Art For Amnesty, the creative division of Amnesty International USA, will partner with Eugene Lang College at the New School to offer students a new acting course, entitled “Creating Solo Performance: Dissident Artists.” The course will introduce students to artists who have been fighting for human rights, and challenge the students to write, direct and perform a solo piece based on the artist that most resonates with them.
Students will create a piece that is based on the diaries, letters, memoirs and autobiographies of artists who have been censored, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared or murdered. The course will culminate in a 2015 Write For Rights production on December 10, Human Rights Day, at the Eugene Lang New School of Drama in New York City.
Beginning on August 31, the course will be taught by associate professor Zishan Ugurlu. Art for Amnesty Creative Director Marvin Bing will co-facilitate the course, highlighting Amnesty’s work and introducing students to the work of Amnesty International.
“We’re excited to inspire the students at the New School by introducing them to some revolutionary artists who have used art to change the world, ” said Bing. “Art is the common international language that unites people when facing adversity, struggle and oppression around the world. It is the language of the truth. We can’t wait to see how these creative young artists interpret what they’ve learned.”
“I believe that education and art as a practice can help to develop vital critical thinking and reasoning skills that make for more responsible world citizens, with minds freed from prejudice, with an ethical and aesthetic awareness and an ability to communicate with and understand others,” said Ugurlu. “I also strongly believe that this class, supported by Mellon Foundation-The Civic Arts and Humanities Program, partnering with Amnesty International USA will develop lifelong explorers and learners who believe in their own ability to change things (and themselves) for the better.”
The course offers a unique opportunity for students to engage with artists who have demonstrated courage in the face of a multitude of injustices. When possible, students will be given the opportunity to interview the visiting artists about their experiences. The course is a pilot program, with plans for a multi-year partnership.