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Research

MEDIA MENTIONS
I Sang Through Labor to Manage the Pain 
New York Times author, Jessica Delfino, interviewed me and my collaborator on the first publication
surrounding voice and birth. Our work was cited in
this 2021 NYT article.

Go Ahead and Scream
Jessica Jenks of University of Michigan News published this article about our ongoing research into the
use of theatre-based voice training during childbirth. U-M news is a widely read site, earning nearly 1.5
million page views in the 3rd quarter of 2023.

 

UPCOMING MANUSCRIPT

Use of Vocalization in Childbirth: Provider Perspectives 

In the summer of 2022, our research team conducted a series of focus groups aimed at understanding provider perspectives on the use of vocalization in childbirth. Our findings have been already shared at conferences in the US and the UK, and the team is working on submitting for publication in Fall 2023.

PUBLICATIONS

 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

(click to view)

Primary investigator on this interdisciplinary, qualitative research project with U of M midwives Ruth Zielinski and Lee Roosevelt and U of M Obstetrician Lisa Harris. We utilized theatre voice training and adapted it to be utilized within the context of childbirth and labor. 

Primary author on this article centered around participants' experiences of VASTA’s 2021 online Rising Voices Conference, in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.

Co-authored this peer-reviewed article with colleague, Jennifer Mercein, Assistant Professor of Acting at Tulane University.  It will be included in The Voice and Speech Review, a scholarly journal created by the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and published by Taylor and Francis. In it, we explore the alternative application of voice work within the context of childbirth as a potential tool for relaxation, focus and pain management during labor and delivery.

Other Publications

(Click to view)

Impolite Birth: Explorations into the Benefits of Theatre Voice Training for Childbirth, Penn State’s Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) Blog (Published March 8, 2021)

  • Authored this blog article sharing the genesis and ongoing journey of my research into the use of voice and sound during childbirth. 

 

Senior Editor of The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA) (www.dialectsarchive.com.) 

  • A complete list of my publications is available at the above link. Responsibilities include identifying subjects and recording and analyzing audio samples of their speech.  Samples are then reviewed and published on the website as a free resource. I have published more than 20 samples from regions all over the world. 

 

International Workshops

Voice, Presence and Song: Introducing and Applying Fitzmaurice Voicework (November 2023 - Helsinki, Finland)

I was invited to Finland's most prestigious theatre conservatory to work with a group of 2nd year graduate actors for a week long intensive. The workshop was led in collaboration with my Finnish colleague, Tuuli-Mariia Nilsson, and focused on the exploration of Fitzmaurice Voicework and its application to text and song.


Conference Presentations

American College of Nurse Midwives Annual Meeting and Exhibition

  • Impolite Birth: Provider perceptions regarding vocalization during labor and birth (May 2023 – Orlando, Florida)

Our research from the Impolite Birth: Provider Focus Groups project was accepted and disseminated via a Podium Presentation by collaborator, Dr. Ruth Zielinski at this national conference for Nurse Midwives.

 

International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference

  • Impolite Birth: Provider Perspectives (April 2023 – Grange-over-Sands, UK)

This ongoing research was presented at this International Conference for birth providers by collaborator Dr. Lee Roosevelt. The lecture specifically focused on the most recent research on feedback and perspectives of birth workers on use of vocalization during labor and birth.

 

  • Impolite Birth: Theatre Voice Training and the Use of Voice in Labor and Birth (September 2022 – Arhuus, Denmark)

This research, stemming from the project which I initiated and for which I am a primary investigator, was presented by collaborator Dr. Ruth Zielinski at this international conference on labor and birth.

 

Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) 

  • Impolite Birth: Theatre Voice Training and the Experience of Childbirth (August 2022 – Detroit, MI)

This presentation shared the results of an interdiscipinary, cross-institutional research project titled “Impolite Birth” which explores the application of theatre-based voice training within the context of labor and childbirth. It was presented by myself and University of Michigan collaborator, Dr. Ruth Zielinski.

