Instructor Reflection – Mediums Matter: Dance as an Artistic Medium (11.1)

By David Grant, University of Northern Iowa

Erin is a senior in our Professional Writing program here at the University of Northern Iowa. All our courses are grounded in some form of practice, be that client-based or for publication. We call our courses “applied writing” in that theoretical and practical skills are gained through practice and application with an audience other than an instructor. My course, Digital Writing Theory, asked students to take multimodal writing seriously from concept to delivery and as readers can see, Erin did so beautifully. She was inspired by a Writing Enriched Curriculum project out of the University of Minnesota (Werry & Walseth 2011) where dance was considered through the lens of writing studies. Deep into the Covid-19 pandemic, performance made different connections than her literary sources. As a dancer herself, Erin saw her opportunity. 

“Mediums Matter” explores corporeal modes of human expression and communication, harnessing multimodal technologies of rhetorical memory and delivery to add to our sense of movement as seamlessly connected to and perhaps subtending artistic modalities. Rather than understand different art forms within established disciplinary spaces, Erin Kamp re-vises our understanding to show what we need most at a time of pandemic and social strife: connection, community, and composing a better future. Movement is, then, a means for Erin to connect literary aesthetics, multimodal design, and human performance in a critical engagement that richly adds to discussions in each area.

Werry, Margaret and Stephanie Lein Walseth. “Articulate Bodies: Writing Instruction in a Performance-Based Curriculum.” Theatre Topics, vol. 21 no. 2, 2011, p. 185-197. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/tt.2011.0025.