An alumnus of Harvard University and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Dr. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin⎯ a.k.a. Dr. Amma ⎯ creates artistic works based on archival research and writes about late-19th-century black performance. Bridging the worlds of academia and arts/entertainment, she is a university professor who also has worked for the National Endowment for the Humanities, National History Day, Inc., and A&E® Networks/The History Channel (THC) and whose award-winning creative research has appeared nationally and internationally at festivals, conferences, and in academic journals.
Dr. Amma will hold the College of Arts and Sciences Professorship during Fall 2017 while the rest of the creative team developing "At Buffalo", a new musical theater performance based on the 1901 World Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, are here as CAI Artists-in-Residence. During their residency Dr. Amma and the Creative Team of "At Buffalo" will conduct site-specific rehearsals and concert readings of At Buffalo and work with Buffalo Museum of Science, Torn Space Theatre.
Race was on display at the 1901 World Pan American Exposition at Buffalo, New York. In exhibits like “Darkest Africa”, “Old Plantation”, and “The American Negro Exhibit”, concessionaires presented unique, and often conflicting, visions of blackness in America at the turn of the twentieth century. These exhibits left behind a fragmented archive of descriptions, newspaper articles, photographs, and film clips that sheds new light on a critical moment in the construction of modern black and American identity. At Buffalo, a landmark new musical, brings this archive to life—performing it virtually verbatim, making present an experience of the past when definitions of race were literally written, directed, choreographed, and performed in order to reconstruct the American character in the wake of national crisis.