Brittney S. Harris (she/her) is an internationally recognized Assistant Professor of Theatre in the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University. Her areas of expertise are in Race and Performance, Performance as Activism, and Devised Community-Engaged Theatre. As an artist and educator, her approach to creativity centers on providing a sacred space for discovery, exploration, and individuality.
Brittney’s research surveys the adverse effects of vicarious trauma from social media on the personal psyche and how narrative-based storytelling is a vessel for social resilience and redemption. Specific topics explored, but not limited to, are Racial Injustice, Mental Health Awareness, Gender Equality, and Domestic Violence Awareness. The basis of Brittney’s research allows individuals or a specific community organization/entity to create art that represents a state of change for revelation/resistance. She believes theatre and the performing arts teach society about themselves and point out the attitudes and mindsets of current society. It can be a tool used to educate people about their current conditions.
Over the past decade, internationally and throughout the US Southeast region, Brittney has created numerous community engagement-based projects and conducted workshops rooted in the methodology of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of Oppressed (Image Theatre and Forum Theatre), Michael Rohd’s Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue, and Viewpoints work. Each method’s immersive approach calls for participants to take on issues that holistically identify cultural individuality and indifferences within a creative framework. Her creative works have been featured at several national interdisciplinary conferences and fringe festivals, including the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference (ATHE), National Women’s Theatre Festival, Global Conference on Women and Gender, and Black Theatre Network.
Most recently, Brittney completed research abroad in Rwanda, Africa, working with the youth population of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, highlighting the importance of theatre for community-based healing, creative wellness, and equity.
About Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University is a public research university in Norfolk, Virginia. Brittney primarily works with undergrads from varying majors and disciplines around the university. For this fellowship, she will be directing with the Theatre Program of the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts students. Her aim is to give and inspire all participants an interdisciplinary collaborative look at performative expression as more than “just for actors” but as an opportunity to ground and encourage ourselves in the essential gifts of the present—more specifically, highlighting and addressing issues of “voter suppression,” “pro-voter mentality” and strategies for combatting polling disparities in our society.
Faculty Fellowship Focus
Course Title: THEA 352, Acting Three (special topic/unit: Comm, Performance, & Activism). The information and materials from the Center for Artistic Activism training for creative civic engagement will be shared and demonstrated in this course. The students will learn about the performing arts’ roles in promoting social justice, as well as civil, environmental, and human rights, to foster civic engagement, dialogue, and community problem-solving.
“I’m so excited to be an Unstoppable Voters Faculty Fellow because of the inciting and activation of community-based tools developed in building a tangible framework working in our undergrad and grad student population at my campus. This fellowship will assist me in continuing to make connections and bridges for self-expression, battling social anxiety, increasing vocabulary, and fostering collaboration amongst various groups of individuals in the Hampton Roads community and beyond.”– Brittney S. Harris, Assistant Professor of Theatre Performance and Community Engagement, Old Dominion University