The Purdue University Northwest performing arts graduate class at the Hammond location puts their main focus this semester on autoethnography – a form of qualitative research in which the creator uses self-reflection to connect to different cultural understandings.
Theresa Carilli, a professor of communication at Purdue University Northwest who received her doctorate in performance studies from Southern Illinois University, said that working with students who have an enormous respect for each other and their craft has been an absolute pleasure.
“My goal is to encourage and promote original thinking so that students create performances that are meaningful and insightful to an audience,” Carilli said.
Christian Lutes, a communication graduate student at Purdue University Northwest Calumet campus, said since joining the class last year, she was able to go beyond her comfort zone. Before the class, she had never performed. She was not alone as about half of the class admitted to never performing as well.
“I think it’s an excellent experience,” Lutes said. “It helps to you shape as a person and a scholar – it gives you an idea of the application of the things you are learning.”
Lutes said that the teaching style of Professor Carilli pushes students without them being fully conscious that it is happening.
Kathryn Furlan, another graduate student of the Communication and Creative Arts department, said the course emphasizes several points such as performing through mundane choices such as choosing where to eat or picking an outfit to wear.
“Another point is learning how to embody our own or someone else’s experiences in order to communicate and relate with the universal whole,” Furlan said.
Donna Rowland, Lutes, Furlan and Tiffany Wenrich all performed at the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender conference on October 13 in Oak Park, Ill. The compilation is titled “Performances of Women’s Mental Health and Wellness” dealt with personal experiences each individual performer had in their life.