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PMA grad students honored with multiple awards

By: Yvette Lisa Ndlovu,  A&S Communications
October 2, 2018

Graduate students from the Department of Performing Media Arts have been honored with multiple fellowships and grants over the course of the year.  Recipients of awards include Caitlin Kane, Jayme Kilburn, Rosalie Purvis, Elaigwu Ameh, Kristza Pozsonyi and Sam Blake.

These grants, which support research, creative pursuits and teaching, give grad students the opportunity for peer academic review, funds to carry out projects and finances for travel.

Kane received numerous awards including the Engaged Cornell Opportunity Grant, New York Public Humanities Fellowship, Arch and Bruce Brown Production Grant, Community Arts Partnership GAP Grant, President’s Council of Cornell Women Microgrant and Cornell Council for the Arts Grant. Kane also received the Tompkins County Specific Opportunity Stipend and another Cornell Council for the Arts Grant in partnership with Erin Stoneking.

The Public Humanities Fellowship is a year–long fellowship that offers graduate students a chance to explore the public application of their scholarly interests, including training in the methods of the public humanities, networking and professional development. The Community Arts Partnership GAP Grant funds arts and cultural projects in Tompkins County. The Specific Opportunity Stipend of Tompkins County is designed to support Tompkins County artists. The Engaged Cornell Opportunity Grant is designed to help support faculty and staff doing large and small community-engaged initiatives.

“The vast majority of the grants and awards that I received this year went toward a five-week workshop production of a new documentary play, ‘The Loneliness Project,’ which I have been developing with a collective of artists from Chicago since 2012,” Kane said.

A performer in the production of The Loneliness Project

Production of "The Loneliness Project"

The workshop production was part of the Association of Graduates in Theatre (AGIT) Lab, which aims to explore the intersection of graduate students’ scholarly and artistic work.

“In this instance, the lab created the opportunity for me to combine my previous/continuing artistic practice with my research on the ethics of documentary theatre and my pedagogy in my freshman writing seminar classroom and as a teacher of acting and directing,” Kane said.

The grants, totaling $26,200, funded the lead artist and two collaborating artists in Ithaca, covered production costs and allowed for the provision of small stipends to local artists who participated in the workshop.

Kilburn received the Individual Artist Award from the Baltimore Office of Promotions and the Arts, the Engaged Cornell Student and Community Excellence in Engagement Award, Engaged Cornell Graduate Grant from the Women’s Performance Workshop, Timothy Murray Graduate Travel Grant from Cornell’s Society for the Humanities, the Cornell Graduate School Research Travel Grant, the American Studies Research Travel Grant and the DG Jared Foundation grant.

Killburn facilitated the Women’s Performance Workshop, an ongoing workshop dedicated to developing a community of women. The product of this workshop “You’d Be So Much Prettier If You …” was showcased by the Strand Theater Company in Maryland.

A performer in the production of "You'd be Prettier If"

Production of "You'd Be So Much Prettier If You.." by the Strand Theatre Company in Maryland.

Purvis received funding from Engaged Cornell, the Society for the Humanities, the Einaudi Center, Latina/o Studies Program, Teatrotaller, the comparative literature department of Jadavpur University and the English department at Samsi College. The funding went toward "Root Map," a play about migration and national borders. The play was a collaboration between members of the Cornell community and Chaepani, a theatre company based in Kolkata, India. Purvis' dissertation studies the work of Chaepani as a model for creating interlingual, cross-border performance. Purvis spent five weeks in India co-teaching literature and performance workshops at Jadavpur and Samsi College. 

PMA grad student Rosalie Purvis collaborates with  theatre company Chaepani

PMA grad student Rosalie Purvis collaborates with the theatre company Chaepani

Other Ph.D. students receiving similar awards included:

  • Pozsonyi, who received an award from the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines for her work in PMA 1135: Screen Queens of Comedy. Pozsonyi developed a course to analyze how American comediennes in the 20th and 21st centuries tackle social issues through humor.
  • Blake received the New York State Public Humanities Fellowship, which enabled him to work at a local professional theatre company
  • Ameh received a grant from Engaged Cornell for his dissertation research, ethnographic encounters (interviews and story circles) with internally displaced persons in his home country of Nigeria. Ameh is writing a series of 10-minute plays and a full length play that will be staged this winter at different locations in Africa. Ameh will use his grant to attend the 2018 Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop (EESW) in Minnesota. The workshop will take place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.      

Elaigwu Ameh leading a workshop with internally displaced persons in Nigeria

PMA grad student Ameh leading a workshop with internally displaced persons in Nigeria

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.

 Four performers in the production of "You be Prettier If"