTech” initiative will spur the development of additional courses and, over time, University-wide opportunities to explore the visual and musical arts in tandem.  

“I think the festival sounds cool, I definitely want to go,” said Havana Williams, junior English major.  “I’ve always been interested in music, so learning about music and technology and being a part of choosing artists for the festival could be a neat opportunity.”    

Aside from having students involved in the preliminary stages, Casey and Morris expect to include another interactive element during the Fresh Minds Festival.

“We hope to bring at least one of the artists selected from the student selections to College Station to interface with the students so students can engage with artists from around the world,” Morris said.  “It’s an exciting project.”


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