Classes start up on Monday, and on Tuesday, we have our first scheduled meeting of the “Penelope Research Team,” 5 students and my colleague Robin Mello. We are entering the research stage of the Penelope Project, which will facilitate discussions with family, staff, and residents at Luther Manor Health Center’s nursing home (among other local settings), about the myth of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey.
In the fall of 2010, UWM students will help facilitate these discussions, and creatively present their substance back to the groups. Then in the spring of 2011, family, staff, residents, and students collaborate with professional theatre company Sojourn Theatre to create a site-specific performance in the Health Center, inspired by the myth and by the discussions.
This semester, we gather information to fuel this exciting project -
What are interesting themes/images in the myth of Penelope?
What models of arts programs are there of this scale in long term care?
What other artistic iterations of Penelope have been created?
What myths from other cultures might resonate on a similar level to the Penelope story?
What is the current state of long term care for family? for staff? for residents?
How are issues of aging taught (most effectively) to children K-12? to students in higher education? LTC professionals? The general public?
Our hearty research team will tackle these questions to inform the creation of our educational guide to the project, and to inform the project (discussions and play creation) itself.
Stay tuned for more installments as this amazing project rev’s up!
We received our first grant to support the project in December – from the Wisconsin Arts Board’s Creative Communities program – and hope to share news of more with you soon!