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'Embodied' celebrates the interplay between health and the arts

“Embodied” will explore human health and the arts at Emory this semester with events ranging from film screenings and plays to dance classes and yoga.

March 13, 2020 

Editor's note: Many events have been canceled or postponed in accordance with current university policy on the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit event websites for more details. Visit the Coronavirus Updates for the Emory Community website to learn more about how Emory is responding to COVID-19.


What role does artistic expression play in the health of a person? How can a better understanding of our health impact our creativity? This spring, Arts at Emory and the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory highlight events that explore these questions with Embodied, a semester-long celebration of human health and the arts at Emory.

“The idea came out of an awareness of the synergies between practices of art and its bearing on human health,” says Leslie Taylor, executive director of the Emory College Center for Creativity and Arts. “In conjunction with the Center for the Study of Human Health we wanted to showcase the multiple ways in which the arts inform, enhance and embody aspects of human health through public performances, conversations and screenings.”

Collaborations between the sciences and arts aren’t new to Emory’s campus; however, in recent years, departments have seen an increased interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) programming and classes from their students. 

“It was our students who were leading us and pushing us into this area,” says Lisa Paulsen, lecturer and chair of Emory College’s theater studies department. “There’s so much energy around this sort of collaboration.”

Under the leadership of Paulsen, theater studies recently launched various partnerships with the CSHH and Emory Healthcare, including providing training for acting students interested in working as standardized patients for Emory’s medical and nursing programs, the annual science-driven playwriting marathon “4:48” and a new Storytelling for Scientists course cross-listed with Human Health.

“We recognize that the way we interact with the world around us helps shape our health, whether it’s creating art as a form of therapy, the healing power of attending the symphony or examining how health is represented in literature to better understand our experience,” says Amanda Freeman, senior lecturer in human health. 

The Embodied celebration begins Tuesday, Jan. 28, with a reading from poet Heather Christle, assistant professor of English and creative writing at Emory. Christle’s most recent work, “The Crying Book,” examines the science and history of tears. The reading takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Jones Room of the Woodruff Library. 

All events of Embodied are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Other programs that will be part of the series include: 

Human Health on Film

Feb. 6 – March 26, 7:30 p.m., White Hall, Room 208

The Center for the Study of Human Health and Film and Media Studies at Emory present a free screening series featuring both narrative (“The King’s Speech,” “And the Band Played On”) and documentary films (“Alive Inside,” “Human Nature,” “Supersize Me”). Faculty members from human health, theater studies, the Center for Ethics and Rollins School of Public Health will introduce each screening. 

4:48 | The Uninhabitable Earth

Saturday, Feb. 8, 3 p.m., Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Theater Lab

Playwriting marathon 4:48 continues this year as part of The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory’s biennial festival, Brave New Works. Four alumni playwrights have only 48 hours to write plays inspired by David Wallace-Wells’ work on climate change, “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.” Readings of the plays begin at 3 p.m. in the Schwartz Theater Lab, continuing throughout the afternoon and evening. Brave New Works is a free event, but tickets are required.

Body Mapping for Singers

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 6 p.m., Performing Arts Studio

Emory vocal studies welcomes Quinn Patrick Ankrum of the University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music. Her body mapping session includes information about mindfulness/inclusive awareness, balance and breathing, with group participation. 

Having a Ball: Music, Laughter and Patient Inspiration

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 6 p.m., Performing Arts Studio

Using music, humor and fun, social worker and educator Anne McSweeney and playwright and cancer survivor Tom Willner joined forces to invigorate and re-energize health care professionals who work so hard for their patients. With back and forth banter, this presentation consists of music and storytelling depicting the patient experience – oftentimes poking fun, sometimes more serious and always showcasing the critical role that health care professionals play in the lives of their patients.

Peace, Love, Vote

Saturday, March 7, 12:30 p.m., Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Dance Studio

The Dancing Flowers for Peace, a group of women over 50, are members of the Garden Party. Join them for a movement workshop that will connect women to each other, to their own bodies and to the planet. Co-directed by Lori Teague, director of Emory Dance, Lesly Fredman, artistic director of Theater on the Prowl, and Noel Marts. 

Transcendent Yoga

March 17 – April 23, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Exhibition Galleries

The Carlos Museum invites you to begin or end your day with yoga, surrounded by Manjari’s Sharma’s large-scale images of Lakshmi, Vishnu, Shiva and other Hindu gods and goddesses in the exhibition “Transcendent Deities of India: The Everyday Occurrence of the Divine.” Restore your body and spirit on Tuesday afternoons with Marck Maroun from The Yoga Source or Thursday mornings Anna Leo of Emory’s dance department. The six-week session costs $65 for Carlos Museum members and $85 for nonmembers. Space is limited, and online registration for either Tuesday or Thursday is required. 

More events will be added throughout the semester. For an updated list of events and to learn more about Embodied, visit Arts at Emory.

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