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.

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Katherine Sabate

Katherine Sabate

Guang Ming Collge, Philippines

Katherine is a versatile theatre practitioner and educator: she is a dramaturg, a director, and an actress for theatre, TV, and film. She is the program coordinator and associate professor for performing arts at Guang Ming Collge, the fifth member of the Fo Guang Shan International University Consortium established by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order. She is a Cum Laude graduate of BA Theater Arts and MA Theatre Arts at the University of the Philippines. Recently, her papers were published and presented in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the United States. Katherine is convinced that performance is a powerful medium to bear influence and education of cultures, histories, and faith, as well as healing to the human soul and societies.

Adam Bull

Adam Bull

King’s College London, United Kingdom

Adam Bull is currently a doctoral student at King’s College London in the United Kingdom. His area of research focuses on the intersection between digitized collective action and activist art in Egypt since the revolution in 2011. It is his belief that abstract forms of expression, such as art, function as an important method of resistance in oppressive political situations. Adam’s research interests stem from his curiosity about how digital technologies and new media are affecting democratic processes in non-Western cultures and contexts. Adam has been invited to various events both in the UK and abroad to speak on these topics as well as others, and he is excited to contribute to this burgeoning field of research.

Namhee Joo

Namhee Joo

Korea National University of Cultural Heritage, South Korea

Over the past 6 years, Namhee Joo has been a strong advocate for the arts as an educator and administrator. She actively seeks new ways of organizing art projects within communities for creativity and innovation and oversees the statewide strategy, implementation, and engagement for advancing public policy and investment in the arts sector. She organized a range of projects from international culture exchange program with Austria to community-based youth programs. Namhee is working on her PhD in law and policy of heritage studies at the Korea National University of Cultural Heritage. The focus of her thesis is a sustainable restoration and conservation framework for wooden architectural heritage.

Eliška Skarolková

Eliška Skarolková

Formally an industrial designer with a strong focus on aesthetic, Eliska didn’t want to spend her life designing only beautiful products with no additional values for society. A Masters degree in Design for Sustainability at Savannah College of Art and Design allowed her to redirect her focus to social innovations and designing services. She holds several recognitions for projects around social and environmental sustainability. Given her background, her research work explores the use of art as a medium for personal growth and development in remote communities living in extreme conditions. She loves sci-fi and believes that everything a human mind can imagine is only a step from becoming a reality.

Sara Buoso

Sara Buoso

University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins, United Kingdom

Sara Buoso is PhD candidate in art theory and history at the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins. Her research examines the role of light in contemporary artistic practices at the intersection of artistic, philosophical, and techno-scientific discourses. From 2016, she is an active member of Common Ground Research Networks, contributing to the review processes and publications. In 2018, she convened the International Day of Light Symposium and Exhibition at the UAL, part of her critical and curatorial practice. Forthcoming publications: Echo. Magdalena Fernandez, Museo de Arte Carillo Gil, 2019; Outside the Spectrum, The Open Arts Journal, 2019.

​Arudhra Krishnaswamy

​Arudhra Krishnaswamy

Independent Artist and Researcher, India

Arudhra Krishnaswamy is currently a freelance independent artist and researcher who teaches various workshops, seminars, and guest faculty classes in a number of schools, art centres, and studios all over India. Arudhra was a research scholarship recipient for the entire duration of her PhD in cultural studies at the National University of Singapore where she studied the anthropology of dance therapy. Her research aimed at understanding dance and its relationship to society, human rights, and community development in India. Her study examined how dancers that are socially committed could impact their communities using dance that is not only aesthetically engaging but could also be an effective means of social development. She is a former lecturer of dance at the Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) where she taught both dance theory as well as practice at the School of Dance and Theatre.

Raquel Ermida

Raquel Ermida

NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Portugal

Raquel Ermida is a PhD researcher in art studies at NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Her project is sponsored by the Portuguese Funding Agency for Science, Research and Technology and focuses on Portuguese artist collectives and the democratic potential that emerges from the construction of an artistic common while working collectively. Ermida holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and completed her master's degree in visual arts – critical, curatorial and cybermedia studies at the Haute École d’Art et de Design – Genève. Ermida is also a member of the Research Platform & Doctoral Practice in Arts in Geneva - an international project that brings together advanced doctoral students and post-doc researchers.

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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.

Allison Mackey

Allison Mackey

University of the Republic, Uruguay; The University of the Free State, South Africa

Dr. Allison Mackey is professor of English literature at the University of the Republic, Uruguay, and research associate in the Department of English at The University of the Free State, South Africa. Her recent research interests straddle the areas of human rights & literature, postcolonial literary & cultural studies, and environmental humanities, focusing on ethics/aesthetics/affect from a feminist, queer, and critical posthuman(ist) perspective. She has published work in international peer-reviewed journals such as College Literature, ESC: English Studies in Canada, Research in African Literatures, TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Safundi: Journal of South African and American Studies and SFS: Science Fiction Studies.

​Sarah Bélanger-Martel

​Sarah Bélanger-Martel

Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada

Sarah Bélanger-Martel is a cultural mediator and student-researcher at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada. Her research interests include children’s aesthetic experience, cultural and artistic mediation, informal art education contexts, philosophy for children and the co-construction of meaning through art appreciation. She is educator for and coordinator of the Musée ambulant, a travelling cultural mediation project that brings about bright encounters between contemporary artworks and children in rural areas and underprivileged urban neighbourhoods.

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