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Wearing Womanhood: Radford Professor on NPR’s With Good Reason
On March 3, National Public Radio’s With Good Reason program featured a conversation with Camilla Morrison, Assistant Professor in the Department of Theater and Cinema. The show, which airs on 121 NPR stations across the country, is produced in Virginia and draws on the Commonwealth’s academic experts to discuss topics in depth.
For this episode, entitled “Life Without Boundaries,” Morrison was interviewed by host Sarah McConnell to discuss a pair of projects that explore the way clothing and costume design can express experience and identity.
The discussion focuses on two of Morrison’s projects, “Nightmares are Dreams, Too” (her 2016 MFA thesis) and “Of the Earth: Stories of Women in North Dakota” which was created during the pandemic.
“Both of these projects explore themes of being a woman in the world today through costume design and creation,” Morrison said.
“Traditionally in theatre, we start with a script we can analyze as well as characters we can research throughout the design process. My works discussed on this radio program were collaboratively created with those who wore the costumes I created and those who contributed their stories and experiences.”
“Of the Earth” came about while Morrison was working at the University of North Dakota.
When theater operations shut down in 2020, Morrison received a fellowship through the North Dakota Council on the Arts. The grant allowed her to interview women and led her to combine poetry and costume design to explore the connection women had to their birthplaces.
“I lived in North Dakota for five years,” Morrison said, “and it was a place where, when I met someone new, the first question they asked me was ‘how many children do you have?’”
This got her thinking about the assumptions that come with womanhood and the relationship between individual choices and social roles and expectations.
Consequently, “Of the Earth” examines the complex the social and personal nature of motherhood through art that is honest about the obstacles, expectations and weight of motherhood as well as its more fulfilling aspects.
You can hear Morrison discuss both projects on the With Good Reason website. The “Life Without Boundaries” episode can be accessed online in its entirety or in sections.