About IAS

IAS is a theme-based public performance series with artists in residence, a seminar for UNL students devoted to the season's theme, public lectures to complement the performances, and a book series.

Founded and directed by Dr. Rhonda Garelick, IAS places the performing arts in a broader, more meaningful context, creates a diverse audience for performances, and brings world-class performance and scholarship to UNL and Lincoln. See an interview with Dr. Garelick discussing the Interdisciplinary Arts Symposium here.

IAS is located in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Come explore new worlds of dance, theater, music, and history with our line-up of internationally known performers and distinguished scholars!

Our Mission

The mission of the IAS is:

  • To place the performing arts in a broader, more meaningful context, providing historical and critical background to enhance enjoyment and understanding
  • To draw diverse audiences to UNL productions
  • To cultivate a wider audience for the performing arts in Lincoln
  • To bring world-class performance and scholarship to UNL and Lincoln


IAS is made up of six components:

  • Public performance series arranged around each year's theme
  • Public lecture series, complementing the season's performances
  • Hixson-Lied seminar course for UNL students, cross-listed in English, Art, Music, Theater, Dance departments, and devoted to in-depth, scholarly exploration of the season's theme. Artists and speakers serve as guest professors.
  • Visiting artist residencies, with workshops and master-classes for UNL students
  • Community outreach, which includes holding workshops, presenting at local schools, incorporating community members into performances
  • IAS book series, published by the University of Nebraska Press


The over arching theme for all IAS seasons is "Performing the Human Signature". How do the performing arts help us understand what makes us human? How are identities created on stage? Each season also has its own subtheme, exploring different aspects of the main theme.

  • 2013-14 Season: Performing Partnerships: Great American Collaborations of the Stage.  IAS Season V explores how artistic partnerships form, what sustains them, and what new hybrid forms are born from them--in the worlds of American modern dance, musical composition, chorals singing, visual arts,  and filmmaking.
  • 2012-13 Season: Ancient World through Modern Eyes. Modern performing arts have returned consistently to classical antiquity and ancient mythologies to make sense of the contemporary. Join us for world-class  drama, ballet, modern dance, philosophy, and poetry, as we consider how performance renews itself through consideration of its ancestry.
  • 2011-12 Season: Immigration, Migration, and Transplantation in Performance. This season explores the theme of transforming, transferring, or hybridizing cultural identity, and its expression in drama, music, and dance. We will look particularly at how immigrants to the United States use performance to tell their stories.
  • 2010-11 Season: Technology, Prosthetics, and the Body in Performance. This season showcased artists who stretch, alter, or question the limits of the physical body through technology - including electronics, cinema, surgery, prosthetic limbs, biogenetics, digital photography, and even haute couture.
  • 2009-10 Season: 'Race,' American History, and Performance. This season looked particularly at African-American contributions to the performing arts, and examined how racial and ethnic identity can be explored through performance.
The Interdisciplinary Arts Symposium is sponsored by the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, presented, in part, by the Lied Center for Performing Arts, and funded, in part, by the Hixson-Lied Endowment.