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.
Keila Davis, Second-Year MA in Public Humanities
(Interests: public history, human rights)
I have always had a passion for history and a desire to share knowledge in a way that surpasses barriers. I believe that museums and cultural institutions enable audiences of all racial, gender, age, and educational backgrounds to connect to a time period, culture, or occurrence. Using research in the field of Public history allows for the dissemination of knowledge to occur within a more diverse audience, I hope to become an integral part in researching, preserving, and presenting history with others. I have received my B.A. in history from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA and my primary research interest is The Civil Rights Movement, particularly the involvement of women and students and how this movement has impacted current social and political revolutions around the world. While at Brown, I worked on an array of projects including Mapping Arts Project-Providence, an interactive map that locates African Disaporic artists. As a public historian, I favor an interdisciplinary approach, combining history with other academic areas and current events. I enjoy posing and answering the difficult questions and using a variety of avenues to present my research findings, such as exhibitions, long and short essays, and digital displays. These different methods allow for one topic to be accessible to many different audiences. Overall, I possess a love of historical research, intellectual curiosity, and a desire to share that with others.
Raina Fox, Second-Year MA in Public Humanities
(Interests: community engagement, trauma and memory)
I am fascinated by the ways we negotiate our identities in relation to individual, social, and cultural memories, especially contested narratives. Cultural institutions are uniquely situated to connect communities with these complicated histories, and I am interested in the ways that they can intentionally use humanities tools to remember, share, reflect, and inspire action around the social justice and other issues such memories elicit. Through projects such as the Guantanamo Public Memory Project, the Foxpoint Community History Project, and work in the education department of the RISD Museum, I have been exploring the multiple ways by which the humanities can act as tools for meaningful connection between cultural memory and contemporary conversation and action. My hope is to work with cultural institutions that seek to develop these connections, supporting research, exhibitions, programming, and community engagement around cultural memory and social justice issues.
Paul Margrave, Second-year MA in Public Humanities
(Interests: engagement, performance, issues of access)
Before coming to Brown, I was working professionally in the UK in the field of applied arts and community-based performance as both as an arts administrator and a creative practitioner. My research interests are in public and community participation in the arts, with a particular focus on disability arts and work with seniors. My work attempts to make the arts as accessible as possible, understanding access in its broadest sense and embedding it as a fundamental concern in the development of projects. After one semester in the Public Humanities program I have already had the opportunity to produce my own creative work, research a style of theatre-making that I've been curious about for a long time, and begun to make some great contacts for my future career. The richness of the program and the ability to tailor it to my specific needs has proven incredible useful and allowed me to create the program that is most beneficial to me. After completing the course, I aim to develop a portfolio of work in both the USA and UK. I am unclear exactly what my role will be or where I will be based. The Public Humanities program is giving me time and space to work this out and decide which career avenues I want to pursue upon graduation. The Public Humanities program is a versatile program designed to meet the needs of students from a range of backgrounds. I am delighted to be an Ambassador for the program and hope to be able to answer any questions you might have.
Laura Mitchell, First-year MA in Public Humanities Candidate
(Interests: Cultural ecosystems, civic engagement)
My interests lie in the intersection of story and place and the way in which culture shapes relationships both within and between communities. Before coming to Brown, I explored issues of community culture and identity 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 cultural ecosystems, 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 cultural policy to public programming, with the aim of pursuing a career that unites culture with civic engagement.
Jessica Palinski, First-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.