School of Fine ArtsBallard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
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Summer Online Puppet Forum #10: “Present at the Creation: the Notion of ‘Performing Objects’,” with Frank Proschan on 8/6


Join the Ballard Institute for our tenth Summer 2020 Online Puppet Forum Series event on Facebook Live! These forums, hosted by Ballard Institute director and puppet historian John Bell, will consist of discussions with notable scholars and practitioners around the world about the past, present, and future of puppetry and puppetry studies.  

On August 6 at 4 p.m. ET, join Ballard Institute director John Bell in a discussion with anthropologist Frank Proschan, editor of the ground-breaking 1983 issue of Semiotica, devoted to “puppets, masks, and performing objects”–the first time these forms received a cohesive scholarly analysis. They will discuss the legacy of this initial study of performing objects, as well as Dr. Proschan’s work as an ethnologist and folklorist in Southeast Asia, and his work helping implement UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage programs across the globe. 

Frank Proschan is an anthropologist and folklorist who has worked as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution and a research professor at Indiana University. In 1983 he edited a special issue of Semiotica titled “Puppets, Masks, and Performing Objects from Semiotic Perspectives,” the first scholarly study of puppetry and object performance, which included essays by semioticians, puppet historians, anthropologists, and linguists. He has worked for decades with colleagues in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia in collaborative research on languages, folklore, and ethnology, as well as conducting capacity building for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and for museum development. In 2006, he took up a position at UNESCO, assisting in the global implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage until his retirement in 2015. In 2019-20, Proschan was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting lecturer at the Department of Anthropology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University of Hanoi. 

Forums will be available afterwards on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.


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