We are excited to continue the conversations in Zara off stage and into the classroom. Below are workshops/lectures we designed as a part of our artist residency at UNC Chapel Hill. These topics were identified in collaboration with Dr. Michelle Robinson and created to meet the needs of students in courses about intersectionality, creative writing, and public humanities.

All that said, we have diverse backgrounds in and out of academics. If there is a different theme or research topic you are interested in bringing to your classroom, please let us know and we’ll be happy to brainstorm with you.

Workshops / lectures

  • Impact Producing Workshop: How do you choose projects, brand them, target your audience and create an impact outside of selling tickets? Using Zara as a case study in progress, Ashley Melzer leads a workshop about making art that matters. This workshop can be tailored for undergraduates, graduate students, or faculty.  

  • Humanities Storytelling Workshop: For grad students and/or faculty, Andrew Aghapour leads a workshop that teaches academic scholars how personal storytelling can help translate concepts for a broad public audience. Whether you’re interested in sharing personal stories on stage or in integrating anecdotes into public talks and lectures, this workshop will help you become a more effective and personal communicator.

  • Improv: The New American Art Form Lecture: Exploring improv's origins in the WPA, this lecture digs into the purpose and use of “improv” as a new American art form. Ashley Melzer offers a brief explanation of "game" philosophy of play and shows how it allows us to challenge and play out our assumptions and stereotypes on stage.

  • Undergraduate Guest Lecture from Zara: Drawing on stories from the one person show, Andrew Aghapour delivers a lecture version that more deeply explores the conceptual underpinnings of the story. This could include “Birth Story” and its exploration of the sacred and the profane, or “Eye to Eye” and its exploration of race and intersectional identity. This guest lecture would help to preview the show and provide an opportunity to dig deeper into concepts that inform the stories.

  • Undergraduate Applied Project on Stand Up and Storytelling: Work with students to brainstorm, develop, and perform short sets that combine humor with course concepts.

  • Undergraduate Applied Project on Show Production: Work with students to pitch, create branding materials, and working through a producing strategy for a given show/concept. This could be for a subset of the Intersectionality class or for another undergraduate group, with Zara as a real-time learning experiment.