The Gray Center’s signature initiative is the Mellon Collaborative Fellowship for Arts Practice and Scholarship program, designed to foster intensive and experimental collaborations between artists and scholars. Click here to read more about the nature of our fellowships. To learn more about the application process click here.
Listings of current and recent fellowships below offer access to more information about each fellowship and its related projects. An archive of all fellowships can be found by clicking here. As part of the Fellowship Program, the Gray Center offers a unique array of co-taught courses throughout the year. Current and upcoming courses are listed here.
Experimental Cinema and Speculative Approaches to the Archive and Media Histories
In Fall 2022, filmmaker Christopher Harris and University of Chicago scholar Allyson Nadia Field begin a collaborative and creative engagement with issues of film materiality, loss, fragmentation, opacity, erasure, silencing, and survival within African American film and media history.
Radical Therapies is a research and experimental film project, bringing together an anthropologist (William Mazzarella), philosopher (Aaron Schuster) and artist (Imogen Stidworthy) to investigate questions of therapy today. In a context of global crises on many fronts—covid, climate, racism, energy, economy, Ukraine—this collaborative team sees a widespread preoccupation with trauma and healing.
If the musical is “a play or movie in which singing and dancing play an essential part,” then writer/theater-maker Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, University of Chicago scholar David Levin, and musician/writer/producer Erin McKeown are making an ‘undo-sical,’ where song and dance don't play a conventional role. Through a series of workshops with Chicago-based musicians, sound-makers, and actors starting in Fall 2022, complemented by a student seminar, The Undo-sical Project unsettles, recomposes and experiments with a musical experience of/with/against a script written by one of the collaborators.
Dance as History
Tara Zahra, Homer J. Livingston Professor of History, and professional dancer and dance instructor Meredith Dincolo develop new forms of embodied historical and artistic practice, including new methods for historical research and for representing and transmitting history, as well as new choreographic vocabularies for conveying narrative and storytelling.
The Useless Tool
There are two questions at the center of this collaborative fellowship between Kyle Beachy, Tina Post, and Alexis Sablone: What might skateboarding offer to the pursuit of the humanities? What might the humanities offer skateboarding? Building off of each collaborator's respective expertise in movement, performance, narrative, and architecture, The Useless Tool will function as a platform to focus on and experiment with such core components of skateboarding as ethics, style, failure, destruction, and repurposing.
Beginning in Spring 2021, Amber Ginsburg (Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago), Sara Black (Department of Sculpture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Samantha Frost (Department of Political Science and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) engage in a two-year collaborative art project called Untidy Objects. At the center of this project is a multi-sensory living sculpture, through which the collaborators aim to capture the relationship between a living subject and its world.
Illustrator Julia Kuo joins two University of Chicago physicians and researchers, Monica E. Peek and Elizabeth L. Tung of the Department of Medicine, for Common Place, a Gray Center Mellon Collaborative Fellowship that considers how illustration might play a role in examining the barriers that difference and distrust can form between patients and their doctors.
Transliterative Tease: A Radical Reader
Drawing on the form of the board book or reading primer, and in particular its avant-garde heritage and pedagogical mission in the former USSR, Transliterative Tease: A Radical Reader, takes up the problem of worldbuilding through language acquisition, albeit a century later: that is, a decidedly decolonial one where Soviet books were imperialist, a queer one where the former were decidedly heteronormative, a heteroglossic one where the Soviets were almost Muslim in their emphasis on unicity.