Mobile Performance Studies Laboratory

The PSL is a humanities-based interdisciplinary academic program which views performance as an object to be studied, a creative method of scholarly inquiry and representation, and a tool for community engagement. Working in an interdisciplinary context, the laboratory uses a performance-based lens for experiential learning and research that culminates with sharing creative work with public audiences. 
The PSL offers wide-ranging learning and research opportunities for students such as undergraduate courses, research-based performance projects, practice-based workshops, and performance festivals involving multiple levels of community engagement and outreach. On average each year, the lab engages approximately 150 undergraduates in learning and research activities and reaches audiences of 500, including community members. 

Xavier’s PSL is the only performance studies program in the nation at a historically black college or university (HBCU). 
Dr. Ross Louis, a professor of communication studies and the principal investigator for the grant, said the funding will enable the PSL to create a “mobile laboratory” with a full range of stage, light, sound, and video design equipment which can be organized into smaller, transportable units for use in individual courses and workshops and combined for large-scale performance research presented to campus and public audiences. In particular, the robust collection of easily transportable materials will allow the PSL to expand its collaborative humanities-based laboratory to include more students from various disciplines.

“We are grateful to the Board of Regents for fully funding this initiative,” said Louis. “The mobile laboratory will dramatically expand the technical capacities of performance-based courses offered in various academic departments, while strengthening faculty and student research, interdisciplinary collaborations, and community partnerships.”