Unleashing creative minds: Communications studies department presents Faculty Performance Hour

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

The Communications studies department at SIU is starting off 2020 with the Faculty Performance Hour. 

This show is part of the Marion Kleinau Theatre season and it is an opportunity for faculty and staff within the department to show off their creative works to students. 

The faculty will present work in a variety of different genres, such as literature, music, autoethnography, performing arts, poetry and oral history.

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The genres were chosen based on the interests of the faculty. 

Rebecca Walker, an associate professor of communications studies, said this is a way for faculty members to communicate through performance. 

“Often in the Faculty Performance Hour, you’ll see faculty speaking back to current events,” Walker said. “Sometimes, you’ll just see them performing something they enjoy.” 

Walker said a performance like this benefits both faculty members and students because it is a chance to see professors do the things they teach. 

“It’s a chance for students to see faculty members taking a risk,” Walker said. “[They] kind of get to create a performance about whatever they want, and speak to whatever they feel is important in their lives.”

Most of the time, faculty members don’t get the opportunity to perform the way their students do because they are usually behind the scenes, Walker said. 

“We are often the directors or the people in the back of the room grading things,” Walker said. “For us to get a chance to do this type of thing that we teach other people to do all the time, is really exciting for us.”

Christos Patelis, publicity director of the Kleinau Theatre, agreed that it is unusual for students to witness professors perform.

“Typically, you can only see that at conferences or when they publish papers,” Patelis said. “But this is such an open event because it is free and open to the public.”

Patelis said these talented faculty members are a wonderful asset to the university, and very inspirational to students. 

“To see them do that on stage is really inspiring,” Patelis said. “They are here as excellent examples of what good performers look like, what good researchers look like, and what good artists look like.”  

Walker said there is a huge level of importance in expressing oneself through the creative arts. 

“We teach this stuff because we think it’s important and it’s a way to express our thoughts and feelings about the world around us,” Walker said. 

The Faculty Performance Hour will take place Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. and admission is free.

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached at [email protected]

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