Coming to ND — by way of London

Author: Lisa Walenceus

Sierra Mayhew ’19, like many incoming first-years, is already busy packing bags in July. But, unlike most early packers, she’ll use those suitcases well before Welcome Weekend starts — as a student in Historic Fashion in the Arts: Theatre, Film, Paintings, Sculpture, and Re-enactment, a Department of Film, Television, and Theatre university seminar. This course begins with two weeks, July 19 – August 1, in a very special place, Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway, Fischer Hall at Trafalgar Square, and then continues during the fall semester on campus.

Prof. Richard Donnelly has designed a unique seminar experience that will focus on the study of historic fashion in the arts, an area of research that reveals much about the politics, industry, and social elements of a given time. Students will discover how and why fashion has changed, tracing this evolution through traditional methods like lectures and reading, but also through the experiential learning a first-hand view of the many museums, collections, historic venues, and archives found in the greater London area will provide.

Sierra, who is from Birmingham, MI, says, “I took AP Art History in high school and I absolutely loved it! We didn’t learn a lot about fashion, though, so taking this course will broaden my knowledge of the subject. I think being in London will make what I’m learning so real, almost like I’m living it.”

“I am thinking of majoring in FTT,” she adds, “so I hope taking this class will help me figure out if film, television, and theatre is what I really want to do.”

She’ll have an opportunity to discuss her thoughts on her future major because First Year advisor, Dean Holly Martin, will accompany the class on the trip to support them in their first Notre Dame class experience and help them begin the process of transition to their new lives as college students.

Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway is one of five hubs the University has established across the globe to serve as centers for teaching, scholarship, and intellectual exchange. The other global gateways are located in Beijing, Dublin, Jerusalem, and Rome. “This year is the first time that Global Gateway Seminars have been offered,” explains Rosemary Max, Director of International Programs. “Notre Dame International developed these new programs in London and Rome to introduce first-years to our innovative study abroad options and the facilities in these locations.”

Prof. Donnelly has been a member of the FTT theatre faculty for 24 years. He has worked as a costume designer, costume technician, and costume shop manager at many university and regional theatres including Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, The McCarter Theatre, The Old Globe Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, and the Alley Theatre. He designed the costumes for two feature films: Suspended Animation (2001) and The Looking Glass (2014).

Sierra will share her experiences with us on Twitter and Facebook — look for #NDFirstYearInLondon!