Previous Environmental Humanities Grant Recipients
2022 GRANT RECIPIENTS
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.
2021 GRANT RECIPIENTS
Talking Story: How Hawaii’s Modern Aquaculturists Discovered a Solution to the Future in the Past
Grace Cajski, Yale College
Talking Story will include an essay and a series of profiles on Hawaiian aquaculturists who are harnessing ancient fishponds to restore the islands’ ecological balance. The project aims to capture and preserve the knowledge of the aging aquaculturists, which may otherwise be lost. In addition to written work, Talking Story will include photographs and video interviews, which will be compiled on a website, accessible to broad, interested audiences. These interviews also will contribute to a growing archive at the Center for Oral History at the University of Hawaii. In addition to its documentary mission, this project aims to offer solutions, illuminate challenges, and celebrate Hawaiian culture.
Design + Decay
Katie Colford, Yale School of Architecture
Design + Decay takes the form of a website that will be used to document and address decay in architecture. The website will present case studies that demonstrate the productive opportunities decay may offer for design. In addition to the website, the project includes a podcast created from a series of related interviews conducted by Katie Colford. Across these media, Design + Decay aims to recover decay from being seen as a sign of building failure and ruin. Instead, mutability and deterioration may be—and indeed, must be—reclaimed as productive potentials for architecture facing ever-pressing ecological, climatic and social demands.
Dwight Healthy and Just Neighborhood Web Pilot Project
Andrei Harwell, Yale School of Architecture
The Dwight Healthy and Just Neighborhood Pilot is a collaboration between the Yale Urban Design Workshop, community leaders in New Haven’s Dwight neighborhood, and Yale faculty and students. The project will research, design and deploy a pilot Dwight Healthy and Just Neighborhood web portal, which will provide a “thick” multimedia environmental-justice-history based portrait of the neighborhood. The historical portrait will be paired with contemporary, real-time environmental monitoring data at the neighborhood scale, accessible to community members, local educators, school children, and researchers, as a tool for community-based advocacy. This web portal is envisioned as the pilot for a larger smart and adaptive neighborhood monitoring and planning interface, one that can support ongoing, grass-roots planning and organizing efforts promoting environmental and racial justice, sustainability and resilience in Dwight.
Cedar Point Park: An Experiment in Graphic Narrative
Anna Hill, Graduate School of Art and Sciencess
Cedar Point Park is a hand-drawn graphic narrative that explores a deep history of a small place: Cedar Point Park, a compact sitting park located in West Philadelphia. With the help of local historians, residents, community groups, botanists, and geologists, the project presents a multifaceted set of stories about how the space has changed over long spans of time. It also investigates the variety of interpersonal and interspecies relationships that the park affords today. The project experiments with graphic storytelling techniques in order to communicate environmental issues with a wide range of audiences in creative and accessible ways.
Meredith Miller and MJ Millington, Beinecke Library
Dreaming Animals is the result of an award-winning collaboration begun during COVID-19 lockdown in the spring of 2020. Miller prints images of endangered animals from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s digital collections, and then re-photographs them in scenes she creates with household objects. Millington then uses the photograph to write a poem exploring the relationship between animals and humans. Text and image are joined together to create the Dreaming Animals series of broadsides. This project will be presented as an installation at the Yale Health Center. Large-format prints will be tied together through the addition of decals featuring repeated motifs such as animals, text, and patterns. The project will also welcome audience participation, providing children visiting the exhibit with their own decal to adhere with the images.
Mapping Grounds for Reparations in the Jaraguá Indigenous land, São Paulo, Brazil
Laura Pappalardo (Yale School of Architecture), Flávia Assumpção de Godoy Bueno (FAU-USP), Miguel Gaydosh (Yale School of Art), and Nick Massarelli (Yale School of Art)
Mapping Grounds for Reparations proposes a collaboration with Guarani communities in the Jaraguá Peak, in São Paulo, Brazil. The Guarani people have been articulating several initiatives that increase environmental security in São Paulo. This project will create instruments that contribute to Guarani initiatives to increase public awareness about Guarani land rights in the Jaraguá landscape and to preserve the remaining Atlantic Forest within the region. The project team will produce a website and a publication articulating debates surrounding case studies on State Parks shared governance and awareness of infrastructural constructions’ impacts that have historically encroached upon Atlantic Forest and Guarani territory in São Paulo.
Sylvia Ryerson, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Central Appalachia today is one of the most concentrated regions of rural prison growth nationwide. Many of these facilities are built on land formerly mined for coal. For over two decades, the Calls from Home radio show at the Appalshop media arts center has been broadcasting messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated far from home. In an intimate portrait of rural prison expansion, this short documentary demonstrates how families are using public airwaves to transcend prison walls and forge solidarities between the urban and rural communities most impacted by the overlapping processes of incarceration, extraction, toxicity and abandonment.
Environmental Performances in Russia and Eastern Europe
Aniko Szucs, Russian, East European, and Eurasian Program
Environmental Performances in Eastern Europe and Russia will be part of the online platform, Cultures of Resistance, currently under construction, that both builds a digital archive and fosters a virtual network of scholars, artists, and activists whose work centers on protest performances and political movements in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. The Environmental Humanities Grant will support the development of a section of this platform that will center specifically on environmental and ecological performances. On this site, we will showcase works by artists and activists that critique the East European illiberal states’ aggressive anti-environmental ideologies and policies and envision an environmentally conscious society for the future.
