Margrit Mondavi Fellows

Through the generous support of philanthropist Margrit Mondavi, the Humanities Institute awarded 10 grants of $5,000 each to graduate students in Ph.D. and M.F.A. programs in the division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies to support travel, research, workshops and other project-related work in the summer of 2016. The awards supported a wide and exciting array of projects, both creative and scholarly, including musical compositions, works of visual and sound art, and studies of diaspora and social identities.
2016-2017 Fellows
Alvaro Hernandez  •  Performance Studies
What is to disappear
alvaro_hernandezAlvaro Hernández is a performance artist, theater director, actor, playwright and professor.  In his more than two decades of work he has participated and created pieces of street theater, physical theater, collaborative theater and other types of performances with artists and communities in Asia, Europe and Latin America. He has been the artistic director, playwright and dramaturg of Entropico Teatro since 2003, an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts based in Colombia.  He has been part of the International School of Theater Anthropology (ISTA) and has been an actor of productions directed by Eugenio Barba. He has studied traditional Japanese theater—Noh and Kabuki Buyo—in Japan. He has a master degree in Playwriting from the National University of Colombia and is currently completing his PhD in Performance Studies at the University of California, Davis in which he is researching in dramaturgies and dramaturgying, trainings, physical actions and bodily approaches, performance ecology, and violence and performance. Hernandez has collaborated continuously in artistic and research projects with indigenous communities of Amazon and the region of Putumayo in Colombia and has developed performances with Colombian communities involved in the armed conflict. He has received the Bunkacho Fellowship-Japan for international artists, and the Fulbright-Ministry of Culture scholarship for artists of Colombia, and has won the Colombian National Prize for Playwriting, the Prize for Best Young Director of Bogota, the Bogota’s Prize for Playwriting, and the Colombian National Prize of Theater Creation.

Ante Ursić •  Performance Studies
Haunted: Animality and Biopolitics in New Circus
ante_ursicAnte Ursić’s interest as an academic researcher in the domain of circus is in acts, events, shows, and performances that offer a unique set of possibilities to widen perception of circus; what and who it encompasses, its politics. Currently, he is investigating the animal – human relationship in traditional and contemporary circus. Most of Ante’s professional career has taken place as a performer and choreographer in the field of contemporary circus. Ante Ursic visited the circus school in Brussels ( ESAC) and Berlin ( Die Etage) and Moscow. He holds a BA with Distinction in “Contemporary Dance, Context and Choreography” from the University of Arts, Berlin and a distinguished Master’s in Performance Studies from New York University. At the moment he is pursuing his PhD in Performance Studies at UC Davis. He has successfully produced projects by his own and in collaboration, which have been recognized and honored with various awards, such as the Gold Medal at the Festival SOLyCIRCO, the Special Prize at the Cirque du Demain, and the Propone Prize at the Theaterfestival Vailladolid (the latter for Oko Sokolo in collaboration with Claudia Schnürer). He collaborated with Julia Christ on the piece Bambula. Ante Ursic also performed with companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Circus Roncallli and Tiger Lillies Circus.
Emma Waldron  •  Performance Studies
‘This FEELS SO REAL!’: Mediated Intimacy in ASMR Videos
emma_waldronEmma is a PhD student in the Performance Studies Graduate Group at the University of California – Davis and a graduate of the MA Performance Research program at the University of Bristol. She is also Co-Editor-in-Chief at the online journal, Analog Game Studies.
Emma’s research focuses on affective communities that coalesce around intimate performances of touch. She is currently researching the mediated intimacy of ASMR videos on YouTube, and how sex is represented in larp (live-action role-playing games). She is especially interested in how definitions and manifestations of sexuality are negotiated, reified, and transformed through these practices. Her work lies at the intersection of performance studies and media studies, and questions the role of embodiment in sexuality, intimacy, and touch. Her work is informed by feminist theory, queer theory, affect studies, and phenomenology.
Jennifer Tinonga-Valle  •  English
Patterning, Pinning, Making, Writing: Refashioning Early Nineteenth-century Literary (Con)Texts through Online Craft as Participatory Culture
jennifer_tinonga_valleA Ph.D. candidate in English, Jennifer Tinonga-Valle’s research explores how designing, discussing and making craft items offers a distinctive type of participation with literary texts because it is linked with a still accessible legacy of craft practices and values in which authors like Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë participated. This interdisciplinary, trans-national and trans-temporal approach to these well-known and well-researched women writers aims to make visible the expanding and inclusive network fostered around the humanities and arts in current online environments and craft communities.
She will use this fellowship to visit museums, special exhibitions and physical archives in England to develop her discussion of early-nineteenth-century women writer’s creative practices, work spaces, crafted objects and community networks. Emerging from her life-long work with art, craft and design (, she will also be building a historical-craft themed blog to engage directly with the online spaces that this project explores.
Gretchen Jude  •  Performance Studies
Hiroshima, Fukushima
gretchen_judeGretchen Jude is a scholar and practitioner of performance who focuses on electrovocal improvisation, cultural difference in experimental music, and presence through digital audio technology.  In both her academic and musical work, Gretchen aims to synthesize embodied experience with the rapid changes in culture and machinery that both empower and impinge upon us.  Gretchen has been heard in venues around the globe, from London and Helsinki to Seoul and Kyoto; her recordings can be found on San Francisco’s Edgetone Records and Oakland’s Full Spectrum Records.  As a Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies, Gretchen focuses on both traditional and transnational Japanese sonic arts and artists.  Gretchen’s performance-as-research work situates the voice with(in) historical contexts and lived environments.  Her current project will combine Japanese singing techniques and song genres with environmental field recordings and digital processing.  This juxtaposition of traditional aesthetics with technological innovation will connect multiple sites and temporalities affected by atomic/nuclear tragedy, in order to address the sometimes-traumatic interfaces of human technology and human nature.
Kevin O’Connor  •  Performance Studies
The Senses and Sciences of Fascia: a Practice as Research Dance Investigation
kevin_o_connorKevin O’Connor, MFA choreography is a PhD candidate in performance studies.  He is  multidisciplinary artist working as a choreographer, dancer, improviser, circus artist and installation artist.  He is involved in a decade long artistic collaboration with Ruth Douthwright and Billy Jack exploring un/settling participatory performances within watersheds in Ontario.  He is also currently working with NAKA dance in Oakland exploring the intersection of race and gentrification in the Bay Area. His attentional practices have recently been made different by working as a biodynamic cranial sacral practitioner, learning alongside Inuit hunting families on Baffin Island, and joining the round dance protests during the Indigenous uprising called Idle No More. His PhD research examines anatomies, body performance capacities and imaginations in relation to new science studies on fascia.
Lucas Hatton  •  Performance Studies
What Will They Do, Send Us Home?

