Summer 2015 Multi-Arts Collectives

Under the auspices of the Creative Arts Across Disciplines project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Vassar has offered opportunities over the next several summers for multidisciplinary teams of two or more students to work on creative arts or design-based projects. CAAD’s summer multi-arts collectives were eight-week programs for Vassar students, faculty mentors, and visiting artists. Students with majors in different departments collaborated to realize proposed project ideas under the guidance and encouragement of project mentors.

  • Projects that involve students majoring in at least two different disciplines, at least one from the arts.
  • Projects taking place mainly on campus and may involve presentation or engagement with the Poughkeepsie-area community.
  • A culmination of the project in something that is presented on campus or in the Poughkeepsie area during the coming academic year, preferably in the fall. It can be in the forms of performance, installation, activity, intervention, community or educational initiative, etc.
  • Projects that tie in some way with CAAD’s programming focus on the senses.


eXodo performing Latinx narratives of journeys from and through death.

Students: Sofia Benitez (’18), Daniel Dones (’16), Jacqueline Geoghegan (’16), Ariana Sacristan-Benjet (’18)

Faculty Mentor: Miriam Mahdaviani (Dance)

DiSCCo liaison: Amy Laughlin

In the News: éXodo offers a new way to understand death, memory, and culture, CAAD art collectives explore sound, silence

éXodo is a collaboration that explores concepts of death through multiple lenses. The project was first inspired by the Day of the Dead celebration and the complexities of the group’s shared Latinidad. Dani Dones ’16, Jacqueline Muñoz Geoghegan ’16, Sofía Benitez ’18 and Ariana Sacristán-Benjet ’18 composed, moved, and spoke to themes of journey, memory, culture and identity. Through their personal narratives, they devised the performance piece that went up in the Shiva on October 1–3. On September 18–25, the soundscapes, ephemera, visual renderings, and writings of the process were displayed in an installation at the Collaboratory, parked on the library lawn.


Soundwalk poster

Students: Jake Ellis (’16), Alan Hagins (’16), Simaya Speed (’17)

Faculty Mentor: Tom Porcello (Anthropology)

DiSSCo liaison: Joanna DiPasquale

In the News: CAAD art collectives explore sound, silence

Soundwalk is a campus-wide art project on sound. Site-specific audio tracks were dispersed across campus and featured commentary on the move to coeducation, haunted space, afflicted memory, securitization, and the prioritization of the senses. During the summer months, Jake Ellis ’16, Simaya Speed ’17, and Alan Hagins ’16 together con­ducted research for the project. “We did a lot of research about the nature of recorded sound–the political and cultural implications of recorded sound. Before the invention of the recorder, sound couldn’t be replayed, it was always moving with time. So, for modern artists, creating soundscapes from recorded sound is a relatively new form of art (…) The project is an exploration of the mul­tifaceted nature of space, the ways memo­ry, myth, and history inscribe themselves on that space. And, I guess the first impulse for me was when I visited an audio tour in London given by Janet Cardiff, who utilizes sound­scapes, memory, history, to create a very unique experience,” shared Hagins.

Healing Narratives

In Light Of - A performance on illness, healing and transition.

Students: Kelsey Greenway (’16), Alex Raz (’16), Aran Savory (’16), Joe DeGrand (’17)

Faculty Mentors: Laura Biagi (Italian), Michael Joyce (English)

DiSSCo liaison: Baynard Bailey

In the News: Devised theater piece brings hospice narratives to Shiva stage, Collaborative effort uses art to explain illness, CAAD art collectives explore sound, silence

CAAD’s Summer Multi-Arts Collective, “Healing Narratives: De-stigmatizing Trauma & Illness through the Senses,” in partnership with Hudson Valley Hospice, explores the oral experience of illness while looking at larger themes on healing and transition. The project was developed by Joe DeGrand, Kelsey Greenway, Alex Raz, and Aran Savory, and mentored by Sangeeta Laura Biagi and Michael Joyce. “Healing Narratives” included the performance IN LIGHT OF, performed on Vassar’s campus September 18–20. In the Collaboratory, audio and visual elements that did not make it into the performance were on view. It was a space to reflect on the performance and to re-experience the voices and bodies that made it a reality. The exhibition space included notes, drafts, and materials that helped make IN LIGHT OF possible, and each interview was played in its entirety.