2019 Emerging Scholar Awardees

Katherine Preston

Katherine Preston

Brown University, United States

Katherine Preston entered Brown University’s PhD program in English in 2018. She focuses on theoretical and poetic alternatives to liberal concepts of subjectivity through an attention to racialization. Katherine often situates her work in lyric and formally experimental poetry. She is interested in the relationship between aesthetic and political representations, as the representation of a subject is at once an aesthetic concept concerned with perception and a political concept linked to power. She is interested in work that renegotiates the politics of recognition by contesting notions of the subject as rational, autonomous, and individual.

​Alba García Martínez

​Alba García Martínez

University of Barcelona, Spain

Alba García Martínez (Alba Refulgente) works and lives in Badalona, a residential city near Barcelona, an aspect that has influenced her artistic career. She studied fine arts at the University of Barcelona, where she completed her studies with a master's degree in Artistic Creation, both with honorable mention. She is currently doing a PhD on the game as an artistic medium in the same University with the FPU scholarship for young researchers and teaches several subjects of sculptural processes in it. She has been awarded with several prizes such as the Werner Töni or the Microresidencia in the Cuauht of Azuqueca. She has permanent work at the U Arts Space of Chengdu (China) and La Doce de Boiro (A Coruña, Spain). She is curator of the winning negOCIO exhibition winner of the III Buit Blanc at the CC Las Cigarreras de Alicante (2018).

Alicja Sulkowska

Alicja Sulkowska

Bauhaus University, Germany

Born in Poland and being active there as music and culture journalist, Alicja Sułkowska now lives in Weimar, Germany as DAAD-scholar studying media and culture at Bauhaus Universität. She is the editor of the “Von Richthofen 1918-2018” anniversary publication, as well as author of Manfred von Richthofen's biography ("Złamane skrzydła. Życie i sława Manfreda von Richthofena," 2016), and the series of both scientific and popular articles in fields of literature, metal studies, history, and anthropology. Her main interests focus on image creation in mass media and discursive re-work of literature and arts in modern culture.

Thomas Girard

Thomas Girard

Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Canada

Thomas Girard is an award-winning designer and scholar who has lived and worked in New Delhi, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, and Vancouver. Often known as an instructor at his alma mater, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, he’s mainly taught as part of the pioneering effort, Interaction Design Essentials. Early in his career, Girard was employed by Lenovo as a Staff User Experience Designer where he worked on products that are considered everyday objects today.

Christine Scoggin

Christine Scoggin

Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Christine Scoggin is a community development and not-for-profit management professional with a passion for art and culture with nearly 20-years’ experience working with people in remote Australian Aboriginal communities. Throughout her career as an intercultural facilitator and community development professional, Christine has used her photography and visual communication practices to tell stories, develop relationships, and communicate ideas across social, economic, and cultural boundaries. Christine is currently studying toward a PhD at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia. Her research utilises an adapted digital storytelling methodology that allows for inclusion of ‘post-natural builders’ who have been marginalised within their own society due to lack of education, lack of citizenship, or disability. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Design with a minor in film and photography and a Master’s Degree in Regional and International Development.

​Elise Lael Kieffer

​Elise Lael Kieffer

Florida State University, United States

Elise Lael Kieffer is a doctoral candidate in arts administration at Florida State University. She holds an MPA and a BFA in musical theatre. After successful careers in performance and nonprofit management, Elise relocated with her family to a rural community in the Appalachian Region of Kentucky (USA). There she found her true purpose, exposed to children completely lacking arts exposure. Her research interest explores the relationship between rural communities and state funding; more broadly, she researches facilitating the administrative success of arts organizations serving vulnerable populations. She lives in Tallahassee with her husband and two sons.

​Chloe Watfern

​Chloe Watfern

University of New South Wales, Australia

Chloe Watfern is a Scientia PhD Scholar at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, with an academic background in psychology and art history. In her doctoral project she is using ethnographic methods to explore the work of supported studios in Australia and the UK.

Elena Hadjipieri

Elena Hadjipieri

Simon Fraser University, Canada

Elena Hadjipieri is artist, art gallery pedagogue, and art teacher. She has developed several educational programs for galleries and museums in Cyprus on behalf of the local Ministry of Education and Culture. Her interests involve tradition, ecology, museology, and art, as well as promotion of children’s aesthetic engagement with art. Her doctoral thesis is focused in museology and aesthetics. Hadjipieri’s art concentrates on the human figure and portraiture using mainly oils while she experiments in mixed and digital media. She has participated in several group exhibitions.

Christine Kaiser

Christine Kaiser

City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Christine is currently engaging in her PhD at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Her qualitative research focuses on the contemporary art spaces of Shenzhen and today's curatorial and artistic practices. Her scientific background is influenced by her studies of sociology at the University of Konstanz and her postgraduate studies in curating at the Zurich University of the Arts. She is a high profile project coordinator and exhibition manager on topics of contemporary art, urban mobility, and architecture. She gained extraordinary experience by working in the most prestigious German art institutions, the Museum of Modern Art (Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a. Main, Germany) and the Institute for Foreign Affairs (ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart, Germany), as well as in international projects.

In Their Words

It was my second time chairing a Common Ground Conference and it was great to get a new experience while also improving my skills and learning more about conferences."

Tatjana Portnova, 2017 Awardee

I found it incredibly enriching being able to hear from so many different scholars and experts about their research and passions in the field. It was enlightening and rewarding to be present as part of the conference.

2017 Awardee

I really appreciate having the possibility to chat with and hear all these wonderful people. This is not a vertical dynamic, we all were treated the same and that made possible for us students to talk with amazing academics and to have their comments on our work."

Silvia Agreda, 2014 Awardee