Inter-Play Arts Award encourages cross college collaboration

After a year of what felt like isolation to many people, what better way to start the 2021-2022 academic year than with an announcement of a new award encouraging collaboration within the College of Communication and Fine Arts. The Inter-Play Arts Award is an innovation contest hosted by the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, Department of Theater & Dance, and Department of Art which will award up to $1,000 to each winner.

The contest is meant to encourage students and faculty to seek creative collaboration between the different disciplines, and “look to new forms of expression to help artists discover their personal voice.” Some of the objectives of the award include cultivating and recognizing creativity, and also exploring personal life skills including communication, community engagement, relationship building, financial awareness, and event management. The skills learned while working on this project will be helpful to the artist in many aspects of their career.

When asked what inspired the idea for this award, Dr. Kevin Sanders, Director of the School of Music, said, “We are laying down a foundation that will allow us to build a culture within the University of Memphis where the different disciplines know each other and work together, even beyond the confines of this award.”

Students and faculty who are interested in learning more about this award and potentially collaborating with fellow applicants can attend the interest meeting, which will be held September 21st, hosted by the Department of Theater & Dance. This event will give attendees a chance to not only learn more about the award but to connect with other colleagues from other disciplines to discuss projects.

Jacob Allen, Chair, Department of Theater & Dance said, ”I’m very excited to get everyone in a space to discuss the possibilities of what might happen with these collaborations.”

After students and faculty have had the chance to begin the collaboration process they will have access to consultation about project design and the application process. Project Proposals are due November 19th. Keeping in theme with the goal of encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, each project “must be collaborative and represent areas from the School of Music, Department of Theater & Dance, and Department of Art.”

Once project proposals are submitted, a panel of judges , with representatives from each department, will select the winners and announce them December 3rd. Once the winners have been selected, they will be able to participate in a collaboration workshop where they will finalize plans, complete the project, and document it through multimedia.

Richard Lou, Chair, Department of Art, will be heading the collaboration workshop. Lou has worked collaboratively with many great artists and communities, but one of his more well-known collaborations was with the Board Of Art Workshop, which was an interdisciplinary group that focused on civil rights and immigration issues on the border of Mexico and the U.S. “From time to time people invite me to give collaborative workshops, empowering communities and giving them tools on how to expose and elevate their message by sharing resources,” said Lou. It is in the Inter-Play Arts award collaborative workshop that University of Memphis students will get the chance to work with Lou on these aspects of effective collaboration.

The winners will also have the opportunity to present their project/ performance at the School of Music Awards Ceremony on April 27th.

Each department is excited to tap into the wealth of potential that University of Memphis students and faculty bring to the table and can’t wait to see how these collaborations will bring a new wave of creativity and change to the community. For more information, click here.

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