The voice is an ancient technology. Movement and change are inevitable. Making meaningful marks and gestures represent intentionality, meaning, identity and story. It is an ancient technology, and exists in conjunction with bodies in space and time.

Questions to consider:

  • How do you make something for a moment that hasn’t happened yet?
  • How can we enliven our capacity or desire to be soothsayers?
  • What are the problems and/or resolutions that arise around our choice of language?
  • How does the way we see and hear words and sounds implicate the way we take up space in and move through the world?
  • What cultural products are revealed or implicated by the arrangement of words and sounds?
  • What if the ultimate goal is to tear apart a system or construction and invite the unknown?
  • Why are bodies and embodiment so critical to healing rituals?
  • What kinds of research methodologies can we create to access the knowledge contained in the body in dialogue with space, time, language and community?

What will we make and how will we make it?

We might make an installation that invites poetry, indignation, movement, a celebration of memory and imagination—a palimpsest of our individual histories. It might act as an evolving archive, responding to the ebb and flow of our desires. We will learn about Sapir-Whorf theory, semiotics, the philosophy of language, and linguistics, enlisting these established research practices to build community, and shatter categories. We will find our own distinct place at the edges and move across multiple modes of inquiry. Catalyzing new understandings of how we inhabit the places we work, play and live through art making and experiential learning.

Who might contribute?

Participants who flourish in fluctuating systems, who recognize the impermanence of materiality. Writers, visual artists, designers, coders, musicians, information scientists, environmental activists and advocates, poets, social workers, gardeners, cooks, community organizers, healers, anthropologists….. and on and on. The process will be determined by the participants input, the ability to formulate questions, and the desire to collaborate with those with different areas of expertise and perspectives.

Students apply to a specific role on team as follows:

Poet, Writer, Editor (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Creative writer, collaborator

Likely Majors/Minors: COMM, ENGLISH, HISTART

Video Artist, Digital Media Explorer, Photographer (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Video creator, content creator, digital editing, coding, archiving


Visual, Costume or Scenic Designer (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Spatial designer, environmental designer, construction


Sonic Designer, Musician (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Interest in making sounds and music from found objects and conventional instruments

Likely Majors/Minors: ARCH, CE, EE, INTPERF, ME, MUSPERF, PAT

Social Scientist (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Interest in researching across social science topics, engaging with the team around larger social and political issues, developing paradigms and strategies for engaging in creative research


Faculty Project Lead

Amy Chavasse, choreographer, performer, educator, improviser, and Artistic Director of ChavasseDance&Performance is currently a Professor at the University of Michigan, a region of Michigan that was originally called Michigami and belongs to the People of Three Fires: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Bodewadmi. Recent projects include the creation of a new duet, Plunder Thunder with Nicole Reehorst and Emily Soong, for the Detroit Dance City Festival, and an ongoing online creation project called How to Stay in a Dream (or) Ratas de dos Patas. Plunder Thunder was chosen to participate in The New Dance Festival in Daejon, South Korea in the summer of 2020. She was invited to participate as a guest artist at 2019Urban Spaces Shanghai Festival from October 3-9, 2019, presenting Plunder Thunder at The Shanghai Tower, teaching at The Shanghai International Dance Center, and The Children’s Palace in Shanghai. Her work has also been presented at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Links Hall, Chicago, The Dance Complex- Boston and other venues. Internationally, she has taught and her work has been presented in Uppsala, Sweden, Cuba, Lithuania, Vienna, Colombia, Vancouver BC, Buenos Aires, the American Dance Festival/ Henan (China) and The Beijing Dance Festival. She premiered Low Winter Light, a duet for Donnell Oakley and Jessica Jolly at The Beijing Dance Festival in 2013. She has taught at Duncan 3.0 in Rome, and at ResExtensa’s Instituto Vittoria in Giovinazzo, Italy, and was a guest teacher at The American Dance Festival’s WFFS series from 2014-2018. She is in an ongoing collaboration for a project called Calling the Goddess with Shanghai based vocalist/ choreographer/ performer, Jay Peng Zhang that premiered in Uppsala, Sweden, followed by performances in Brooklyn NY, and Ann Arbor. Working with Sarah Konner and Austin Selden, she contributed to the creation of an evening length work- Emi, Amy and Mimi, the Celebrated Love Partners and Their Bicycle Emi Nomo. She collaborated with Sarah Konner, Austin Selden and Beth Graczyk in the creation of a companion work to “Emi Nomo” called Manicula is a Revolver. She presented improvisation workshops at the International Society of Improvised Music in Chateaux D’Oex, Switzerland in June 2015, and an alternative movement presentation at The University of Valetta, Malta as part of the Dance Studies Association conference in 2018. She has taught at and collaborated with members of Tanz Tangente in Berlin in 2015 and 2016, worked with members of ResExtensa Danza Teatro Danza in Bari, Italy from 2009-2014. Frequent collaborators include, Sarah Konner, Xan Burley, Alex Springer, Austin Selden, Peter Schmitz, Lisa Gonzalez, Beth Graczyk, Donnell Oakley, Jessica Jolly, Aidan Feldman, Malcolm Tulip and others.

Touring throughout the US in 2015-16 with Sola, Dances by and for Women, she performed a solo Conspiracy Going, Amy Needs A Lot of Empathy, prompted Melanie Wiesen of theTampa Art Breaker to write: “The most polarizing of the six pieces, Amy Chavasse’s (University of Michigan) “Conspiracy Going,” seemed to be a rejection of the easy, digestible portrayal of contemporary dance on television. A mix of spoken word and dance, Chavasse, with no musical accompaniment, performed the intensely personal piece with incredible athleticism and passion. Her verbal commentary on sadism and authority, matched by her powerful and aggressive physicality, was the most provocative piece of art I have seen in the past year.” A new virtual collaboration, Pandemic Travel Across Hemispheres, with Luciana Acuña and Luis Biasotto of Grupo Krapp (Buenos Aires), Nola Smith and Paty Solorzano launched in early 2021 with the working title, How to Stay in a Dream (or) Ratas de los Patas.

Amy lives and performs her politics. Her work questions a broad range of incendiary topics, wrestles with assumptions about performance and representation, seeks to examine barriers and boundaries— both real and imaginary, and traverses pathways and processes that are vivid, brazen and sensuous. She has had the pleasure of collaborating with many ground breaking artists and makers, including“Amy Chavasse is a continual surprise, solo or ensemble. Her dances are simultaneously absurd, smart and disturbing, and she chooses her collaborators well.” (Quinn Batson- OffOffOff).

She danced in the companies of Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians (NYC) and in many independent projects in NYC, Washington DC, San Diego, Seattle and beyond. BFA- University of NC School of the Arts; MFA- University of Washington.

Students: 10


Meeting Details: TBD late afternoons/early evenings

Application: Consider including a link to your portfolio or other websites in the personal statement portion of your application to share work you would like considered as part of your submission.

Summer Opportunity: Summer research fellowships may be available for qualifying students.

Citizenship Requirements: This project is open to all students on campus.

IP/NDA: Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign an Intellectual Property (IP) Agreement prior to participation.

Course Substitutions: CoE Honors