By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Theater arts professor Kathryn Ervin will explore new ways to be creative at summer conferences.
One might think that Kathryn Ervin spends more than enough time being creative at work. As a professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at CSU San Bernardino, she directs dramatic works as well as hip hop operas, and teaches courses in directing, acting, creative drama, and African American theater, film and culture.
While she may have a dream job when it comes to being innovative, Ervin doesn’t plan on spending her summer relaxing on the beach with a good book. Instead, this California Faculty Association member plans on discovering new ways of becoming even more creative, which she hopes will ignite her students to do the same.
One way she will do this is by attending the California Art Project’s Courageous Creativity Conference in Anaheim. It will be her third consecutive year at the event, which provides keynote speakers, panels, behind-the-scenes tours in the entertainment industry, and breakouts into the nexus between arts, media and entertainment career education.
“It’s a really interesting and exciting conference,” she relates. “There are lots of K-12 educators, postsecondary educators, counselors, school board members and others who are all talking about how to be creative. We ask questions such as: How do you recognize creativity in your students? How do you encourage it? What kinds of exercises help them to be creative? How can teachers help students find jobs that are creative? How can we keep creative students from dropping out? Some might see a student doodling in the back of the room as wasting time, but perhaps that student is gifted in a particular kind of way, and as educators we can help them refine their gifts.”
Participants at the conference will be asked to revisit their own experiences as artists, says Ervin. “There will be activities with theater, music and visual arts that will rejuvenate my passion for the arts. I think that by getting in touch with my own creativity, my students can get in touch with theirs.”
She also plans on attending the Black Theatre Network Conference in North Carolina, where scholars, students, artists and directors gather to talk about issues in black theater and regular theater.
“During the bulk of the year, my time is taken up with teaching, so summer is my chance to be myself, the artist responding to art,” she says. “And for me, it always comes back to the classroom.”