Visiting artists to perform, provide workshops on creating art from research

November 05, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 12-13, Julian Saporiti, doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology and director of the Arts Initiative Songwriters Workshop at Brown University, and Erin Aoyama, doctoral candidate in American studies at Brown University, will visit Penn State and provide two workshops and a concert at the Arts and Design Research Incubator (16 Borland Building, University Park).

"Processing Research Through Art: The 'No-No Boy' Experience"

Monday, Nov. 12, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

With an emphasis on arts-based research, Saporiti and Aoyama will discuss the ways in which they use music to process their research and family legacies through the multimedia concert "No-No Boy." They will break down a few of their pieces, illustrating the process of turning research into songwriting, and how this method affects teaching.

This workshop is free and open to the public, but registration is required at

"No-No Boy: A Multimedia Concert"

Monday, Nov. 12, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Taking inspiration from interviews with World War II Japanese incarceration camp survivors, his own family’s history living through the Vietnam War, and many other stories of Asian-American experience, Saporiti has transformed his doctoral research at Brown University into folk songs in an effort to bring these stories to a broader audience. Alongside Aoyama, a fellow doctoral student whose family was incarcerated at one of the ten Japanese-American concentration camps, "No-No Boy" aims to shine a light on experiences that have remained largely hidden in the American consciousness. Using music to process their research and family legacies, Saporiti and Aoyama work to illuminate an understudied past and, in doing so, generate conversations about the present.

"Exploring Identity Through Art and Research"

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Saporiti and Aoyama use music to process their research and family legacies through the multimedia concert "No-No Boy." In this workshop, they will discuss their processes and lead activities prompting participants to consider their own identities, how those identities may be informed and conveyed through arts-based and other forms of research, and the potential for such exploration to transform education and curriculum development.

This workshop is free and open to the public, but registration is required at

Saporiti fronted the Berklee-trained indie-rock group, The Young Republic, from 2004-2010. After releasing several well received albums and touring extensively around North America and Europe, he relocated to Laramie, Wyoming to pursue an master of arts in American studies. Upon completion of his degree, he took a job lecturing at the University. While living out west, Saporiti made several trips to the remains of the Heart Mountain concentration camp in northwest Wyoming where, during World War II, the U.S. government unconstitutionally incarcerated over 10,000 people of Japanese descent, most of whom were U.S. citizens. These trips made a profound impact and inspired Saporiti to begin interviewing camp survivors and researching the music performed in the camps.

From these interviews, and from thinking about his own displaced family of Vietnamese refugees, he began work on "No-No Boy." Saporiti is currently based in Providence, Rhode Island, continuing this research, composing and recording music, and pursuing a doctorate at Brown University. He also directs the Brown Arts Initiative Songwriters Workshop and teaches an undergraduate course expanding the work of "No-No Boy."

Aoyama is pursuing a doctorate in the American studies department at Brown University. Her involvement with "No-No Boy" began when she and Saporiti met in August of 2017 as participants on the Brown University Japanese American Incarceration Mobile Workshop. Her research examines the interplay between Japanese-American incarceration and the experiences of African-Americans in the Jim Crow South, focusing on the two concentration camps in Arkansas and the segregated American military. Aoyama is a legacy of Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming, where her grandmother was incarcerated during World War II, and her involvement with "No-No Boy" has been a powerful way to connect with her family’s history, using art and storytelling.

This programming is sponsored by Penn State College of Education, Department of Asian Studies, Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design (C-PAD), and the Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI). Read more about "No-No Boy" at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 20, 2018