About this Project

In 2010-11, Director of the Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities and Professor of Chemistry, and the Herbert L. and Pauline Wentz Andrews Chair in Biomedical Humanities Colleen Fried had just returned from a conference where she learned about a project involving medical students and theatre and creating a performance piece based around their thoughts and ideas about cadavers.  She explained the project to me and I relayed my thoughts of a possible project idea I had been throwing around, involving focusing on a specific disease or disorder and creating performance pieces around those topics.

And so, “An Exploration of Diseases and Disorders by Performance” was born.  This project is providing Cara, Amy, Allison and I the opportunity to create and present a performance that will hopefully enhance our skills as artists and provide the community a fulfilling and educational opportunity to learn about a prevalent medical topic of the age.

For our first year pilot during the 2011-12 academic year, the theme is autism. In the fall, Cara, Amy, and Allison engaged the topic of autism through the exploration of literature and scientific papers, discussions with medical providers and families who care for people with autism, and through personal interaction with people who have autism.  This research provided them with a comprehensive overview of autism and the experiences of people who live with it on a daily basis.

After the interview process, the students worked with me, the material they collected, and each other to create a performance piece that captured the issues surrounding autism and engaged the audiences (predominantly high school and college students) with the topic.  In the spring, we traveled to area venues, performing the created piece, and hosting discussion sessions to provide additional information about the disorder to those audiences.

In particular, this project will educate high school and college students and the broader public about the chosen theme.  The hope is to educate those who come to the performances about the power of the arts to illustrate the dynamic between those living with the disease and those providing their care, about the lives of those who may be quite different from themselves, and about the role of the arts in the ongoing conversation of health care in this country.

– Brittany Jackson ’04, Assistant Director, Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities

1 Comment   -   About this Project . .

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