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Casson awarded for innovative course


CassonChristine Casson, senior writer-in-residence in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department, was chosen to receive this year’s ProArts Consortium’s Classroom Connect Award and $3,000 grant for innovative course development.

Together with Peter Madden from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Casson will teach Text Isles: The Art of Making Books and Poems (WR416-01) in the Spring 2014 semester.

The Classroom Connect Award was first offered in 2011 to Diane Lake, assistant professor in Emerson’s Department of Visual and Media Arts. Faculty from all six institutions in the ProArts Consortium can apply for the annual award.

“I actually didn’t know anybody at these other schools,” Casson said. “So I ended up sort of emailing people blindly…and [Madden] picked up on it and said he was really interested in doing this.”

The course will combine poetry and bookmaking in a workshop setting where students will collaborate to complete an original bound book by the end of the semester to be displayed in an exhibition.

“There’s a tradition of poets working with bookmakers,” Casson said.

With her course, she wants to allow for crossover between artists with impulses to write and writers with impulses to create something more tactile.

“I think there are different types of writers, and some just want to write,” Casson said, “but I think that the person who should take the class should be comfortable with dipping their hand into something they may not be familiar with, and also be comfortable with creating an object.”

“On the other hand,” she said, “I don’t think you need to be an artist to take the class. If you’ve never done it before, I think it would be a great experience.”

The students—six from Emerson and six from SMFA—will work in pairs of one poet and one artist to come away with a finished product “that’s both poetry and art,” Casson said. She plans to display the final projects in a gallery at Emerson followed by a showing at the SMFA.

“I would like to see these collaborations go beyond the class,” Casson said. “What I’m hoping is that it creates a situation in which this can be an ongoing practice.”

Along with Emerson College, the ProArts Consortium consists of Berklee College of Music, Boston Architectural College, The Boston Conservatory, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Emerson students can register for courses offered through the consortium through the Registrar’s office. 



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