The 2022 Barbara and Donald Smalley Graduate Research Fellowship in Gender and Women’s Studies has been awarded to Catalina Hernandez, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Art Education in the School of Art and Design, along with graduate minors in Gender and Women's Studies, Latina/o Studies, and Dance. The Smalley Fellowship is awarded annually to a graduate minor in Gender and Women’s Studies whose dissertation proposal promises to make an outstanding contribution to the field of gender and/or sexuality studies.
Hernandez’s multidisciplinary dissertation, called “String Figuring: A Practice to Witness the Beautiful,” proposes a collaborative study of relational and embodied knowledge. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted what had been previously conceptualized as a movement-based practice of encounter with “difference” (including race, gender, sexuality, and capacity) in a workshop setting, Hernandez pivoted quickly to other forums for her arts-based, pedagogical approach to care, witness, empathy, and beauty. “SF [String Figuring] proposes prompts for creative exploration based on questions derived from my research on difference. I call these prompts scores [like diagrams for dance or music] and conceptualize them as creative and pedagogic devices. Having to conduct this work in the middle of the pandemic, SF also functioned as a site of encounter and community for participants struggling with isolation.”
As part of the award, Hernandez will present a public talk on her work during the Spring 2022 semester. Please look for more information to come!