MA Program Ambassadors

To respond to a curious public, we've elected a group of students, each with different interests and backgrounds, who are willing to serve as MA program ambassadors.  Please contact the students below if you are interested in a students' perspective on the MA program and what the Public Humanities means to them and their professional goals.  The Ambassadors can also assist prospective students or general visitors with logistics for campus visits, including liaising with Public Humanities faculty to arrange for class visits, and facilitating introductions with Center staff and other students.

Maiyah Gamble Rivers, First-Year MA in Public Humanities Candidate
(Interests: Storytelling via the Arts, issues of Black identity)
Coming to the Public Humanities program with a degree in Art History, I have found the perfect platform that will allow my passion for the arts and interest in Black culture/identity to merge as one. Through the Fellowship for the Study of the Public History of Slavery I hope to delve into the realm of self-discovery using the arts to explore issues of Black identity, community, and storytelling. History continues to provide a singular perspective on what it means to be Black in America. As a woman of color I believe it is critical that people of color have a more comprehensive understanding of their history. I find the arts to be the most beautiful forms of resistance. Through the arts people of color can continue to write themselves back into history. 

Laura Mitchell, Second-year MA in Public Humanities Candidate
(Interests: Cultural networks, interdisciplinary projects)
M
y interests lie in the development of creative networks and the ways in which educational and cultural institutions intersect with other facets of public life. Before coming to Brown, I explored these intersections through coursework that spanned the fields of history, art history, civic engagement, urban planning, and language, as well as through work with diverse cultural institutions and agencies. I was drawn to the Public Humanities program because of its versatile and forward-thinking offerings, which allow students to shape the program around their interests and to immerse themselves in projects both at Brown and in the wider community. Given my broad interests and my focus on networked culture and interdisciplinary projects, the ability to simultaneously study and work with many types of organizations presents an incredible opportunity. While at Brown, I hope to explore aspects of public humanities that range from digital humanities to public programming, with the aim of pursuing a career that fosters cultural participation and learning.

Jessica Palinski, Second-Year MA in Public Humanities Candidate
(Interests: artists, museums and cultural institutions)
Coming from a fine arts background, I am intrigued by the idea that artists could draw inspiration from museums, galleries, and other public art spaces. At Brown, my primary interests are exploring and developing exhibitions that serve this purpose, providing access to materials and information via narratives that strive to inspire rather than merely instruct. I received a BFA in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design, where my work juxtaposed the past and the present in mixed media pieces composed using negatives from the early 20th century and contemporary photographs and processes. Working with historic images at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum helped deepen my understanding of the impact of history on art, and further galvanized me to study inspiration and the ways that art of the past informs our present. Through study at Brown and work with local cultural institutions such as the Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art, I hope to remind artists and the community that art institutions remain vital and relevant in a world where van Gogh could live in one’s pocket.

Reya Sehgal, First-Year MA in Public Humanities Candidate
(interests: Interdisciplinarity, Performance, Public Art)
As an artist and praxis-oriented scholar, my interests vary greatly: architectural history, performance theory, temporary public art, rhetorics of diversity, collaborative educational strategies, interdisciplinary methodologies...the list could go on. Brown's Public Humanities program excited (and continues to excite!) me because of its flexible structure and practical focus; at Brown, I can choose-my-own educational adventure and seek collaborative opportunities campus-wide. Having designed my own major (Postcolonial Urbanism) as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, I was drawn to the program's versatility and emphasis on interdisciplinarity, allowing me to combine and remix my interests in new and experimental ways. I'm a performer, one of the DIVERSITY FELLOWS!, and am eager to create a more symbiotic relationship between my performance work, my academic interests, and my curating/research/writing/teaching. While at Brown, I hope to center my coursework, projects, and on-the-job learning around the following goals: to assert the vitality of the arts through responsively and responsibly working with various publics; to illuminate identity-making languages and practices on individual, community, institutional, and geographic levels; to rethink institutional hierarchies in the arts/humanities world in order to create innovative forms of public practice; to reframe discourses around diversity (its possibility and its problems); and to use performance as a tactic to both interrogate and enliven Public Humanities work. I am thrilled to be the David Winton Bell Gallery's Curatorial Assistant and look forward to finding new ways of participating in the Providence arts scene during my time at Brown.

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