project specific artist bios :: Meg Davis & Kathy Kelley


Meg Davis, PhD Student, Fine Art Acting/Directing + Arts Administration
Meg.Davis AT ttu.edu

For the purposes of this project, I will contribute my knowledge and skills as playwright, director, and acting coach in addition to the skills and theories I have studied in my interdisciplinary courses, specifically feminist studies. Any practical production experience is an invaluable part of theatrical scholarship, and this specific project will provide experiential context for feminist theatre practices and an opportunity to learn about the process of integrating feminism, a long-time personal scholarly interest, into tangible art. I will be collaborating with Kathy Kelley by developing feminist form in the actresses we work with, piecing together tableaus that elicit feminist utopias or dystopias to demonstrate modern testimonial renderings of interactions with the feminine, with womanhood, and with the embodied feminine self. Additionally, we will work through more practical production issues, such as the orchestration of lighting and sound, casting, rehearsal structures or calendars, rehearsal and performance space coordination, etc.

As an Acting/Directing and Arts Administration student, I hope to use this experience as an education opportunity regarding marketing and space coordination. I hope to gear my dissertation towards a comparison of theatre organizations, specifically those that operate in historically underserved communities. My goal is to accomplish this comparison by serving in internship capacities at one theatre in any underserved community outside the state of Louisiana and compare that with internship experiences at a theatre of similar outreach goals in the greater New Orleans area. Any experience working in an unfamiliar space with a devised process will be of huge benefit to my studies by preparing me for operating with budgetary constraint, complexities of assembling theatrical functions outside of the university setting, multifaceted production service (lighting, marketing, development coordination, directing, actor training, and application of interdisciplinary theory), and interpersonal coordination. Again, there is no substitute for practical experience or for interpersonal and interdisciplinary collaboration in meaning-making, and I would be grateful for the support that would make this collaboration possible.

Kathy Kelley, PhD Student, Fine Art Critical Studies + Artistic Practice
Kathryn.Kelley AT ttu.edu

Embedded in gender-linked study, skimming historically seminal texts on language, gender, politeness and power, plus subsequent studies, I am straddling domains while dipping my toes into linguistics, discursive, psychometrics, socio-psychologic, and feminist ideologies. Needless to say, I have fallen into this pool, lapping with a plethora of theories. I am drowning, but am not that interested in coming up for air.

Late fall 2014, I ran 74 female and 86 male visual artist essays through two separate computer-assisted language analysis programs. I was also introducing myself to gender language theorist, Robin Lakoff and Deborah Tannen. Though I don’t yet know statistics (enrolled for this fall), as an artist I am used to hunting for patterns and anomalies. And in the analysis of the first run of texts, both exist. Compared to the general public normatives, the female artists more generally adhere to Robin Lakoff’s noted male-linked language habits. Yet, compared to the normatives of DICTION7 [drawn from presidents, politicians and journalists for the last 50 years = predominately male] the artists’ gender differences roughly correlate with the male/female disparity introduced by Lakoff. I can easily conclude (with theorists) that gender-linked language is contextual. Gender-linked language is not my primary dissertation direction, yet gender cannot be ignored as a variable.

I am enjoying the heck out of this research immersion. So with my head swimming with gender-linked notions, all I could do was laugh at the female implications of the grant theme—Objects in the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear. I codified my scatological humor with an addendum to the theme—First Encounters with One’s Own Femininity. From there, I envisioned how I might meld my research and need to occasionally dry off standing with both feet on my artistic ground.

The interdisciplinary parameters fit smoothly with yearnings I have had toward combining text, installation and movement. I have collaborated before with visual artists, this would break new ground in the arena of movement and performativity.  Meg Davis from our VPA cohort group, seemed a perfect fit. So we’ve joined to beginning fleshing out the initial vision and moving it toward realization. I am grateful for someone knowledgeable in movement, direction and who has had actual courses in gender theory. We are mutually excited about where this project might lead and how it will inform each of our practices.

Dr. Cortese of the English department is excited to collaborate with us on this project—Cortese will be our literary juror. I have also met with our awesome faculty mentor, Dr. Mariani, for project review and perspective. When I sat down across from her, it was then that I realized I hadn’t considered the aural. Her very presences introduced the potential of a musical gesture.

Along with coordinating with our faculty, I see my role as mutual collaborator with Meg to envision installation, body interventions and gestural components and then taking the lead with fabrication and site specifications.

You may also like

bios of the lead artists + writers + advising faculty

Leave a Reply