Middletown's Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts has received a $200,000 grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters to support the Muslim Women Voices Project during the 2014-2015 season.
APAP, the national service and advocacy organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenting field and the professionals who work within it, has announced that six campus presenting organizations have been awarded grants through the Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement grants program.
Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the Building Bridges program supports U.S. presenters who are building interdisciplinary cross-campus and community collaborations that expand awareness, knowledge and understanding of Muslim cultures through the performing arts."An essential part of Wesleyan’s mission as a residential undergraduate institution is 'to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit,'" said Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University.
"This project will feature extraordinary artists from around the globe and will assist us in building a more inclusive and dynamic campus community while at the same time catalyzing important dialogues within our region."
Wesleyan's Muslim Women Voices Project will present and contextualize a series of performances in theater, music and dance by women from nine different countries over the course of the 2014-2015 season as part of the Creative Campus Initiative of the Center for the Arts.
By experiencing a plurality of Muslim women’s experiences and voices in performances and residency activities, the audience will learn about the complexities that challenge what are often one-dimensional popular depictions of Muslim women, as well as stereotypes about Muslim societies and cultures generally. A series of curricular and co-curricular engagement events will include workshops, lectures, informal talks and meals with the artists.
Select artists will co-create modules in courses in Religion and French Studies, and be integrated into two new courses created to contextualize the project. The project is also designed to build relationships and to engage in dialogue with Muslim-Americans both on campus and in the region to enhance mutual understanding.
A theater artist will be commissioned to guide Wesleyan students and Muslim community members in creating a collaborative theatrical work as part of the Muslim Women Voices Project.
The team will conduct interviews with Muslim women and weave the stories gathered into a fluid structure integrating documentary theater, talk show, cabaret and traditional storytelling. The full roster of artists will be announced in May.
The lessons learned, recorded interviews, short documentaries about each project component, and curriculum will be posted on the Muslim Women Voices Project website as a legacy of the project.
For the Muslim Women Voices Project, the Center for the Arts has partnered with Wesleyan’s Music Department, Dance Department, Religion Department, Psychology Department Culture and Emotion Lab, French Studies, Middle Eastern Studies Certificate Program, South Asia Studies, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Center for Community Partnerships, the Green Street Arts Center, and the Turath House (a student program house), and the Muslim Students' Association.
It has also aligned with community and national partners including the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, the Hartford Seminary, and the Al-Rawiya Foundation.