Writing and Communications to Contextualize Visiting Artists & Events

Site: Hancher Auditorium

Hancher is a multidisciplinary performing arts presenter committed to connecting artists and audiences with transformational artistic experiences. For 47 years, Hancher has supported the University of Iowa’s mission of teaching, research, and service by presenting the world’s finest performing artists; developing, engaging, and enlightening audiences; initiating and supporting the creation of new works; and providing artistic, educational, technical, human, and physical resources to the University and the people of Iowa.

Project: Writing and Communication to Contextualize Visiting Artists

Hancher regularly engages artists who seek to use art to interrogate a broad range of themes and ideas. We are seeking an intern who will write articles and other materials that help contextualize some of the work we present while inviting audiences to engage more deeply with the ideas our artists are exploring on our stages.

To offer some examples from recent seasons:

  • Rahim AlHaj is a master oud player for whom music has been a constant in his life throughout his years as an Iraqi, a political refugee, and now an American citizen. In his Hancher performance, he and an ensemble of five musicians played his composition created from the text of actual letters written by Iraqis living in their war-torn country transposed into eight gripping compositions.
  • Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and conductor Damien Sneed delved deeply into the full range of African American music in We Shall Overcome, weaving jazz, classical, Broadway, gospel, and spirituals together with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches to exemplify a living musical tradition that continues to inspire, uplift, and challenge.
  • Known for its contemporary electroacoustic trance music that blends Sufi poetry with folk music from Iran and surrounding countries, the band Niyaz presented a multimedia work that focused on the life and work of eighth-century Muslim saint and the first female Sufi mystic Rabia al-Basir. The Fourth Light Project combined live music and sacred dance (a dervish) with advanced projection techniques that responded to sound and music in real time.

While we anticipate that most of the resulting materials will be used in Hancher playbills throughout the 2019–2020 season, we are also exploring new and innovative ways to present the materials we develop and welcome the intern’s input on this.

Key Responsibilities

  • Mining the grant report from Hancher’s recently concluded grant project, Embracing Complexity, which aimed to build textured knowledge of Islamic cultures while creating a greater sense of empathy for the experiences of peoples of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, to develop an article that demonstrates the impact of the multi-year, multidisciplinary project on the Iowa City campus and community
  • Researching Hancher’s 2019–2020 artists and their work and creating articles that provide background, context, and suggestions for further readings for Hancher audiences
  • Developing an outdoor display that celebrates the relationship between the Iowa River and Iowa City’s rich literary tradition for presentation in August 2020 as part of Hancher’s upcoming project, The Big Splash, a three-day festival that will celebrate the river at the center of our community and the 100th anniversary of IIHR (Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research).

Qualifications and Skills Preferred

  • Experience with or interest in theatrical dramaturgy
  • Experience writing for a general audience
  • Previous experience researching arts and humanities projects, artists, and organizations

Supervisor: Micah Ariel James, Education Manager