Pursuing Global Exploration: Watson Nominees Announced

Four Ursinus seniors are the nominees for The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship,  which offers  them the chance to complete a creative project during a year traveling abroad.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship offers college graduates of “unusual promise” a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel — in international settings new to them. It is hoped they will enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination,
openness, and leadership.

Fellows are selected from only 40 colleges nationally which have been reviewed for the rigor of their liberal arts programs. In Pennsylvania, only Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore and Ursinus colleges can nominate students. Ursinus has been a member of the Watson schools since 2002, and has sent eight Fellows to complete their journeys abroad.

The students competing for the Fellowship, to be announced in March, and their proposed projects are:

Kelsey Bullington-Hodge  – The Art of Communication: Exploring How Visual Art Sparks Dialogue in Post-Conflict Societies 

Countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and El Salvador

“For my Watson year, I will explore the role of visual art in promoting communication across dividing lines in countries that have experienced devastating civil conflict in the past three decades. With the help of NGOs, artists, museum professionals, and community members, I will delve into the art worlds of post-conflict societies. I hope to walk away from this year with a greater awareness of how different communities use visual art to start conversation concerning divisive issues and how visual art can be used to prevent the recurrence of conflict by maintaining a space for open dialogue.”

Michael Fried – Artisan Musicians: Exploring Expression Through Ingenuity, Craft and Music 

Countries: The Gambia, Australia, Brazil and Madagascar.

“Music is a fundamental form of creativity and communication. It used to be that artists would create or even invent their own instruments in order to find their voices as musicians. Now, we have separated the art of making instruments from playing instruments, and most musicians buy commercially made products. In this project, I will look at the importance of this original process of creation, as it relates to an individual’s creativity and expression and, as whole, the role of this art in community and culture. By traveling to four different cultures where there is still a tradition of artisan musicians, I hope to shine a light on the value of this vanishing art and draw personal lessons on my own creativity and its place in my life.”

Atticus Graven – Synergies: How Culture Sculpts Food Systems, and How
Food Systems Sculpt Back

Countries: India, Vietnam , Croatia, Morocco and Argentina.

“Food systems are a literal necessity every place on earth. Economics has theory-based explanations for the forms these systems take, but they ignore the rich giveand-take symbiosis that between food systems and the cultures of the communities they serve. I will travel to parts of the world where food systems are vastly different from those we have in the U.S.A. I will immerse myself in the culture of the people who are the links in the food supply chain and gain an understanding of what forces, economic and cultural, have molded the system into its present form.”

Codey Young – Releasing the Caged Bird: Chronicling Artistic Expressions
of Black Masculinity

Countries: Dominican Republic, Brazil, Germany and France

“I will travel through African Diasporic countries seeking to understand Black men’s use of artistic expressions to create a sense of identity rooted in their link to African ancestry, yet adapting to the cultural and historic circumstances that define their geographic location. By using my own poetry to chronicle my encounters and sharing it with my fellow artists, I hope to echo the voices of their unique experiences and gain deeper insight into the bonds that connect Black male artists around the world

The Watson is a one-year grant of $28,000 for study and travel outside the United States. Watson Fellows must
create, execute, and evaluate their own projects.


One thought on “Pursuing Global Exploration: Watson Nominees Announced

  1. Congratulations to all the nominees, especially Codey Young! What a magnificent opportunity!

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