The Distance of Education

dark book cover with the title of the book inwhite writing and a bright pink and orange streak running across the bottom of the image

I contribute Chapter 10 in Futures of Performance: The Responsibility of Performing Arts in Higher Education, edited by Karen Schupp.

The 2020/21 COVID-19 pandemic wrenched arts education onto the Zoom screen, but after my 12 years of teaching online with performance arts students, I suggest the online learning space offers more than just temporary replacements for in-person classes. In this chapter, I use the distance-education course I wrote/co-wrote and directed/co-directed for 12.5 years as a case study. The strangeness of “teaching” performance artists through an online course was often at odds with the main body of the university. However, the use of online mediums to educate was not to replace the physicality of being together familiar to a traditional construction of university. Rather it allowed students to practice arts around the world in early career settings, such as apprenticeships in touring companies. The courses utilized the Internet and distance education to create a performing arts pedagogical framing drawing on network theory and connectivism. I conclude the chapter by suggesting the embodied, creative knowledges of the performing arts have much to offer general pedagogical responses to the digital world of the 21st century.

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Futures of Performance edited by Karen Schupp, inspires both current and future artists/academics to reflect on their roles and responsibilities in igniting future-forward thinking and practices for the performing arts in higher education.

The book presents a breadth of new perspectives from the disciplines of music, dance, theatre, and mediated performance and from a range of institutional contexts. Chapters from teachers across various contexts of higher education are organized according to the three main areas of responsibilities of performing arts education: to academia, to society, and to the field as a whole. With the intention of illuminating the intricacy of how performing arts are situated and function in higher education, the book addresses key questions including: How are the performing arts valued in higher education? How are programs addressing equity? What responsibilities do performing arts programs have to stakeholders inside and outside of the academy? What are programs’ ethical obligations to students and how are those met? Futures of Performance examines these questions and offers models that can give us some of the potential answers.

This is a crucial and timely resource for anyone in a decision-making position within the university performing arts sector, from administrators, to educators, to those in leadership positions.

Table of Contents

Section 1: Responsibilities to Academia

Introduction – Karen Schupp

Performance Across the Disciplines: Envisioning Transdisciplinary Performance Pedagogies in Postsecondary Education – Jesse Katen

Ethics, Standards, Evaluation, and Support of Creative Research in Academia – Ali Duffy, Isabella Gonzales, and Destanie Davidson Preston

Ugly Feelings and Social Justice: Interrupting Inaction in Times of Perpetual Crisis – Lauren Kapalka Richerme

Hosting Co(n)fusion: Art Residencies as Invitation-Practices – Janaína Moraes

Decolonizing Tertiary Dance Education Through Including Student Voices in a Curricula Change Project – Camilla Reppen, Lovisa Lundgren, and Tone Pernille Østern

The Creative Spaces at HBCUs – Avis HatcherPuzzo, Soni Martin, Denise Murchison Payton, and Amanda Virelles

Call of the Butterfly: The Tao of Genuine Generosity – Robert Farid Karimi


Section 2: Responsibilities to the Fields

Introduction – Karen Schupp

The Distance of Education – Adesola Akinleye

Performing Hartford: A Community Turns its Head – Rebecca K. Pappas

Integrating Disciplines–Disciplining Integration: Opera Curriculum through a Transdisciplinary Counter-Critical Pedagogy – Kevin Skelton

Sustainable Futures in Performance Practice, Production, and Distribution Ecologies – Max Zara Bernstein

Fighting for Equity With(in) Parasitical Resistance – Jessica Rajko

A Tertiary Music Performance Education Through a Lens of Entrepreneurship – Deanna Swoboda

“Undervalued, Underpaid, Underappreciated”: The Lived Experiences of Adjunct Faculty in the Performing Arts. – Karen Schupp, Artemis Preeshl, and Joya Scott


Section 3: Responsibilities to Society

Introduction – Karen Schupp

Performing Arts Education for Democracies: Are We Cultivating Citizens or Docile Laborers? – Robin Raven Prichard

Revitalizing the US Baccalaureate Dance Major: Integrating Values of Diversity and Interdisciplinarity – Sherrie Barr and Wendy Oliver

Interrogating the Academy’s Role in the Journey from Art Music to Heart Music – Fiona Evison

Toward a Pedagogy of Care: Well-being, Grief, and Community-based Theatre’s Role in Higher Education – Rivka Eckert

Arts Education in Community Colleges: A Critical Connection – Amy C. Parks

Pedagogies of Critical Embodiment: Activating Submerged Histories, Moving Toward Anti-Racist Futures – Dasha A. Chapman

The Performing Arts in the Next America: Preparing Students for Their Future – Peter Witte