Mellon grant offers virtual learning for ISP

Tetyana Dzyadevych, Ph.D. is teaching a group ISP called “Songs of Political Protest”
Tetyana Dzyadevych, Ph.D. is teaching a group ISP called “Songs of Political Protest”

Myriad virtual learning experiences are on the menu during New College’s Independent Study Period (ISP) this January, thanks to funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

As part of the “New College and the Cross College Alliance in the Community” program, a series of online seminars—about everything from music and museums to history and politics—will feature renowned faculty scholars and artists. Some are part of more comprehensive Independent Study Projects (ISPs) for New College students, with corresponding lectures that are open to the public.

More opportunities will be available throughout the spring semester with the help of the five-year $750,000 Mellon grant. This initiative supports curricular and research programs that preserve local history, integrate social and racial justice work into artistic practice and teaching, and explore questions of special interest to the community.

Visit ncf.edu/connecting-arts-humanities for exact dates, times and locations, as well as details about a full season of events. For more information about the Mellon initiative or to discuss current projects, contact Stacey Campo, director of community outreach, at scampo@ncf.edu. Some events may require advance registration. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

New Music New College (NMNC) presents “Movement Messages: Digital Dance and Music”

Explore works of electronic sound and dance by New College Dance Instructor and Artist-in-Residence Leymis Bolaños Wilmott and Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Music Mark Dancigers, Ph.D.; original digital dances and music by current New College students; and a major work by Visiting Assistant Professor of Music José Martínez, D.M.A.called 39 Inside.

The fascinating connection between music and dance, and their shared languages of change and motion, is the inspiration for many of these works. Ancient theories of music stress that change itself is the source of motion. When a melody or rhythm changes, music moves. But what about the motion of moving people? Music can be heard to embody this motion as well.

As author Marc Leman discussed in book, The Expressive Moment: How Interaction with Music Shapes Human Empowerment, recent studies show that the movements a musician makes to create a sound can be very accurately tracked by listeners (even when they cannot see the performer). For more information on NMNC, visit newmusicnewcollege.org.

NMNC: Artist Conversation and Concert with Claire Chase

Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator, and advocate for new and experimental music. Join a conversation with her at 5 p.m. Thurs. Jan. 28 (free) and a concert at 8 p.m. Sat. Jan. 30 ($14, or free for subscribers and students at newmusicnewcollege.org/tickets.html). The concert will feature music by Suzanne Farrin, Du Yun, Mario Diaz de Leon and Felipe Lara, among others.

Throughout the past decade, Chase has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. She has championed new music throughout the world by building organizations, forming alliances, pioneering commissioning initiatives and supporting educational programs that reach new audiences.

She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012 and was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 2017. In 2013, Chase launched Density 2036, a 23-year commissioning project to create an entirely new body of repertory for the flute between 2014 and 2036 (the centenary of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking 1936 flute solo, Density 21.5). For more information, visit clairechase.net.

Campus Conversations: “Museums and Exhibitions: Navigating Circus Archives and Extraordinary Bodies” with Miriam Wallace and Jennifer Lemmer Posey

Learn about the experiences New College students have had while exploring the archives at The Ringling museum, which is right next door to the New College campus. The talk will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Jan. 21 via Zoom. Click here to register.

New College Professor of English and Gender Studies Miriam Wallace, Ph.D. teaches English literature with a focus on British fiction and on literary theory. Her scholarly expertise focuses 18th-century and Romantic-era fiction, culture and politics, as well as the work of Virginia Woolf, law and literature, and disability studies. Wallace has a particular interest in feminist and gender theories (and related theoretical fields), and is a founding member of the Gender Studies faculty at New College. Wallace also publishes pieces on teaching and pedagogical issues in various journals—from Feminist Teacher to ThirdSpace to a forthcoming issue on teaching 18th– and 19th-century laboring class writers in the Modern Language Association (MLA) Options for Teaching series.

Jennifer Lemmer Posey is the Tibbals Curator of Circus at The Ringling. With interests in the history and art of circus posters, costumes, and the relationship of the circus arts and popular culture, Posey has contributed to such publications as The American Circus (2012), The Amazing American Circus Poster (2011) and The Many Worlds of Circus (2007). Her writings on circus topics have also been published in such journals as Early Popular Visual Culture (Routledge), Bandwagon, and the international magazine Planet Circus. From 2013 to 2017, she served as the editor for Bandwagon, the journal of the Circus Historical Society. In 2014, she co-taught the course “Topics in Circus” at New College. Most recently, Posey served as an advisory scholar for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2017, which celebrated the circus arts.

“Patà: An Experiential ISP on Afro-Caribbean Drumming” with Hugo Viera-Vargas and Jose Martinez

Explore the art of Afro-Caribbean drumming with two New College professors, and attend workshops hosted by two outside artists.

Hugo R. Viera-Vargas, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Caribbean and Latin American studies at New College, as well as a cultural historian who researches the intersection of race and musical expressions in Puerto Rican and Caribbean societies. Jose Martínez, D.M.A. is a visiting assistant professor of music at New College, a composer, a sound sculptor and a percussionist. He incorporates a wide range of influences into his works—from Colombian folk tunes to contemporary composition techniques—while borrowing from Latin music, heavy metal and audio-sampling techniques. 

Viera-Vargas and Martinez invite ISP participants to take two accompanying workshops. The first is “Puerto Rican Bomba: History and Community Through Cultural Engagement” with Pablo Luis Rivera, Ph.D. from 10 to 11 a.m. Tues. Jan. 5 (link here). Rivera is the founder of Restauración Cultural (a not-for-profit organization that highlights Afro-Puerto Rican culture through presentations, workshops, cultural exchanges and educational resources).

Mauricio Nieto Lugo will be hosting a workshop called “Afro-Colombian Music: Currulao” from 10 to 11 a.m. Fri. Jan. 8 (link here). Lugo is a music educator from Cali, Colombia. His workshop will expose participants to the history, social context, and elementary playing technique of the Afro-Colombian Currulao.

“Songs of Free Belarus”: Part of the Group ISP, “Songs of Political Protest” with Tetyana Dzyadevych

Tetyana Dzyadevych, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor of Russian language and literature at New College, will be hosting “Songs of Free Belarus” at 1 p.m. Wed. Jan. 6 with Belarusian activist/intellectual Nadzeya Norton (link here).

Belarus has held political protests, known also as the “Belarusian Revolution,” since August 2020. Each protest has its own music and songs (which protesters and supporters recently published in two books, edited by Norton). ISP participants will have the opportunity to converse with Norton about the Belarusian Revolution, and the role of music and culture in the movement.

“It is difficult to imagine the protest without posters, leaflets, slogans and songs. Some songs are disappearing with the end of the protest. Some songs receive their own life, and live centuries after the event, like ‘Bella Ciao,’” Dzyadevych said. “Our course aims to look at contemporary protest songs from a global perspective.”

Norton, a social and cultural anthropologist, developed and taught the course “Belarusian History and Culture” at Southwestern College in Kansas while she was a visiting scholar at the Center for Belarusian Studies.


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state's Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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