Environmental Humanities Grant Recipients

June 4, 2020

In an effort to engage a wider public with humanities perspectives on environmental issues, we created the Environmental Humanities Grant Program. We invited members of the Yale community, including students, faculty, and eligible staff, to submit proposals for funding for public humanities projects broadly related to the environment. These projects are intended to engage with a wider public through community art installations, educational programming, and accessible media projects. Please help us congratulate this year’s Environmental Humanities Grant Recipients. We will continue to update the website with work, reflections and other announcements regarding the EH grant projects. Learn more about the recipients and their projects below: 

Chelsea Jack (PhD Candidate, Anthropology) — “HEMP: AN AGRICULTURAL REVIVAL”

“HEMP: AN AGRICULTURAL REVIVAL” is a short documentary film that is part of an ongoing film series created by Jack about the nascent hemp industry in New York state. Jack interviews local growers that produce hemp for CBD products in an ethnological project related to her dissertation. 

Supraja Balasubramanian (PhD Candidate, Physics) and Tyler Lutz (PhD Candidate, Physics) — “Reading Outside the Lines: Art and Literature on the Rocks”

Balasubramanian and Lutz propose a series of participatory tours in New Haven and its surroundings. Each tour will be based on a piece of literary or cultural production and will include readings and participant reactions to the piece. This space is envisioned as a sort of “real-world thought experiment” that brings culture and nature together. 

Sally Donovan (Master  of Environmental Science Student, FES) — “100 Years in Queens: investigating the landscape history of New York City through sculpture”

Donovan plans to install sculptures in New York City public parks in an effort to educate the public on land-use history and ecology in these sites and to increase public stewardship in urban forests. She is interested in thinking through innovate means of public education. 

Samara Brock (PhD Candidate, FES) , Abigail Fields (PhD Candidate, French), and Caitlin Kossmann (PhD Candidate, History of Science and Medicine) — “[Human]Nature”

“[Human]Nature” is an Environmental Humanities project that engages with interdisciplinary work done inside and outside of the academy. Themed seasons of 3-5 episodes will be published, approaching different questions in our understanding of the Environmental Humanities. The first season will ask how we curate ideas of the environment and will feature episodes on nature in art museums, natural history museums, and a collaboration between the Yale Farm and the Yale School of Art. 

Ally Soong (Yale College, Urban Studies, ‘21), Kayley Estoesta (Yale College, Urban Studies, ‘21), and Rasmus Schlutter (Yale College, Urban Studies, ‘21) — Dixwell Public History Project

This project will work with residents of the Dixwell neighborhood in New Haven to create  an exhibition featuring the history of the area. The group will use archival materials, drawings, and collages to recreate historical streetscapes that tell the story of the historically Black business district, and advocate for a community-led zoning process.

Maho A. Ishiguro (Lecturer, Music) — Performance and Outreach Program of Wayang Kulit on Environmental Issues

Ishiguro plans to use Javanese shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) as an outreach and performance tool to assemble a diverse, multi-generational swath of the Yale and New Haven communities. This Javanese puppet performance will engage the local community and integrate their voices into a critical performance and discussion about environmental issues in New Haven and Indonesia.

Knar Abrahamyan (PhD Candidate, Music) — Hadrut Educational Summer Camp

Abrahamyan inaugurated the Hadrut Educational Summer Camp in July 2019 in her native village Hadrut located in a contested region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With  support from the EH grant, she will again provide an opportunity for 100 children to gather for learning opportunities and for developingnew hobbies. The camp will have a strong environmental awareness component, featuring classes on ecology, sustainability, and climate change. 

Matthew L. O’Malley (PhD Candidate, Anthropology) — Parks, Progress, People—An Online Oral History Archive of Buffalo’s East Side and the Expressway that Was Carved Through It

O’Malley plans to create  a public web interface/website that will house the oral histories collected as part of my dissertation research on the NY 33, also known as the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo, NY.  The story of the Kensington Expressway—blasted through the East Side under the sign of Robert Moses—is the culmination of a larger set of postwar actions that occurred in Buffalo under the rubrics of urban renewal, progress, and the white automobile. Actions which disproportionately affected black people in Buffalo. The archive of oral histories this website will showcase and make available to the community is comprised mainly of a series of interviews given by elders in the East Side African-American community who lived through these events (across the 1960s). 

Taiga Christie (Staff, Yale Schwarzmann Center) — Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man Interactive Performance and Workshops

This project will use the setting of the Yale Landscape Lab to present an innovative, outdoor, live performance about community-level impacts of resource extraction and climate change. The performance and accompanying workshops will bring together collaborators from the Yale School of Public Health’s Humanities, Arts and Public Health Practice (HAPPY) Initiative, the Center for Climate Change and Health, the Schwarzman Center, School of Forestry, and Landscape Lab to experience the impact of the performing arts on environmental awareness. Open to the Yale campus and the public, workshops and performances will foster unique collaboration between environmental sciences and the humanities.

**Please note that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some project timelines have been disrupted or postponed. We are working with grant recipients to ensure that they have adequate support to complete their projects when they are able to.**