2022 Environmental Humanities Grant Recipients

The Yale Environmental Humanities Program is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2022 Environmental Humanities Grants. Please see below to learn more about the supported projects. Congratulations to all!

The Waveform Garden
Camille Chang and Geovanni Barrios, Yale College
The Waveform Garden is an outdoor art installation based on Japanese karesansui gravel garden traditions, with an additional focus on the material cultures of people Indigenous to Connecticut and New Haven. The space represents an intersection between the aesthetic and utility of outdoor art spaces, and seeks to be a way for students and community members to form a deeper connection with the outdoors. Through study and observation of Buddhist gravel wave raking rituals, the garden serves as a place to recreate water in stone, make the intangible real, and thereby promote introspection about permanence, destruction, humanity, the environment, and the connections between them all.
Retracing Adirondack Faces Film
Sawyer Cresap, Yale School of the Environment
In 1986, the Adirondack Museum commissioned a book of portraits known as Adirondack Faces (1991) to illuminate the lives and livelihoods of 50 Adirondack residents. 30 years later, the Retracing Adirondack Faces documentary revisits the people, places, traditional crafts, and occupations originally featured, and explores a new generation of Adirondackers’ stories through film. In addition to screenings and discussions across the Adirondacks and Yale, the film will be accompanied by a standing website to engage broad audiences in the urgent topics and ideas it raises.
Sustainable Architecture Roundtable
Benjamin Derlan, Yale School of Architecture
The Yale School of Architecture (YSoA) teaches students the basics of environmental design in the core graduate curriculum. In individual studio work though, students are working alone and might have questions in regards to sustainable design strategies, or wish to push their work to a higher level of ecological integration. Acting as a weekly group ‘pin up,’ the proposed roundtable will foster a community of environmentally-focused designers to help forward each other’s work, and the field as a whole. This weekly gathering will be flexible enough for students to bring work from both design practices and writing or theory practices, and thus create a vital exchange between the M.Arch, MED, and PhD programs.
Home/stake: Re-Mining the Rural West
Cloe Dickson, Yale School of the Environment
The last silver mine in Creede, Colorado closed in 1985, yet the industry’s both toxic and celebrated legacies endure well into the present day. For decades, residents have worked together to find local, community-driven solutions to reducing acid mine drainage and improve water quality in Willow Creek, a tributary of the Rio Grande. Today, there is mounting pressure to reopen the silver mine, both to create jobs and to pioneer new paths in alternative water treatment practices. This three-part podcast series documents the people and organizations in Creede who are navigating the risks, and opportunities, that the return of mining means for this mountain headwaters community.
Kosmos Revisited: Translating Collective Animal Behavior into Music Theory Through Artificial Intelligence and Technology for Wildlife Research
Diego Ellis Soto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
To communicate the lives and sounds of animals, and the threats they face by warming climates and human activities, this project combines artificial intelligence, natural history and musical theory. Jointly with musicians, sound engineers, biologists and artists, Ellis Soto has created new ways of expressing animal behavior into musical patterns and artistic expressions. This project will be displayed in the form of two art galleries at Yale (CCAM and TSAI) and involve New Haven youth. In addition, planned interdisciplinary dialogue across the arts, humanities and sciences will pave new ways of representing nature and its unique beauty.
Mill Dams of the Chiques: Landowner Perspectives
Sam Feibel, Yale School of the Environment
Pennsylvania’s Chiques Creek Watershed once contained at least 56 mill dams. Today, all but ten have breached. Many conservationists want these remaining dams removed. Yet, scientists working in the watershed argue there is a disconnect between the Commonwealth’s pollutant reduction efforts and the potential release of sediment and nutrients trapped for centuries behind dams. What’s missing in this conversation is the perspective and knowledge of landowners. Through interviews and visual storytelling with digital and film photography, this project will produce a long-form story that explores the history, scale, and contemporary challenges of an overlooked land use legacy.
The Social-Ecological Landscape of Makgadikgadi, Botswana
Dylan Feldmeier and Kaggie Orrick, Yale School of the Environment
The proposed project will use Esri’s Story Maps and an in-person mixed media gallery in both New Haven, CT, USA and Rakops, CT8, Botswana to provide an interactive experience of the human-cattle-wildlife interactions across a human-designated area in Botswana. Users will be able to interact with the web material to see the spatial and temporal shifts across the landscape through the ecological, cultural, and economic relationships between wildlife, humans, and cattle. Voice records, photographs, videos, and short essays will be displayed in conjunction with wildlife abundance and distribution maps, and cattle movement visualizations.
fSTS @ Yale (Feminist Science & Technology Studies at Yale)
Elaina Foley & Akio Ho, Yale College
fSTS @ Yale envisions practical, creative interventions into the landscape of STEM at Yale by supporting the development of a collective of students interested in a more inclusive, diverse, and justice-oriented way of engaging in science and technology studies (STS). They aim to raise the profile of feminist science studies at Yale in order to support and engage students who may be questioning some of the underlying or fundamental principles of what it means to “do science.” fSTS @ Yale is a space for students to work through and explore ethical problems through lunchtime discussion meetings, student symposiums, invited STS speakers, and more.
What is graphic design made of?
Miguel Gaydosh, Yale School of Art
This initiative seeks to understand graphic design’s role in environmental crises and potentials by critically examining the discipline’s material ecology, pedagogy and related practices. As a collaborative discipline, graphic design facilitates the translation of information, concerned not only with communicating ideas but their very shape and the vessels through which they’re delivered. However, it overwhelmingly supports assumptions of endless consumption—anthropocentric agendas which have proven untenable within the bounds of our planet’s ecology. Through dialogue and diagramming, this project will research the inextricable ties between the industry of graphic design and our global ecosystems—infrastructures built upon flawed myths and economic systems.
“Old Smokey: Justice Deferred, Nuisance Heard” - A Case Study on Coconut Grove, Jim Crow Power Structures, and Environmental Justice
AJ Hudson, Yale Law School and Yale School of the Environment
Under Jim Crow laws and sundown curfew enforcement, Black communities in Miami experienced diminished agency and power, which enabled the legal placement of a hazardous trash incinerator in a historic Black neighborhood for seventy years. The trial that finally shut down the dangerously polluting Old Smokey did not feature any testimony from Black people, instead centering the incidental complaints of wealthy white communities from the few days the wind blew in the wrong direction. This project attempts to center the voices of living Black West Grove residents to correct that injustice, by reimagining the trial with their testimony centered during proceedings, and reimagining the remedies that the state could have given had these voices been heard.
A Climate of Anxiety
Benjamin Stern and Sawyer Cresap, Yale School of the Environment
This short documentary investigates how Yale School of the Environment students experience climate change anxiety. Through a series of video interviews, conversations, and situational scenes, the film will uncover the hidden stressors impacting the people who devote their careers to fighting the existential crisis of our generation. This film also explores the methods employed by these individuals to cope with the challenges inherent in working amidst a climate of uncertainty and desperation.
New England Fibershed Demonstration Exhibit at the Dudley Farm Museum
Maria Trumpler, Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The grant will allow attendance at the “Fleece to Fulling” workshop at the Marshfield School of Weaving in Vermont from May 2-27, 2022. The Marshfield School of Weaving has the largest collection of working looms and spinning wheels from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the US. This workshop will use historic methods of transforming fleece to cleaned and carded wool, to spun yarn, to naturally dyed yarn, to woven fabric. These new skills will be used to set up a demonstration exhibit at the Dudley Farm museum in North Guilford, CT, that shows how cloth was made in the New England fibershed.