Creative Research


Morgan Thorson, choreographer

The CFA commissioned Morgan Thorson's work, FAT/dig, for which she was subsequently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Thorson used the University as a research and development site for an evening-length work “that explores fat and trash.” Thorson met with faculty in the Art History Department about the representation of the nude through time. She also met with professors in the Anthropology Department to explore her conception of the dance as an archeological dig, and in her words, “[provide] an organizing system that links discovery and imagination, and delivers a startling cross between social experience, visual art, and choreography.”

The research phase coincided with an appointment in the dance department to teach a six-week course through which she identified students who could form a research lab with her to begin exploring the project's movement vocabulary. Her research at Wesleyan has since progressed into a project called Spaceholder Festival, which you can read about here.

In addition, she conducted modules in Assistant Professor Julia Randall’s Drawing I and Drawing II courses in Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 that were co-created by Thorson and Randall, whereby students beginning to draw the human figure were given the opportunity to experiment with their own bodies/gestures.

Thorson led another module unit in Spring 2011 with Professor of Anthropology, Douglas Charles, in the class The Human Skeleton. In this course, students where introduced to a range of osteological topics and hands-on learning of skeletal anatomy. Thorson's module allowed the students an opportunity to physically connect their anatomical knowledge with movement.

Thorson later joined Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology, Sarah Crouch, for a Spring 2012 evacation of Beman Triangle, the site of a 19th-century African-American community associated with the Cross Street AME Zion Church. The existence of excavatable areas, of original residential structures, and of doucmentary records in city hall, together with the information that can be provided by community groups, provide rich opportunities for original research for faculty, students, and visiting artists.
Creative Campus

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Contact: Andrew Chatfield