Public Humanities Fellows -- 2017

The Humanities Center welcomed its first cohort of Public Humanities Fellows in summer 2017. (Above, from left to right: Ben Ogrodnik, Diego Villada, Jessica FitzPatrick, Kirsten Paine, and Sarah Hakimzadeh.) The fellowships placed humanities doctoral students in the dissertation-writing stage in dynamic positions at local cultural institutions that drew on their skills and knowledge, enhanced their research portfolios, and made significant contributions to our partners. All in all, the program's first year demonstrated the value of partnerships to research and teaching, and the importance of the humanities in the world at large. Read below for a description of this year's fellows and projects or click here for more information on the program.

 

Jessica FitzPatrick

  • Department: English
  • Partner: City of Asylum
  • Dissertation Title: Hacking the Future: The Space and Place of Earth in Postcolonial Science Fiction
  • Project Title: The Sampsonia Way Travel Ban Interview Series
  • Project Description: Jessica and Sarah Hakimzadeh (see below) collaborated on their project, which had them researching and interviewing writers from countries affected by President Trump's travel ban. Jessica's research focus on post-colonial literature made her a perfect fit for the project and helped guide her work finding, interviewing, and introducing chosen authors. Interviews will begin appearing online later this year.

Sarah Hakimzadeh

  • Department: English
  • Partner: City of Asylum
  • Dissertation Title: Empowering the Commons: The Rhetorical and Legal Arguments for Advancing the Public Interest
  • Project Title: The Sampsonia Way Travel Ban Interview Series
  • Project Description: Sarah and Jessica FitzPatrick (see above) collaborated on their project, which had them researching and interviewing writers from countries affected by President Trump's travel ban. Sarah was an excellent fit for the project based on her personal experience of living between cultures, as well as her research, which focuses on ways that linguistic culture can positively affect the community. Interviews with chosen writers will begin appearing online later this year.

Ben Ogrodnik

  • Department: History of Art and Architecture, Film Studies
  • Partner: Kelly Strayhorn Theater
  • Dissertation Title: Pittsburgh Post Industrial: Transnational Social Networks of Avant-Garde Film in the 1970s
  • Project Title: Movement Atlas: The Kelly Strayhorn Archives Project
  • Project Description: Ben's project had him digging in the archives of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, organizing materials and thinking of a way to present them to showcase ten years of "KST Presents...," the theater's program for emerging artists. Ben drew on his research into film and performance, as well as his training in digital media tools during his time at KST. He produced an interactive timeline that will soon be available on the KST website. Click here to read Ben's departmental bio.

 Kirsten Paine

  • Department: English
  • Partner: The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • Dissertation Title: "Not According to the Regulation of War": Intimate Civil War Writing by Female Nurses, Soldiers, and Spies
  • Project Title: Pittsburgh in the Civil War: A History Told Through Public Parks
  • Project Description: Kirsten's project sent her to local archives, museum collections, and private holdings searching for ways to document connections between Pittsburgh's parks and the American Civil War. She was the perfect person for the job, as her dissertation research focuses on women writers during the Civil War. A guidebook and curriculum materials will be available later this year, and other related events will be announced in the future. Click here to read Kirsten's departmental bio.

Diego Villada

  • Department: Theatre Arts
  • Partner: Kelly Strayhorn Theater 
  • Dissertation Title: Visiting the Living Roots Museum: Brazilian Roots Tourism and the Emancipatory Possible
  • Project Title: WE THE PEOPLE: Understanding Diversity at KST
  • Project Description: Diego's project involved developing a rich understanding of the diversity of Kelly Strayhorn's stakeholders and communicating that understanding to the public. His solution involved using text and images to profile KST stakeholders on social media--a perfect project for Diego given his research and experience with diversity in theater companies. You can see his work on KST's Instagram page. Click here to read Diego's departmental bio.

"The Public Humanities Fellowship Program matches Pitt graduate students with local organizations who need the expertise of academic researchers to carry out their missions. Sponsored by the Humanities Center, the program’s inaugural class uncovered aspects of historical and modern Pittsburgh. Fellows also found new perspectives on their doctoral research." Read more of Pittwire's article on the new fellows here.