News Release

REF NO.: 8

SUBJECT: Memorial University hosts public lecture on arts, activism and healing at Memorial University

DATE: September 14, 2015

The Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP) at Memorial University kicks off its 2015-16 lecture series with a public talk by an HIV/AIDS and arts activist.

Dr. David Gere, director of the Art and Global Health Center and professor of arts activism at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will present a public talk titled Can Art Save Lives?

The event takes place on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the MMaP Gallery on the second floor of the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

Drawing on his work on HIV/AIDS and with artists around the world, Dr. Gere will explore the role of the arts in creating social change.

“The Art and Global Health Center at UCLA is premised upon the notion that the arts possess the ability to save lives, not literally by healing illness—in the biological sense—but by shifting the conditions that cause illness to flourish,” he said. “This particular notion of art’s life-saving potential derives from Douglas Crimp, the New York art critic who, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic of the late 1980s, wrote in frustration about the celebration of beautiful or elegiac works of art meant to affirm our humanity, rather than the creation of works of activist art intended to stop the epidemic.”

In his talk, Dr. Gere will discuss Crimp’s bluntly utilitarian theory of art’s potential and use it to lay out a taxonomy of ways in which the arts can change the world.

Dr. Gere is also co-director with Gideon Mendel of Through Positive Eyes, a participatory photography project featuring people living with HIV and AIDS around the world. His book How to Make Dances in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS (University of Wisconsin Press) received the award for outstanding book publication from the Congress on Research in Dance.

Dr. Gere is also the author of two edited volumes: Looking Out: Perspectives on Dance and Criticism in a Multicultural World and Taken by Surprise: A Dance Improvisation Reader. In 2004 Dr. Gere lived in Bangalore, India. While on a Fulbright research grant, he studied the ways in which artists are working in India to stop the AIDS epidemic. This led to the founding of MAKE ART/STOP AIDS, a network of artists throughout the world who are working to intervene in the AIDS epidemic.

The MMaP Lecture Series is sponsored by the Office of the President, Memorial University, in collaboration with the School of Music.

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