Presidency plans performing arts centre

Presidency plans performing arts centre

TNN | Sep 13, 2014, 12.30 AM IST

KOLKATA: Presidency University is planning to start a centre for performing arts, which will pave the way for a new facet of the varsity known primarily for its arts and science courses and the high standard of international research. The centre may gradually transform into a school and then a department.

“We do not intend to change the basic character of Presidency University. Instead, we are adding performing arts, which will allow students to study theatre, music and dance in Presidency and will be a change from the traditional courses… However, the university will always strive for excellence in research activities. Unlike any other university, which allows candidates to opt for honours courses in various streams of performing arts, Presidency will restrict it to just one department of performing arts,” said vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia.

“We are also planning to host an art appreciation and history lecture series at the centre. We shall invite some of the best and renowned artists of Bengal modern art to visit Presidency University and deliver lectures. We shall place the proposal before governing board and funds will be sought from the state government,” Lohia added.

In future, the centre for performing arts will lead to a course on the subject, in which students will be offered undergraduate and post graduate degrees in performing arts.

One of the reasons for creating the new department is to diversify the curriculum in UG and include theatre, music and dance as part of the course. “Students are interested in the performing arts subjects. We wanted to offer courses which are out of the box, at least in Presidency. If we get permission to start the UG performing arts honours course then students will be able to opt for the same in general education subjects as well,” the vice-chancellor said.

“We already have a centre for environmental study where we intend to incorporate biologists and chemists as well. In the near future we would like to think about a centre for cognitive sciences…” Lohia added.

Her initiative has found appreciation from a former Presidency College professor and sociologist Prasanta Roy. Roy said, “My reaction is not so negative. Now that Presidency has transformed into a university changes are welcome. We will have to see how the course on performing arts shapes up. The spirit of Presidency University will change if performing arts honours purely teach about how to perform a dance recital or write a theatre script. In foreign universities such options are available. Beyond conventional boundaries of social or rational sciences, one will need a lot of experimenting.”

Theatre artist Suman Mukhopadhyay added, “I think there is a paradigm shift in education. Now education believes in inclusion, in which performing arts is a major component. One should deviate from tradition; inclusiveness should be brought into the curriculum… However, the university should also focus on the placement of students who would study performing arts. Without well supported government policies finding jobs may be difficult.”

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