Students in the SMU-in-London: Arts spend five weeks in the city, becoming 21st-century explorers while taking two courses. Associate Theatre Professor Gretchen Smith in the Meadows School of the Arts teaches London theatre history from the era of Shakespeare to the present, while Dance Professor Shelley Berg teaches about London as a metropolis filled with myriad “performance” experiences – cultural, social, historical and political. The students have visited museums, palaces, food markets, theatres (for “formal performances” and backstage tours) and participated in multiple “scavenger hunts,” and walked and walked and walked!
An update from Erica: Walking through Borough Market was like nothing I had experienced before. Every stall had a beautiful display of food ranging from aged cheeses, olive oil, mustard varieties, sangria, baked bread, meats of all cuts, pastries, vegetables, to just about any other thing you could imagine. To make the situation even more wonderful, just about everywhere you went vendors were more than happy to share a free sample of their goods with you. Exploring the area was like taking a walk through a multicultural culinary-based world’s fair where each new block has something entirely different to offer. After wandering around for a bit, we began to really interact with the different vendors. Instead of just sheepishly eating [...]
This past week was incredibly busy. On Monday afternoon, the Ecology & Environmental Chemistry team split into three groups so that samples from all of the river sites could be taken in the same day. We used a YSI probe to take measurements such as pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and temperature from the river water at each site. These recordings can clue us into the health of the ecosystem at that spot. We also collect water in bottles to take to the laboratory. To do this, we have to stand in the river and face the opening upstream, wash the bottle out with river water three times, and then fill it and cap it. Pretty simple, but we had quite [...]
An update from Thomas: As I walked down Brick Lane, I felt the metaphor of “Brick Lane as a river” swirl around my ankles. The Sanskrit street signs, Jewish buildings, Christian churches, and curry restaurants proved that this was a very deep river. A river of cultures extending back through generations of relocated families, all of whom had carved their place in the terrain. I saw the sign for Katz’ string and bag wholesalers, an example given in Sinclair’s article, faded against its brick backdrop, the letters of the sign as permanent as the history of the Jewish people in the area. I saw Bengali restaurants and merchandise lining the streets — a more recent group to call Brick Lane [...]
An update from Lexi on some of her discoveries during the class scavenger hunt at the British Museum: 1. Elgin Marbles as “metonyms” for the Parthenon: This picture left of one of the remnants can be seen as a metonym for the people’s observance of rituals and for the importance of ceremonies. In this sculpture, the women are carrying incense for sacrifices, showing their respect and admiration for the Greek gods as they pay homage to them. This depiction right can be seen as a metonym for the valor and bravery of men in combat. It could also symbolize the superiority of men (such as defeating beasts or figures of “the Other”), and it shows how the Greeks valued strength and [...]