Crossings / Cruces / Cruzamentos : assessing the potential for twenty first century performing arts international exchanges between the Américas
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This thesis project assesses the potential for increased performing arts international exchanges between the Américas through a research and analysis of past efforts and current resources available. I propose that despite the decrease in financial and infrastructural support in the last fifteen years, international exchanges can happen, but will take a different form from past experiences. I have undertaken this work to prepare myself to contribute to public scholarship on this topic. Therefore, I end this thesis project by proposing a body of public scholarship to continue preserving, sharing, and discussing the work of performing arts international exchanges. My method for this research was three-fold. First, between October 2014 and December 2016, I organized two international events focused on the Américas at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). These events were the Hemispheric Institute Graduate Student Initiative (Hemi GSI) Convergence 2015 and Staging Hemispheric Crossings. Second, I interviewed a total of twelve art professionals—arts administrators and artists—from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Perú, Puerto Rico, and the U.S., all of whom have extensive experience staging international exchanges across the Américas. Their experiences reveal their skills at continuing this work during a time of decreased resources, as well as the potentials for increased exchanges over time. Third, I conducted an extensive literature review on the history of such exchanges and arts policy documents to deepen my understanding of their accomplishments, as well as my knowledge of the field. Through this thesis, I model performance as public practice by recontextualizing the role of international performing arts in culture, case-making and agenda-setting for exchanges in the Américas, practicing arts administration and curatorial work, working in public programming between higher education institutions and non-profits, and promoting performing arts-based cross-cultural dialogue and understandings.