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The Studio Seminar in Visual Studies is a multidisciplinary team-taught course that will help motivated students understand the ways in which images function in the world.  As core offerings of the Institute for Visual Studies, these classes are designed to create conditions for innovation, and to forge a committed learning community in which students and faculty from different disciplines work closely together on significant projects.

To generate this new kind of educational experience, one that is more intense, independent, and collaborative, class size is set at sixteen, with enrollment by permission of the two instructors.

Each studio seminar explores a topical focus determined by the instructors. Two studio seminars are offered each year, one in the fall and one in the spring, in order to create an active learning community that will make full use of the IVS laboratory studio. Semester courses also ensure that selective year-long learning experiences can be offered.



Dave Stringham (Music), Kate Arecchi (Theatre),  Michael Gubser (History)

Tues/ Thurs 2-4PM
IVS, Roop 208

In this course, students will write short musical scenes and songs inspired by images of historical Harrisonburg and the people and historical events connected to these images.  Working in three-person teams consisting of a playwright, a composer, and a historian-dramaturge, students will identify episodes inspired by these images, conduct historical research into these episodes in order to flesh out context and characters; and write musical scenes and songs that dramatize these episodes. 

Employing linear and non-linear storytelling, various songwriting techniques, and historical research methodologies, each team will create projects based on images of historical Harrisonburg and on research conducted about the people and events connected with those images. By the conclusion of the course, the musical scenes and songs written by each team will be woven together to form a musical theatre tapestry of Harrisonburg. For the final presentation, the images that inspired the scenes, along with some of the dramaturgical research will be shared with the audience in order to tie the program together.

Most of the course will be conducted as a workshop in which students work in their creative teams and then present material to the larger group for feedback.  The course may begin with some seminar style discussions and presentations to lay out material, discuss local history, and analyze the structure of musicals.  Additional time outside of class will be require

See the syllabus here.