The Office of the Provost is pleased to announce that this year’s Messing Award will be presented to assistant professor Jef Awada. The award is presented to a full-time faculty member for summer activity that will strengthen their teaching and learning.
This year’s award will help Jef attend a four-week clown workshop in Ètampes, France, taught by internationally renowned master pedagogue Philippe Gaulier.
Jef, who teaches movement for actors in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts, says that clown is the “ultimate destination” in the Conservatory’s movement training sequence. “Actors are often praised for the ‘truthfulness’ of their performances,” he says.
“Clown works that ‘truth’ muscle very directly.” Jef also notes that, because clown does not rely on language, it easily crosses borders, making it a truly global experience.
Jef expects the workshop to challenge and invigorate his teaching. “I will be having two minds as I participate,” he says. On the one hand, he will be a student and viewing the activities from that vantage point. On the other, observing Gaulier’s techniques in teaching a group of 20-25 students from all over the world will greatly inform Jef’s own pedagogy.
“One of the hallmarks of Gaulier’s workshops is the cultural diversity of the students he attracts. It will be a great opportunity to encounter a wide range of cultures and practices.”