Professor Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock Wins Prestigious National Communication Association Award

Friday, September 11, 2020

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock, communication studies professor and director of performance studies, has been named the recipient of the Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies from the National Communication Association. The award is given annually for outstanding published research and creative scholarship in interpretation and performance studies during the previous three-year period.
Scott-Pollock’s work centers on the personalized stories of stigmatized bodies. The National Communication Association commended Scott-Pollock for her book Embodied Performance as Applied Research, Art, and Pedagogy. The association described it as a “profoundly personal and emotional account of and handbook for those who would do the kind of community-based work Dr. Scott-Pollock has done with performance ensembles.”
“To have my national peers choose my book as the most influential work in the past three years tells me that storytelling for social justice matters and has impact,” said Scott-Pollock. “I'm deeply grateful that UNCW and the Department of Communication Studies has created an environment where my research and my teaching can be integrated on a level that can enable me to create a book that resonates on a national level.”
Scott-Pollock’s research provides tools for people to reframe the discomfort that individuals have with atypical bodies into positive understandings that work toward social justice. “Personal storytelling performance can foster connection, empathy and understanding that allows us to embrace the reality of our inevitably changing bodies,” she said. “It can also motivate us to work to change culture to flex around and make space for rather than exclude bodies. My book maps how this happens and why we should engage in this practice that can transform how we interact with each other as we work toward a better, more inclusive society.”
Other recent publications include “She Was Here: Narrative Research as Resistance to the Loss of 'Culturally Uncomfortable' Identities,” an article that focuses on how memory loss gives some adults freedom from social pressures to tell stories others find uncomfortable. Scott-Pollock and Hunter Houtzer ’15 conducted an analysis for the research with the help of a Summer Undergraduate Research and Creativity Awards grant awarded by the UNCW Office of Undergraduate Studies.
“NCA’s annual awards honor communication scholars’ teaching, scholarship and service,” NCA Executive Director Trevor Parry-Giles stated in a release. “NCA is proud to recognize Dr. Scott-Pollock’s significant contributions to the communication discipline with this award.”
In 2019, Scott-Pollock received the Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education from the National Communication Association in recognition of her excellence in teaching and professional achievement as evidenced by research and creative scholarship or service to the campus and community.
Scott-Pollock, a faculty member since 2010, directs the UNCW Storytellers, Hawk Tale Players and Just Us: Performance Troupe for Social Justice, which showcases performers’ personal narratives of social justice. She will be presented the Heston Award virtually on Nov. 21 at the NCA 106th Annual Convention.
- Venita Jenkins