Anya Bershad is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Her thesis research focuses on the social and emotional effects of psychoactive drugs in humans. As part of the Arts/Sciences Initiative, she’s working on a documentary entitled “Fiction Addiction” in collaboration with Bill Hutchison (English). This project explores the concept of addiction as it applies to fictional narratives, especially serialized television, via a wide-ranging discussion with a variety of scholars and experts.
The Arts, Science & Culture Fellow grant enabled Bershad to travel with her collaborator Bill Hutchinson’s (Ph.D candidate, English, UChicago) to institutions across the country to interview writers, composers, and scholars for their documentary Fiction Addiction.
“The monthly [Fellows] discussions have … broadened our view of how multiple disciplines may contribute to a conversation on the compulsive consumption of fictional narratives.”
Hannah Brooks-Motl holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and is the author of the poetry collection The New Years (Rescue Press, 2014) and the chapbook The Montaigne Result (The Song Cave, 2013). With Stephen Burt, she helped edit the essays ofRandall Jarrell on W.H. Auden (Columbia, 2005). She is currently a PhD student in the English department at the University of Chicago.
The Arts, Science & Culture Fellows program allowed Brooks-Motl to freely explore the pedagogical implications of recitation and verse memorization as she pursued research at the intersection of poetry and dance in early modernism. Over the past year, Brooks-Motl used her grant to visit the archive of Josephine Miles, a poet and UC Berkley professor, and to attend a movement-based workshop hosted by the Joffrey Ballet.
“As an Arts, Sciences, and Cultures research fellow I’ve developed a sharper, or perhaps odder, angle of attentiveness toward the questions that undergird scholarly research as such; that is, through our monthly conversations and presentations I’ve come to understand the positions scholarly discourse assumes—positions that attempt to define, demarcate, or otherwise contain objects through methodologies—as matters of concerns, to borrow from Bruno Latour. The conversations of the group have not been to debunk or fatally expose the various contours of our disciplines … but to supplement them, to add to our available stores of understanding with new insights from fields very far from our own.”
Mallory James is a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Chicago, who participates in the interdisciplinary area of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Her current work investigates “future-oriented fossil fuels” by traveling closely, but not exclusively, alongside the expert practitioners who are developing the technologies and installing the infrastructure meant to bring fossil energies into the future. After receiving her B.A. in Anthropology from Princeton University in 2008, she worked for three years as a research analyst and writer within a technical and management consulting firm.
James used her Arts, Science & Culture Fellow grant to fund transcription services and for travel to Queensland, Australia to pursue the initial stages of her anthropological research on energy and fossil-fuel based industries.
“ I appreciated that we shared in-progress work with a focus on methodology. I’m deeply grateful to meet and socialize repeatedly with people from different fields. The fact that the conversations were continuous over a year was a positive element.”
Andrew McManus is a composer of orchestral, vocal, chamber and electronic music. Currently a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, his acoustic works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, Pacifica Quartet, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Spektral Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra and the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program. His electronic works have been presented at the University of South Florida and the Aries Composers Festival (Fort Collins, CO). A native of Massachusetts, he holds a masters’ degree from the Eastman School of Music and a bachelors’ degree from Yale University.
With his Arts, Science & Culture Fellow grant, McManus invested in software to facilitate the creation of a new series of electronic music compositions, titled Neurosonics, that reflect the behavior of epileptic neurons. These compositions build on a body of research McManus began in collaboration with Tahra Eissa (Ph.D candidate, Department of Neurobiology, UChicago) as an 2013-2014 AS&C Graduate Collaboration Grantee.
“I believe it is important for me to understand the realm of scientific research that I have chosen to engage with in Neurosonics. Without a better understanding of what researchers across scientific disciplines are doing, I can’t possibly create a useful artistic product from the data I’ve collected. I am very grateful for the opportunity and support that the group has afforded me this year.”
Daniel Reid grew up near Portland, Oregon. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State University in 2013 and joined the de Pablo group at the Institute for Molecular Engineering (University of Chicago) that same year. Daniel works in modeling glassy materials, uses electronic structure calculations along with molecular dynamics to simulate these complex materials. He enjoys running, biking, climbing, programming, and reading.
Reid put his Arts, Science & Culture Fellow grant towards attending a conference in Japan on the political and technological factors that influence the implementation of renewable energy generation.
“The Arts, Science, and Culture Initiative helped me realize how isolated I had been from fields outside of the sciences. In monthly meetings, one member would immerse the others in their work. In the presentations and workshops they gave, they would not only demonstrate the value of their work, but show their approach to doing it. These meetings gave me a chance to empathize with people outside of my discipline - to see what really went into a poet's verse, or a musician's piece. The Initiative has influenced my own work by helping me to understand the broad range of people that an idea or product must appeal to if it to be successful.”
Richard Williamson holds a B.F.A. 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 2010-2011. He is currently pursuing an M.F.A. from the Department of Visual Arts where he carries out soft experiments in photography, sculpture and installation. An Aquarius, his interests include the consequences of cultural imagination, ecology and preparations for the future, and the role of Imaging in these three spheres. He has exhibited across the U.S. and U.K., most recently work-shopping Prototype Furniture for the Good Times Waiting Room.
Williamson used his Arts, Science & Culture Fellow grant to support the production of his 2015 MFA Thesis Exhibition.
"[The Fellows] backgrounds, interests, and ideological peccadillos are distinct and fairly diverse which begs a different kind of thoughtfulness and attention that is very positive in my opinion."