As a scenographer and costume designer, I believe in the importance of teaching design from an interdisciplinary, holistic, and multicultural perspective. This approach allows the students to understand how the different design elements intertwine and affect each other.
Weaving intersectionality in my pedagogy is essential for me. As theatre educators and culture makers, we must acknowledge the different realities that compose an individual. When approaching a play or performance, we are instinctively compelled to reach inside our own experiences and identities, in the same way, thus when we are creating theatre, we are inherently expressing our identities and our cultures. Teaching for diversity is a way to build bridges that can create deeper connections with each other.
I believe that teaching starts from hearing, understanding, and respecting the student's individual and collective needs. Creativity and learning flourish when students feel safe, respected, and heard--when they see themselves in the curriculum and explore their ideas in an encouraging environment. That's why I believe in the importance of representation at all levels. In my classes, I make sure to present the perspective of BIPOC, trans and different-abled characters, designers, and artists. Also, I make sure my students understand and become aware of their own implicit and explicit biases. Through discussions, lectures, and exercises, my students leave the classroom with a higher level of self-awareness and critical thinking.
Self-awareness is essential because the costume designer's workspace is the human body. We design garments, hairstyles, and makeup plots worn by cast members. I ensure that my students receive the necessary skills to develop a body-positive, antiracist, and trans-affirmative approach to design and rendering. When I am teaching costume design, I make sure that my students honor each member of the cast's individuality and make decisions that respect and celebrate their diversity. Through drawing, painting techniques, and anatomy lessons, I teach my students how to appropriately represent and understand different body types, hair textures, skin tones, and undertones. This ability allows the students to be respectful and mindful of their design subjects' unique features, creating a much more effective and intentional design.
Research and conceptualization are crucial skills for the discipline of costume design. I strive to provide my students with research skills that allow them to understand the role of design in a global context. Last summer, I participated in the Undergraduate Research Institute to redesign the History of Period Styles course to create a class with an intersectionality approach. My main goal in teaching costume history is to teach students how to conduct visual contextual research from a culturally aware perspective instead of requiring them to memorize facts about Western period styles. This shift is essential because it decolonizes the curriculum and prepares the students to conduct visual research from an intersectional approach, encouraging them to find solutions through critical thinking.
Figure drawing demo
Drawing demo made with Procreate. The main goal was to provide a guideline regarding basic anatomy and gesture drawing.