The pilot group of Field Trip Fellows went on seven field trips over the course of a few months. Many of them are documented in a blog.

UChicago Fellows

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Mallory James  (PhD student, Department of Anthropology, UChicago) participates in the interdisciplinary area of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Her current work investigates how the application of knowledge and the production of knowledge coexist in engineering practice. Via ethnographic study in Eastern Australia, she explores the relationships between the fossil energy industries, the engineering professions, and energy technology research. After receiving her B.A. in Anthropology from Princeton University, she worked for three years as a research analyst within a technical and management consulting firm.

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Nicole Bitler Kuehnle (PhD candidate, Department of Evolutionary Biology, UChicago) studies native and non-native geographic expansion in marine mollusks. Nicole’s research uses fossil and modern data on marine clams and snails to compare evolutionary changes in species that have encountered new habitats, either by moving in response to climate change or through human introductions.


Richard Williamson (MFA'15, Department of Visual Art, UChicago) holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, where upon graduating he was awarded the Fellowship for the Royal College of Art, London, which he attended 2010-11. He was an Arts, Science & Culture Graduate Fellow from 2014-15 while pursing his MFA in Visual Art at the University of Chicago. Through sculpture, installation, and photo-based works, Williamson is interested in addressing the design of utility, utopia, and social harmony, looking towards certain pitfalls of progress and consequences of the cultural imagination. He has exhibited across the U.S. and U.K., most recently work-shopping Prototype Furniture for the Good Times Waiting Room.

SAIC Fellows

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Satya Basu (M.Arch'15, AIADO, SAIC) is interested in responsive architecture and algorithmic design as part of small practice in collaboration with other fields and designers. He is a Digital Design faculty member in the Continuing Education Studies program at SAIC and an architectural designer at Gensler. Basu is a graduate of the University of Chicago, with a double-concentration BA in Law, Letters & Society (LLSO) and Philosophy. Post-graduation, Satya worked as a Legal Assistant for DLA Piper before moving to New York City in 2007. Between 2007 and 2012, Basu worked for GFI Group as a financial broker while founding his own practice as a designer. His firm Satya Design works on residential interior designs with completed projects throughout New York City and the DC area. Basu completed his Masters of Architecture at SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) in 2015. Basu’s more recent design work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Architectural Foundation.

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Troy Douglas Pieper’s (MA'15, New Arts Journalism, SAIC) long history working in publications of all kinds and in all formats has brought his interests from economics to political and social activism, to art history and contemporary art, and finally to architecture and design. These latter forms for him encompass much of the former, and so naturally, he is currently putting together a publication about the Chicago design world. While at SAIC, Pieper was Managing Editor for F Newsmagazine, and has worked as a Copywriter, Content Manager and Managing Editor for numerous digital and print publications in Chicago and Minneapolis.  

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Tina Tahir (MFA'15 in Visual and Critical Studies, SAIC) grew up in Southern Germany and currently lives in Chicago. Using images of nature and botany, she makes drawings, sculptures, books, and installations that survey the precariousness of nature and the poetics of destruction. Tahir’s work urges a reconsideration of the natural world—poisonous foliage, toxic blossoms, and nature’s force over man-built spaces, objects, and structures—bringing its ambivalent character into focus. Her research has been focused on topics of future ruins and destruction of art/in art/as art. She has not only become a passionate botanist, exploring the dark little secrets of toxic plants but also turned into a “ruinist,” looking into taxonomies ranging from the tiniest particles of dust to the imperial rubbles of Rome. Her work has been shown at the Hyde Park Art Center, Threewalls gallery, Gallery 400, The Ballroom Projects, all in Chicago, as well as at the SCA Contemporary Art Lab, Albuquerque, and in Germany at Natalie Viaux Gallery, Hamburg, Domberger Galerie, Stuttgart, and BEGE Galerien, Ulm.

UIC Fellows

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Alejandro T. Acierto (MFA'14 in New Media Arts, UIC) is an artist and musician working in time-based media. He has exhibited his work at the Film Society of the Lincoln Center, Issue Project Room, Participant, and SOMArts Center as well as at Salisbury University and other non-traditional exhibition spaces. His performance works have been presented at Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival (BIPAF), the Center for Performance Research Brooklyn, Center for New Music and Technology at UC Berkeley, and at the Slingshot Festival for Music, Art, & Technology in Athens, Georgia. He was a 2014-15 HATCH Projects Resident and has completed residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Banff Centre, and High Concept Laboratories in Chicago. Acierto is also a founding member of contemporary chamber orchestra Ensemble Dal Niente in Chicago, a recipient of the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the Darmstadt Festival for New Music. He can be heard on Carrier, Albany, New Focus, Avant Media, and Parlour Tapes+ Records and has recently issued a solo record on Prom Night Records. Acierto received his undergraduate degree from DePaul University, a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and an MFA in New Media Arts from University Illinois at Chicago.

SCI_UIC_Kera Mackenzie_biopic_200x.jpgKera MacKenzie (MFA'13 in Moving Image, UIC) is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist, educator, and programmer. Her work explores the space between moving images, photography, sets, and performance. She uses her individual and collaborative practice to investigate corporeal knowledge of the immaterial, notions of timespace, and the tricks and trades of media construction. She has screened and exhibited at spaces including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago Underground Film Festival, High Concept Laboratories, Links Hall, Gallery 400, and the MassArt Film Society. MacKenzie has been an artist-in-residence at High Desert Test Sites (New Mexico), ACRE (Wisconsin), and Culturia (Berlin). She studied at Bennington College, the Art Institute of Boston, and Transart Institute and received her MFA in Moving Image from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013.

Nicoletta Rousseva’s (PhD student, Department of Art History, UIC) research considers the ways in which post-socialist art in Eastern Europe and the former Yugoslavia addresses the region’s transition from socialism to capitalism. In addition to art in Eastern Europe, Nicoletta’s interests include critical theory, the histories of socialism and totalitarianism, and film and media art.