Over the past decade, the Barnard curriculum has expanded its global influence by increasing opportunities for faculty and students to gain educational, work, and volunteer experience. The innovative programming takes students abroad in the context of a course, a major, or a research project. Recent programs sent students to Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden to take in architecture with Professor Karen Fairbanks, and to Lausanne, Switzerland where the Barnard-Columbia Chorus performed under the leadership of Professor Gail Archer. Today, Barnard’s global footprint reaches to more than 65 countries.
This summer, six professors led students to five countries to explore dance, gender studies, language, metacognition, and theatre. Programs ranged from one to four weeks and took place in Austria, Barbados, France, The Netherlands, and South Korea.
A WALTZ OF DIFFERENT VOICES
Prof. Irene Motyl-Mudretzkyj, Vienna, Austria (May 12-19)
The Barnard German Department awarded $1,000 scholarships to four students for a one-week program in Austria called Vienna Stories: Filming Identities and Voices. Led by Senior Associate in German Irene Motyl-Mudretzkyj, students used their German-language, film, and digital skills to gather ethnographic material to produce a short German-language documentary on identity, the notion of homeland, and stereotypes.
Students interacted with native Austrians as well as the city’s recent immigrant population, conducted and filmed interviews, and worked on a field study project on Viennese coffee houses. The capstone program’s innovative approach—using technology for foreign language and cultural learning—served as a pilot for a Advanced German language course, which will be offered in the spring semester of 2018, in which students will produce a documentary film in German. This course will fulfill the Foundations curriculum’s “modes of thinking” requirement in the category of “Thinking Technologically and Digitally” and will contain a study abroad component. Watch a short video of “Vienna Stories 2017.”
A FRENCH TWIST
Prof. Laurie Postlewate, Paris, France (May 22-June 8)
Senior Lecturer in French Laurie Postlewate hosted students from Barnard and Columbia and universities in Canada, England, and France on a three-week workshop in Paris where they attended five theatre events and translated plays from French to English. Students discussed translation theory applied to theatre and shared their work with one another. This program was sponsored by the Geen Family Foundation.
“This pilot experience was significant in that it allowed us to expand the robust program in translation studies and practice to include theatre in both text and performance modes and to sponsor collaboration with students coming from different countries with somewhat distinct translation cultures,” says Postlewate.
PLIÉS IN PARIS
Prof. Colleen Thomas-Young, Paris, France (June 1-30)
Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Dance Colleen Thomas-Young traveled with students to Paris, for the seventh year, with the “Barnard Dance in Paris” program. Students participated in morning dance technique classes and workshops, with international artist Anna Chirescu and others, and attended more than a dozen dance performances. Among this year's highlights were The Paris Opera, the Batsheva Dance Company, Crystal Pite, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and companies from Algeria, Lebanon, and Syria. Following a choreography course, students created solo dances based on a personalized walk through Paris.
“We also got a private master class with the Hofesh Shechter Company after seeing their extraordinary performance of Grand Finale,” adds Thomas-Young. “I couldn't be more proud of this life changing experience for our students.”
BCRW Assoc. Dir. Tami Navarro, Wanstead, Barbados (July 8-16)
Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) Associate Director Tami Navarro hosted three students to Barbados for the weeklong Transnational Feminisms seminar. They participated in the biennial Caribbean Institute for Development (CIGAD) to engage in Caribbean feminist thought and practice. The Transnational Feminisms Initiative draws upon BCRW’s longstanding practice of joining scholarship and activism to connect the work of Barnard faculty and students with feminist scholars and activists around the world.
“The Institute for Gender and Development Studies is an important space of critical feminist work in the Caribbean and it is important that Barnard students had the opportunity to learn from top scholars in the region and be in the classroom with a diverse group of seminar participants from the Caribbean,” says Navarro. Students attended classes, hosted guest lecturers, and engaged in the cultural life of the island-nation.
THE SEOUL OF CROSS-CULTURAL LEARNING
Prof. Lisa Son, Seoul, South Korea (July 1-31)
For four weeks in Seoul, South Korea, Associate Professor of Psychology Lisa Son collaborated with psychology student Abby Feinberg ’18 to conduct research on cross-cultural metacognitive processes by looking at the different ways individuals learn across American and East Asian cultures. Under Son’s advisement, and while in Seoul, Feinberg collected data among her peers for a survey study to examine how levels of confidence influence our decisions academically. This fall, they will conduct a survey study with Barnard students for a comparison and present the data in November at the annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society.
In addition to the research, Korea University, where Son is an affiliate professor, provided Feinberg with a full scholarship to attend classes at the university’s International Summer Program, including a course in Introductory Korean. “It’s wonderful for students to have opportunities to experience different social and cultural groups. And, at the same time, having a Barnard student there with in the data collection is incredibly helpful and important” says Son. “As a Korean-American, I also value the relationships I have with my students, and part of that is to get to know my students personally, while showing them my own background. Being able to collaborate, while in a different culture, makes the whole process incredibly enjoyable.”
Prof. Alice Reagan, Groningen, The Netherlands (August 17-21)
Alice Reagan, Associate Professor of Professional Practice, traveled with senior theatre majors to the internationally acclaimed Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival in Groningen, The Netherlands. Celebrating its 26th year, the Noorderzon Festival showcases live performance works from around the world, with an emphasis on experimental and devised work. Barnard students saw work from Belgium, Burkina Faso, France, Mexico, the UK, South Africa, and Syria.
"The Noorderzon Festival is an excellent way for Barnard students to get a taste of performance work that is being made around the world, all in one place over a period of a few days,” says Reagan. “Noorderzon presents cutting-edge work but is also a relaxed environment where it was easy to connect with artists. The four students on this trip will be presenting their theses in performance this coming year in acting, directing, and lighting design. Seeing a wide variety of work jump-started their thinking about their own upcoming projects."
Photo: Dancers from the Barnard Dance in Paris program get creative in the Gardens of Versailles.