  • Teaching Without Grades, Part 1 (August 2021 – Online)

Invited to be on this panel discussion investigating the different ways that instructors are innovating and moving beyond the traditional grading system and centering learning above achievement of a grade. Other panelists include faculty at Brock University, Tulane University, Kent State and Dickinson College.

  • The Problem with Women’s Voices (August 2020 – Online)

Organized, moderated and participated in this panel exploring biases related to women’s voices within theatre training, professional theatre and in broader societal contexts. Panelists included Amy Chaffee of Tulane University, Megan Chang of Providence College and Sara Clare Corporandy, Artistic Director of Detroit Public Theatre.

  • Warm-Up: Unlocking the Power Within (August 2017 – Las Vegas, NV)

Collaborated with Linklater teacher, Ben Corbett, to lead our peer attendees through a workshop focused on preparing the performer to engage in large-scale, vocally and physically demanding work.

  • Using Vocal Arts to Hear, Hold and Help (August 2017 – Las Vegas, NV)

Co-presented this peer-reviewed panel discussion with two colleagues from Santa Clara University and Tulane University. The topic focuses on alternative applications to the vocal arts outside of strictly performance. My contribution surrounds the use of vocal arts during childbirth. 

Voice and Speech Trainers Association Conference (VASTA)

  • Quarantine Stories - VASTA (August 2021 – Online)

Featured interviewee in this hour-long project investigating the ways in which VASTA members adjusted, struggled and innovated as voice and speech professionals amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl46W0c2rqk

  • Finding Instinctive Response via Instinctive Breath (August 2019 – Orlando, FL)

Invited to present at VASTA on this work which works to deepen one’s ability to be present and respond truthfully on impulse.

  • The Birth Process and Voice Training (August 2018 – Seattle, WA)

Co-Presented this lecture to peers outlining the peer-reviewed article I co-authored, “The Birth Process and Voice Training: The Glorious Chorus, A Qualitative Pilot Inquiry” (article details below).

  • Dyno-Group Destructuring  (August 2016- Chicago, IL)

Invited to present at the conference for teachers and practitioners in my field, this co-taught, peer-reviewed workshop explored the use of Fitzmaurice Voicework® destructuring within the context of partner and group work. 

 

Sparking Success: Faculty Development Conference, Tulane University CELT (Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning)

  • Teaching with Ease: More Isn’t Always Better (January 2022)

Lead presenter for this virtual session with Tulane professor Jenny Mercein to fellow educators which featured practical strategies and simple exercises adapted from their theatre and voice training which enable instructors to find more vocal and physical ease and enhance presence during classes.

 

  • Practical Strategies for Avoiding Strain and Finding Greater Ease While Teaching Online (December 2020)

Presented this breakout session with colleague and Tulane professor Jenny Mercein. The session shared practical strategies and simple exercises adapted from their theatre and voice training background to enable professors to prevent undue instructor strain and tension while teaching online.

 

Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region 7

  • Introduction to Fitzmaurice Voicework  (February 2017 – Denver, CO)

Two-hour workshop focused on the principles of Fitzmaurice Voicework, geared towards college students.  Students went through a progressive vocal work session aimed at creating sound in the most efficient, tension-free way possible.

 

Southeastern Theatre Conference

  • Introduction to Fitzmaurice Voicework (March 2014)

Invited to teach at the largest regional conference for theatre, this was an introduction to voice for novices who have had no experience with Fitzmaurice work in the past. 

 

Florida Theatre Conference

  • Standard British Accent (October 2013)

Invited to present this lively and fast introduction to the most utilized dialect for actors. Students received a simple breakdown of the signature sounds, an idea of use of pitch and resonance and were invited to apply the dialect through conversation and play.

  • Songs as Monologues (October 2012 – 2013)

Asked to teach this acting workshop for musical theatre at FTC. Students learn to approach a song from an acting standpoint, treating the song like a monologue.

  • Acting for Musical Theatre  (October 2011)

Invited to teach this workshop aimed at college students. Participants worked with partners on using songs to explore objectives, tactics and obstacles.

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