Atelier Courses


Darkness and Light: Writing, Lighting, Blackness and Whiteness

ATL 494 / THR 494 · Spring 2021

C01 · Fridays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins · Jane Cox

How do you connect your verbal and your visual brain? This course will be a series of provocations to making art. Black playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and White lighting designer Jane Cox will lead the group in connected investigations in writing and lighting as well as intertwined historic and aesthetic notions of Whiteness and Blackness. We will focus our imagination on theatrical and poetic connotations of dark and light as well as the production and philosophies of light. Classes will consist of discussions and creative exercises, and we will work towards a showing of creative projects at the end of the semester.

Art and Change in the Panopticon

ATL 495 / THR 495 · Spring 2021

C01 · Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Christine Jones · Gabriel Kahane

How might our obsession with convenience constrict our humanity? Is it possible to critique and dismantle systems of oppression from within? How do we reconcile the artist's need to enter into the experience of the Other with the need to be aware of structural inequities and the asymmetrical distribution of power? Join Christine Jones and Gabriel Kahane for a semester-long exploration of how we may aspire to change the world through art-making in a moment widely described as dystopian.

How to Write a Song

ATL 496 / CWR 496 · Spring 2021

S01 · Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM

Instructors: Bridget Kearney · Paul Muldoon

Taught by Bridget Kearney (Lake Street Dive) and Paul Muldoon (Rogue Oliphant) with class visits from guest singer/songwriters and music critics, this course is an introduction to the art of writing words for music, an art at the core of our literary tradition from the Beowulf poet through Lord Byron and Bessie Smith to Bob Dylan and the Notorious B.I.G. Composers, writers and performers will have the opportunity to work in small songwriting teams to respond to such emotionally charged themes as Gratitude, Loss, Protest, Desire, Joyousness, Remorse, and Defiance.

Visualizing the Battle Cry

ATL 497 / AAS 497 / VIS 497 · Spring 2021

C01 · Fridays, 7:30-10:20 PM

Instructors: Imani Perry · Mario Moore

Inspired by the experience of Black Civil War soldiers, the visual aesthetics of 19th century posters, and contemporary hip-hop, the award-winning writer and historian Imani Perry and the visual artist Mario Moore will collaborate on a groundbreaking new project. Using hip-hop to reimagine the soundscape of battle in the mid-1800s, Moore and Perry will negotiate both the historical record and the idea of what might have been. Students will work alongside Moore and Perry in drawing on language, visual prints and audio to make connections between the 19th century and our own revolutionary moment.