Engaged Scholars Program

TAPS' Engaged Scholars program seeks concentrators who are interested in studying performance theory while simultaneously working with communities outside of the university to create and investigate socially engaged performance that tackles complex social issues.

Engaged Scholars in TAPS build community, break down hierarchies and prejudgments, and tell stories about who we are and who we can become as citizens and stewards of the earth.

For more information, please contact the TAPS Advisor for Engaged Scholarship: Michelle_Bach-Coulibaly@brown.edu.


TAPS and the Swearer Center have developed partnerships with local arts organizations such as AS220, Trinity Repertory Company, Everett Company, Providence Youth Arts Collaborative, Central Falls High School,  Shakespeare in the City and RKR Rawkin Rhythmix.

Courses counting for the Engaged Scholarship focus in TAPS 
These courses are those that "direct the student towards the compassionate application of learned skills to the discovery and sustenance of communities in and beyond Brown." - Erik Ehn 

TAPS 0030 - Introduction to Acting and Directing (Crawford - section 1 only)
Explores basic acting/directing concepts from a variety of perspectives including the use of the actor's imagination/impulsivity in the creation of truthful, dramatic performance; the body, as a way of knowing and communicating knowledge; and the voice, as a means of discovering and revealing emotion/thought. There is a mandatory tech requirement and some evening hours are required. Please go to the TAPS website for specifics on admission and the technical requirement (http://brown.edu/go/TAPS0030). Enrollment limited to 18 first year students. Instructor permission required. No permission will be given during pre-registration.

TAPS 1281O - Acting Outside the Box: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in Performance (Moore)
Examines the relationship between social and cultural identities and their representations in dramatic literature and performance. Students will be expected to read critical essays and plays, conduct research, and prepare to act in scenes that challenge the actor to confront the specifics of character and situation beyond the Eurocentric ideal. The goal is to strengthen the actor's ability to construct truly meaningful characters by removing any reliance of "type" and/or immediate "identification" with the characters they will portray. Instructor permission required; interested students must come to the first class, fill out an application and participate in a sample class. Accepted students will be notified by the third class meeting. You must show up to every class meeting in order to keep your application active throughout the registration process. Enrollment limited to 18. DPLL

TAPS 1281Z - Artists and Scientists as Partners focuses on current research on and practices in arts and healing, with an emphasis on dance and music for persons with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). 

TAPS 1330 - Dance History
 (in collaboration Deanna Camputaro, master teacher with the Arts, Communication & Teaching Academy (ACT) of Central Falls High School), invents new relationships between academic content, new pedagogies, and community engagement. 

TAPS 0330: Mande Dance, Music and Culture and 
TAPS 1390: Contemporary Mande Performance Traditions.
These two courses examine the life-cycle celebratory dances, musics and folklore of the Mande people of Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Guinea. Students work with Master Artists from around the globe during the co-curricular annual international festival THE RHYTHM OF CHANGE.

TAPS 1610 - Political Theatre of the Americas explores political theatre and performance in Latin America, the US and Canada. The primary concern will be the use of performance in indigenous rights, queer rights, and gender equity campaigns as well as general critiques of socioeconomic inequity. The course examines the strategies used by actors in theatrical performances, performance art, and political protests that use the tools of performance. Exploration is of the rich relationship between politics and performance. 


More information

For general inquiries about the Engaged Scholars Program, please contact engaged-scholars@brown.edu or go to the Engaged Scholars page on the Swearer Center web site.

How to Apply: At the time of their declaration, students declare their concentration in TAPS with an Engaged Scholar focus. Students apply to the program in the ASK advising system while declaring their concentration.

How to be an Engaged scholar in TAPS

  • Fulfill all existing requirements of the separate tracks.
  • Work with track advisors and with the departmental ES advisor, students determine which ES-designated courses in the array of those offered (see box) match their track-work.
  • Undertake a practicum, a 150-250-hour experiential work with community and other non-academic stakeholders – significant in both intensity (hours per week in meaningful, challenging work) and duration (number of weeks). Practicums can be paid experiences or can be completed for credit or as a volunteer. 
  • Students participate in programming and activities with other Engaged Scholars from a variety of departments and disciplines.
  • ESP students take a required 1/2 credit seminar, SOC 310: The Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship, that examines the theory, practice, and ethics of engaged scholarship through readings, case studies, site visits, and visits from faculty and practitioners.  The course examines the field of engaged scholarship, highlights local community-university relationships and projects, and situates students’ studies at Brown within these contexts. Students emerge from the seminar with a critical understanding of engaged work and with practical skills to continue their community-engaged scholarship. Students also develop relationships across disciplines with other ESP students through the seminar and spend significant time researching capstone plans. We recommend you complete this course during the first semester of junior year. 
  • Students with an ES focus gear their capstone projects to a conceptual and practical culmination of their work in this vein.