Two Montana State University students and a film professor have received grants from the MSU College of Arts and Architecture to help fund summer research projects.
James Joyce, assistant professor of film, Angela Mary Demro, an architecture graduate student from Gardiner and Clara DeWeese, a senior photography student from Portland, Oregon, are the 2017 recipients of the Mary Edsal McLaughlin Award.
The awards were announced recently by Royce Smith, dean of the college.
“The Mary Edsal McLaughlin Imagination Grant has served as a powerful invitation to dream and do in the College of Arts and Architecture,” Smith said. “This grant has encouraged our students and faculty to discover where good ideas can take them, whether that idea is a new body of work, the discovery of a new artistic process or the design of a new creative product. The McLaughlin’s generosity has ensured that our creative community can thrive and reap the rewards of commitment and freedom of thinking.”
Joyce will receive an award of $2,165 to research xenophobia, or the fear or dislike of people from other countries or cultures, how it develops and the challenges for small communities of welcoming outsiders. Specifically, the award will allow Joyce to travel to Macedonia to interview people about the current refugee crisis and closing borders in that country after a group of Somali and Afghan refugees were hit by a train while attempting to travel to safety in Germany in 2015.
“I am grateful that the McLaughlin award will allow me to visit Macedonia to see firsthand how people have responded to the migrant crisis,” Joyce said. “The research will be the basis for a screenplay I am writing that sets the story of the outsider in a fictitious rural Montana town. My hope is to explore the idea of xenophobia in a story and setting that may help Americans better understand what it is like for the displaced, for those who wish to start a new life, a better life. In the current climate of crisis, it could help inform policy.”
Demro will receive an award of $935 to study and document the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park and the cultural landscape of the Bears Ears National Monument. She plans to create a series of depictions highlighting both the technological and cultural aspects of the community that make it a powerful precedent for modern design, according to her proposal.
“I'm incredibly grateful to have been chosen for this grant,” Demro said. “Any opportunity to study architecture outside the classroom is welcomed, but this grant in particular stands out because it is driven by curiosity and exploration.”
Demro said she long has been interested in the region of the U.S. Southwest. She plans to create experiential drawings “that highlight the beauty and simplicity of these cliff dwellings and point to the things future design can learn from the past.”
DeWeese is receiving an award of $1,000 to travel to New Orleans to interview several women as part of her project to examine the process of Southern women navigating the evolving role of women in a society traditionally defined by a male definition of femininity.
“I want to create a photo series that presents feminine strength in unconventional, inspiring ways,” DeWeese said. “I am beyond thrilled that grants for artists, such as the Mary Edsal McLaughlin Grant, can provide the resources for artists to create meaningful work.”
Joyce, Demro and De Weese will present public seminars next year to showcase their projects.
The Mary Edsal McLaughlin Awards were created by Don McLaughlin, an MSU architecture graduate and a principal of Place Architecture, and his brother, Richard, who endowed the awards in the memory of their mother, the late Mary Edsal McLaughlin, herself an accomplished artist, who also attended MSU.
The awardees, students or faculty who propose a project that addresses the visual exploration of place and quality; curiosity and innovation; and people and place, are chosen by a committee overseen by the dean of the College of Arts and Architecture.
For more information on the McLaughlin grant, visit: http://sfp.montana.edu/scholarships/McLaughlin.pdf.
For more information on the College of Arts and Architecture, visit: www.montana.edu/caa/.
Contact: JoDee Palin, College of Arts and Architecture, (406) 994-6654 or firstname.lastname@example.org