Contact

pswing@brandeis.edu

Research Areas

Anthropology; Ritual; Creativity; Women and Spirituality; Ethnomusicology 

Education

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

M.A., University of Texas at Austin

B.A., Wesleyan University

Links

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Blue Moon Creativity

Pam Swing

Pam Swing

Pam Swing

Pam Swing is an anthropologist, folklorist and photographer who facilitates circles of women. She uses ritual, art, silence, poetry and play to create sacred time/space where women feel safe to explore their unique inner voice. She is especially interested in feminist approaches to how we access and sustain creativity. Her underlying goal is to help women recognize and cultivate the conditions that foster renewal and growth.

Her interest in creativity and applied anthropology started in 1974, when she had a unique opportunity to assist Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson teach traditional music in Shetland Isles schools. She later did doctoral research on this highly successful educational experiment. Pam has been exhibiting her feminine images of nature and other photographs since 1997. She developed Image Poem workshops, in which elementary school students wrote poems inspired by her photos, as a way of nurturing children’s innate creativity. She received a grant to offer this workshop in rural, suburban and inner city schools to compare poetic responses to the same group of photographs. Her work with women grows from her connection with Greenfire Women’s Retreat in Maine. She began going on personal retreats in 1992, and became a team member for consultations with retreatants as well as facilitating retreats.

Current Projects

I am working on the concept of “crossing thresholds” as a metaphor for transitions we encounter throughout our lives. I am developing as series of “Threshold Practices” workshops for women in which participants explore their visceral awareness of threshold crossings through writing, movement, drawing, music, and other expressive modalities. 

Representative Publications

Swing, Pamela. “Teaching Traditional Fiddle in Shetland Isles Schools,” Folklife Annual 88-89 (1998): 86-99.

Anderson, Tom and Pam Swing. Haand Me Doon da Fiddle: Shetland Island Fiddle Tunes for Bairns of Aa Ages. Stirling, Scotland: University of Stirling Monograph Series, 1979.