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Impact x2 Qais

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How can we work together to promote better cultural understanding worldwide?

Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Arts Now

Arts Now: A Mission Statement

By Bill Marx and Tony Wallace

Arts Now is a select series of writing seminars jointly supported by the College of Arts & Sciences and the BU Arts Initiative. Arts Now emphasizes the impact of experiencing art in a way that establishes a strong connection to the present time and place. “Now” courses have a sense of immediacy, spontaneity, and contemporary relevance―enhanced by the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and the Arts Now webpage.

Arts Now instructors Bill Marx and Tony Wallace

Arts Now instructors Bill Marx and Tony Wallace, holding their 2013 CAS awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

Outside-the-classroom activities and events advance the goals of the writing seminar and the BU Arts Initiative by directly engaging students in the arts on campus and in the Boston region. Activities and events encourage students to interact in a meaningful way with faculty and with one another while establishing enriching points of contact within the greater Boston area. Students begin to see themselves as members of a learning community that extends beyond the boundaries of the individual classroom to encompass the Boston area, other students, faculty, and institutions. In “Now” courses, students and faculty together explore culturally and artistically enriching points of interest in the greater Boston area; such exploration provides additional motivation as well as material for the writing assignments at the heart of all WR courses. “Now” courses emphasize interaction with students outside the classroom in a way that is more academically substantive than simply taking them on a “field trip.  Most recently, we’ve become interested in extending the boundaries of the “Now” experience by publishing our students’ writing outside of the classroom.

This semester, with joint funding from Dean Sapiro’s office and the BU Arts Initiative, we are offering three “Arts Now” seminars within the Writing Program: The Theater Now, Boston Jazz Now, and Poetry Now.  Future seminars might include Boston’s Museums Now, Dance Now, and Boston Writing Now.

Currently scheduled Arts Now writing seminars AY 2013-2014

WR100/WR150: The Theater Now

               Theater Now Instructor Ted Kehoe

Theater Now Instructor Ted Kehoe

This seminar will investigate different approaches to the performance and interpretation of three plays scheduled to be produced in the Boston area during the semester.  We will attend performances of the plays; read and discuss the plays and related secondary readings; and meet for panel and large-group discussions with Boston area playwrights, directors, and performers.  In order to expand the conversation about various approaches to performance and interpretation, we will also view film versions of the plays when they are available.

Instructors: Carrie Bennett, Sarah Campbell, Ted Kehoe, Bill Marx, and Tony Wallace.

WR100ESL: Boston Jazz Now

Jazz Now Instructor Thomas Oller

Boston Jazz Now Instructor Thomas Oller

This seminar will examine Boston as a leading center for jazz in the US.  We will study the evolution of jazz as a musical artform, focusing on the development of jazz in Boston with special attention to different schools and the clubs both past and present.  Because each of the three major essays is based on a live performance, we will attend these concerts as a class.  Readings for the course will come from a variety of genres including biography, reviews, historical accounts, and scholarly articles.

Instructor: Thomas Oller

WR100X/WR150X: Poetry Now

Poetry Now Instructor Jessica Bozek

Poetry Now Instructor Jessica Bozek

This seminar invites students to be contributors to a single issue of Poetry Now, an online journal that will include students’ own poems, critical writing about poetry, and written responses based on classroom discussion with and public readings by contemporary poets who live and work in the greater Boston area.  We will read early books by a number of North American poets, as well as essays by and about these writers, in order to appraise the varied ways in which poetry engages with the world.  Using creative writing to explore the thematic, linguistic, and formal intentions of published poets, students will experiment with—and ultimately publish—their own poetry and argumentative prose.

Instructor: Jessica Bozek

New Arts Now Seminar for Spring 2014

WR100X/WR150X: Museums Now

The course focuses on the value of museums to civic life in Boston and the importance of international research and archaeological inquiry for launching exhibitions. Students explore the 19th century’s legacies of collecting and excavation through the lens of 21st century renovations and new installations at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Readings include academic essays and policies which will serve to ground our discussions in conversations happening now — in Boston and beyond.

Christina Luke

Museums Now Instructor Christina Luke

Students will be expected to visit both institutions to assess permanent and traveling exhibitions; they are also expected to participate in one or more of the events offered to the public. In addition, the class will explore how the expanding sphere of digital humanities enhances the civic participation of Boston’s museums locally and globally. For their final project students are asked to contextualize the place of Boston’s museums as participants in city-wide and global arts initiatives.

Instructor: Christina Luke





Go here for more on Theater Now and other Now courses