The Yale Undergraduate Review of Sustainability and the Environment
Andy Xie, Yale College
The Yale Undergraduate Review of Sustainability and the Environment is an undergraduate publication centered on sustainability and environmental topics, broadly defined. The review engages with student writing ranging from long-form essays and analytical opinion pieces to environmental poetry and nature photography. With the Environmental Humanities Grant, the editorial team will develop a podcast on sustainability and environmental literature, in order to further promote environmental discourse on campus. This podcast will feature the work of current staff writers, and will provide opportunities for students to share their experiences volunteering with local environmental service organizations.
2020 GRANT RECIPIENTS
“HEMP: AN AGRICULTURAL REVIVAL”
Chelsea Jack (Department of Anthropology)
This project contributes to a series of short documentary films that Chelsea Jack is completing alongside her dissertation project. Through ethnographic fieldwork on the nascent hemp industry in New York state, this short film explores the experience of growers and producers of hemp extracts such as CBD (cannabidiol) in order to understand the process of (re)legitimization of hemp supply chains after decades of cannabis prohibition in the US.
“Reading Outside the Lines: Art and Literature on the Rocks”
Supraja Balasubramanian and Tyler Lutz (Department of Physics)
Project canceled due to Covid-19 disruption.
This project includes a series of participatory tours of New Haven and its immediate environs. Each tour will be grounded on a particular work of literature or cultural object that will be read in relation to a particular physical environment. Participants will be given time to prepare their own creative “reading” of the piece, which will be shared with the group over the course of the tour. This interactive reading experience interrogates the interior and exterior spaces of cultural artifacts, the environment itself, and the relationship between them.
“100 Years in Queens: investigating the landscape history of New York City through
Sally Donovan (Yale School of the Environment)
In collaboration with NYC Art in the Parks Program, this project proposes the installation of public sculptures in and around the Kissena Corridor and Alley Pond in Queens, NY. These sculptures will feature photos from the 1920s printed on transparent, recycled plastic that will allow visitors to view the current and historical landscapes simultaneously. Each photo will be accompanied by an informational plaque that describes the impact of past agriculture on contemporary forest ecology. The sculptures aim to build a sense of place and history in city parks and to increase public stewardship of urban forests in Queens.
“[Human] Nature” Podcast
Samara Brock (Yale School of the Environment), Abigail Fields (Department of French), and Caitlin Kossmann (Program in the History of Science and Medicine)
Project canceled due to Covid-19 disruption.
[Human] Nature is an Environmental Humanities podcast that attempts to shine a light on the extensive multi- and interdisciplinary work in this burgeoning field, within and outside of the frameworks of traditional Academia. The project will be released in thematic seasons of 3-5 episodes, which trace an engaging ride (via interviews, research, and storytelling) through one aspect of the Environmental Humanities and, more broadly, of our relationship to the environment as thinkers, scholars, makers humans. The first season’s theme is “Curating the Environment,” and will primarily discuss collecting and creating images of the environment in museum and archival spaces.
Yale-New Haven Community Design Workshop
Ally Soong, Kayley Estoesta, and Rasmus Schlutter (Yale College)
Project canceled due to Covid-19 disruption.
In collaboration with residents of Dixwell neighborhood, this project will support the creation and display of streetscapes recounting the story of the Dixwell Black business district. Interest in such an exhibit stems from a community-led zoning project in the neighborhood that proposes an alternative to New Haven City’s proposed rezoning ordinance. This process will allow Dixwell residents to look to the neighborhood’s past in order to imagine a vision for the future.
Performance and Outreach Program of Wayang Kulit on Environmental Issues
Maho A. Ishiguro (Department of Music)
Project canceled due to Covid-19 disruption.
This project uses 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. Wayang kulit in Indonesia is often used a platform for commentary and discussion about various socio-cultural issues. This project will emphasize the connectivity between the environmental struggles of Indonesians and New Haven residents, engage the local community and integrate their voices into a critical performance and discussion about environmental issues in New Haven and Indonesia.
2020 Hadrut Educational Summer Camp
Knar Abrahamyan (Department of Music)
The Hadrut Educational Summer Camp was inaugurated in 2019 in Hadrut, located in a contested region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This project will again provide an opportunity for 100 children to gather for a summer camp experience with a strong environmental component. Programming includes classes on ecology, in which children learn about recycling, waste management, and climate change, film screenings that raise environmental awareness and community clean-ups.
Parks, Progress, People—An Online Oral History Archive of Buffalo’s East Side and the Expressway that Was Carved Through It
Matthew L. O’Malley (Department of Anthropology)
This project presents a public web interface/website that will house the oral histories related to the development of the Kensington Expressway, a high-speed expressway that eviscerated, divided, and ultimately isolated Buffalo’s predominantly African-American East Side. This archive of oral histories will mainly consist of a series of interviews given by elders in the East Side African-American community who lived through these events (across the 1960s). These oral histories provide valuable testimonies of the once-thriving neighborhood geography before the NY 33 and reflections on community, individual, and environmental health before and after the 33.
Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man Interactive Performance and Workshops
Taiga Christie (Yale Schwarzman Center)
Using the Yale Landscape Lab as setting, this project presents 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 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. It will also feature a participatory, student-led performance drawing on the experience of COVID contact tracers and climate scientists, in order to create a dialogue about COVID communication and climate change communication.