An original headphone walking-play inspired by and in conversation with hidden histories of Ithaca’s Underground Railroad and Civil Rights pioneers
Trap Door is a project in collaboration with The Cherry Arts and the History Center in Tompkins County to create an original headphone walking-play based on Ithaca’s histories of the Underground Railroad and Civil Rights eras. Audiences will walk a predetermined route, listening to the play in headphones and engaging in narratives about the past lives of sites along the way — a form ideally suited to social distancing.
Under the guidance of Professor Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, students will conduct research and write texts for the play. In year two, the play will expand to include oral histories of Ithacans and work by writers of color who are graduates of Cornell’s MFA program. Through the play, Ithaca will have a new way to celebrate Black lives and the opportunity to know itself better. The students will forge a connection to Ithaca while learning how poetry can open pathways for understanding.
Type: Public purpose research grant
Topics: Access, Equity and Justice; Arts, Communication, Media and Design; Culture, Language and History
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences
- Community partner: The Cherry Arts
- Community partner: History Center in Tompkins County
In the News
May 14, 2021
Cornell poet’s play “Trap Door” opens an aperture into Ithaca history
– Cornell Chronicle
Engaged Faculty Research Grants
Enhancing student learning and demonstrate impact through community-engaged research.