The Atlantic World Research Network is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020-2021 Graduate Student Research Grants. Submissions were open to UNCG MA, MFA, MS, and PHD student applicants seeking to defray the costs of travel to collections, conferences, field work sites, artistic and theatrical venues, museums, summer seminars, and specialized summer schools, and to help in funding special equipment and essential project materials.
Martin Boerwinkle, MS Student in Computer Science, will use his $500 grant to forward his interdisciplinary project combining Atlantic World literature, digital art, and human-computer interaction studies. Taking the form of an episodic, Virtual Reality-interactive program, this project will interpret several key passages in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. The completed project will be distributed for free to support public appreciation and knowledge of the scale, process, terror, and impact of the 19th century whaling industry. “The proposed project itself has a very good prospect to be presented at a high-level conference, such as IEEE Virtual Reality, the world’s premier VR meeting,” writes Professor Regis Kopper, who contributed Boerwinkle’s letter of support.
Billy James Hawkains III, MFA Candidate in the School of Dance, will use his $500 grant to advance his MFA thesis Come Sunday: Baptized by Fire and Bound for Glory, investigating how the physical body has been used as a vessel of worship in the Southern Black church in ways connected to a transatlantic African past. With a creative team of seven dancers, four musicians, and two cinematographers, Hawkains will interview, participate, and perform at churches around the Triad in order to record and interpret “the body’s presence and movement within a spiritual practice for Americans of African descent … Billy’s community-focused … work … across artistic genres [addresses] a type of metaphysical-transatlantic memory expressed through the body,” writes Professor Duane Cyrus, who contributed Hawkains’ letter of support.