20 Questions with Jan Roberts-Breslin

Jan Roberts-Breslin illustration

Jan Roberts-Breslin is Emerson’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. A professor of Visual and Media Arts, she is the founding director of the College’s MFA in Film and Media Art. In 2014, she began serving as the interim head of Graduate and Professional Studies—a role that became permanent in 2017. A media artist whose experimental video work has won awards at international and domestic festivals, she is also the author of Making Media: Foundations of Sound and Image Production.   

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
    Sunset in Maine. 

  2. If you could study any field aside from your own, what would it be? 

  3. Whom do you most admire? 
    My students current, and past, who have such passion and work so hard to tell their stories. 

  4. What are three adjectives you’d use to describe Emerson? 
    Vibrant, dynamic, and challenging. 

  5. Where is your favorite spot at Emerson?  
    The view from the Ansin Building. 

  6. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
    It’ll be fine. 

  7. What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
    Personally, my kids; professionally, the creation of the MFA in Film and Media Art. 

  8. What is your greatest regret? 
    That I didn’t see more of the world when I was young. 

  9. Who are your favorite writers? 
    Doris Lessing, John Updike, William Faulkner. 

  10. Reading on a Kindle or other device: Yay or nay? 
    Nay. Reading is a break from the screen. 

  11. If you could have dinner with one person—alive or dead—who would it be? 
    My late father, Eugene. He would be so happy about how his family has grown and what they have accomplished. And he was just so funny. 

  12. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 
    Abolishing hate. 

  13. Coffee or tea? 

  14. Beach or mountains? 
    Either if a water view. 

  15. Broadway or Hollywood? 
    Geographically, Broadway. Creative output, Hollywood.

  16. If you could spend 48 hours in any city around the globe, where would you go? 
    Reykjavik and probably spend 40 of them in the hot springs. 

  17. What song are you most embarrassed to love? 
    “Wichita Lineman.” 

  18. You’re stranded on an island. What three possessions would you not be able to live without?
    A flint, a machete, and a sunhat. 

  19. What is your motto? 
    It’ll be fine. 

  20. What’s the best thing about Emerson? 
    It’s always changing, never boring. 
CategoriesFall 2021