lucas_hattonLucas Hatton has performed at many theaters in the Bay Area including SF Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, A.C.T. Costume Shop, Livermore Shakespeare and Central Works. In Chicago he performed at Steppenwolf, Improv Olympic, The Hypocrites, Neo-Futurists among others. He served as Artistic Director of Phalanx Theater and the educational theater company Barrel of Monkeys. He has also performed in several video games with 2K Games. Lucas will devise his original M.F.A. Thesis performance based on his father’s experience as a Marine in the Vietnam conflict.  The piece will explore trauma, memory, and contemporary American imperialism.
Amber Muller  •  Performance Studies
Questioning Value and Capital in (Post-) Feminist Performances of Sexuality
amber_mullerAmber Muller is a wayward Canuck. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a BA (Honours) in Drama she played at theatre making before moving to Europe to pursue a double Masters in International Performance Research at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Warwick.
Currently a PhD candidate, Amber also holds designated emphases in Feminist Theory/Research and Critical Theory. Her research focus lies at the intersection of performance and sexuality with a special interest in sexual economies, erotic capital, collisions of praxis in pop culture feminism, gender politics, and creative protest She enjoys popular media, mixing “high” theory with “low” culture, troubling currents of power, and being a feminist killjoy. Previous publications include “Queering Girl Talk (the board game)” in Analog Game Studies, “Virtual Communities and Translation into Physical Reality in the It Gets Better Project” in the Journal of Media Practice and What’s ‘Slut’ Got to Do With It?: Language, Translation, and Transformation of a Global Protest Movement” in Jaarboek Vrouwengeschiedens (Women’s History Yearbook).
Arielle Rebek  • Art Studio
Light of Experience

arielle_rebekArielle is currently pursuing her MFA in Art Studio. Working in the realm of photography, she often bypasses the camera to create directly with light sensitive chemicals, papers, and films. Her work explores our relationship to the passing of time and the memory of experience. Arielle finds particular enchantment in memories that are rooted in the intimate spaces we inhabit. For this fellowship, she will be visiting a location in the suburbs of Chicago that was the home of her great aunt for nearly 70 years. A place that contained so much life and history, now sits empty with demolition imminent. Rebek sees this as a unique opportunity to consider the ways in which photography can influence the memory of a space and to explore impermanence through her artwork.

Sarah Thompson •  Performance Studies
Trojan Women Research Trip
sarah_thompson_upSarah Thompson is a Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies at UC Davis with Designated Emphases in Classics and Classical Receptions and Feminist Theory and Research. Thompson’s current research revolves around the translation and adaptation of Euripidean tragedy. Thompson graduated from Oberlin College in 2008 with a B.A. in Classical Civilization and English with Creative Writing Concentration, and received High Honors in English.

This page was last updated: July 13, 2012



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