by Sean Seu
A common perception is that the world is full of strict stereotypes. The cheerleader. The math nerd. The artsy hipster. These identities seem well-defined, but the edges of these boxes are less clear-cut than they may seem. Student artists at Kenyon are exposed to many subjects while taking a liberal arts curriculum. Some students combine their disciplines in unexpected ways, often finding art in unexpected places.
Peter Granville ’16 is a mathematics and English double major with a concentration in creative writing who came to Kenyon toying with the idea of becoming a data journalist. Kenyon’s English and mathematics departments both appealed to Granville during his college search.
With a creative writing emphasis, Granville has found the two subjects mesh more easily than he expected. He sees math as basic and universal, and language as dealing with more complex and nuanced ideas. He also sees an overlap in how they assert different ideas. Both end up proving a claim through a series of logical steps and conclusions; math and language just go about that proof in different ways.
Some artists reach even further outside their area of expertise. Ian Edwards ’17 is double-majoring in dance and Russian area studies. Both subjects are relatively new to him, but Kenyon’s flexible academic environment provided Edwards with the opportunity to find his passion. “I hadn’t done dance or Russian before I got here,” Edwards said. “I’d always been interested but never had the means to pursue them.”
Edwards has combined this unlikely pairing into a personalized educational experience. “For the dance history courses, a lot of dance history happened in Russia, like Ballet Russe, Bolshoi,” Edwards said. He’s also has been able to create connections with other classes, such as when he studied the Russian AIDS epidemic in biology and gender roles in dance for an introductory women’s and gender studies class.
Integrating several disciplines into one succinct major doesn’t have to involve radically different practices. Brianne Presley ’16 has been dancing since she was three years old. She knew when she arrived at Kenyon she wanted to study dance in some capacity. Presley’s work combines the disciplines involved in her dance and studio art double major.
“I made this box of mirrors and I got inside and I filmed it and I actually did a lot of movement in it,” Presley said. “Now I think for my comps I’m going to be doing video art, because it’s the perfect overlap between my dancing and [visual] art.”