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CIRCA Spring 2020 Events:

A Special CIRCA – UMBC Library Gallery Event: Antonio McAfee and Shawn Michelle Smith in Conversation

The Gem, Antonio McAfee

February 27, 5pm (reception to follow)
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Antonio McAfee is a photographer raised and based in Baltimore, MD. His fascination with history, portraiture, and what makes photographs drives his activities. He holds a BFA in Fine Art Photography from the Corcoran College of Art and Design and an MFA in Photography from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2011, he received a Post-Graduate Diploma in Art in Arts and Culture Management from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). He participated in residencies at Can Serrat (Spain) and Vermont Studio Center. McAfee was awarded Civil Society Institute Fellowship, Faculty Research and Development Grant from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Fulbright IIE Grant to Johannesburg, South Africa, Howard Silverstein Photography Beijing, China Aboard Program, and Dedalus MFA Painting and Sculpture Fellowship. His work has been exhibited at the Walters Art Museum, University of Maryland, College Park Stamp Gallery, George Washington University Gallery 102, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Civilian Art Projects, Flashpoint, Michael Steinberg Gallery, Hamiltonian Gallery, and Terrault Contemporary.

Shawn Michelle Smith is Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She studies the history and theory of photography and race and gender in visual culture.  She is the author of several books, including Photographic Returns: Racial Justice and the Time of Photography (forthcoming, 2020), At the Edge of Sight: Photography and the Unseen (2013), Photography on the Color Line: W. E. B. Du Bois, Race, and Visual Culture (2004) and American Archives: Gender, Race, and Class in Visual Culture (1999). In the spring of 2018 she curated the exhibition Meridel Rubenstein, Eden Turned on Its Side at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. Smith has been awarded fellowships from several institutions, including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Smith is also a visual artist and her photo-based work has been exhibited in art galleries and university museums across the country.


Teaching and Doing Graphic Design in Ethiopia
CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now, cosponsored by CIRCA and the Dresher Center for the Humanities

Monday, March 9, 2020
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
PAHB 216
Guenet Abraham, Associate Professor,
Visual Arts, UMBC

Guenet Abraham will share her experiences teaching and researching in Ethiopia, where she spent two years as a Fulbright Scholar at Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Arts and Design. She will discuss an on-going, site-specific creative project she initiated, as well as other collaborative projects with the University, the National Archives and Library of Ethiopia, and the U.S. Embassy.

Guenet Abraham began her career in New York City as a book designer at Pantheon Books, Random House, and was senior designer for W.W. Norton before she earned her MFA at Yale School of Art. Her work is recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), American Association of Museums (AAM), University College & Designers Association (UCDA), and most recently by the Paris Photo – Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards:

In concert with her philosophy as an educator, who teaches graphic design, typography, and visual communication, Abraham maintains an active design practice and consults and designs books for publishers. She creates visual language that speaks to contemporary audiences with impact and appeal.

She has been awarded two consecutive Fulbright Core fellowships for Teaching and Research in Ethiopia for 2017-2018 and for 2018-2019. She taught at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design in Addis Ababa. Her research focuses on the Ethiopia’s murderous Red Terror period under communist rule. She intends to document her research for an upcoming multimedia exhibition.

CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now, cosponsored by CIRCA and the Dresher Center for the Humanities, this lunchtime series showcases exciting new faculty work in the humanities in a dynamic and inter-disciplinary setting with short, informal presentations and time for discussion.


CIRCA and UMBC’s Department of Visual Arts presents a lecture by celebrated artist Krzysztof Wodiczko – an artist renowned for large-scale slide and video projections on architectural facades and monuments. He has realized more than 90 of such public projections and installations in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Turkey, Germany, Holland, Northern Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Since the late 1980s, his projections have involved the active participation of marginalized and estranged city residents. Simultaneously, and also internationally (England, Finland, France, Poland, Holland, Japan, Northern Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the US) he has been designing and implementing a series of nomadic instruments and vehicles with homeless, immigrant, and war veteran operators for their survival and communication.


Chelsea Pace in the New York Times Magazine

Great long form piece by Lizzie Feidelson in the New York Times that follows UMBC Theatre professor Chelsea Pace as she works on location as an intimacy coordinator on a film. Feidelson observes: “Until recently, intimacy coordination was virtually nonexistent. But in the space of about two years, alongside the evolution of the #MeToo movement, the profession has become highly sought across parts of the entertainment industry newly made answerable for the vulnerability of their actors and the exploitability of their hierarchies.”

Assistant Professor Pace is an expert, and her book Staging Sex, Routledge, will debut March 17th. The book lays out a comprehensive, practical solution for staging intimacy, nudity, and sexual violence. This book takes theatre practitioners step-by-step through the best practices, tools, and techniques for effective theatrical intimacy.

Credit: David Guralnick, The Detroit News via AP

Girls on a Dirt Pile invited to perform at American College Theatre Festival

Congratulations to the UMBC Theater Department. Girls on a Dirt Pile has been invited to perform at the Region 2 Festival of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. There will be two performances on Saturday, January, 18th. The myth of Demeter and Persephone is a frame on which Susan McCully hangs the tough questions: what happens to all the girls violated by #metoo villains? Can they rise up against their oppressors? Are we doomed to repeat the sins of misogyny, or is liberation and parity possible? Equal parts low comedy and dystopian drama, McCully sends-up patriarchy with her trademark irony and wit. Directed by Associate Professor Eve Muson.

Cinematic Arts alumnus Jovan James screening at Sundance

“Buck” by Visual Arts Department Cinematic Arts alumnus Jovan James will screen in the 2020 edition of Sundance. Directors and screenwriters Elegance Bratton and Jovan James will present their work in the U.S. Narrative Shorts program. Scenario: caught in the throes of a depressive fugue, young Lynn resorts to debauchery to find joy – only to discover that happiness is a much more complicated proposition.

IMDA MFA Alumnus Victor FM Torres at Whitney Museum

Victor FM Torres presented in a panel titled: STILL BEGINNING: The 30th Annual Day With(out) Art facilitated by Visual Aids at the Whitney Museum. The program included seven newly commissioned videos responding to the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic by Shanti Avirgan, Nguyen Tan Hoang, Carl George, Viva Ruiz, Iman Shervington, Jack Waters/Victor F.M. Torres, and Derrick Woods-Morrow.

Chelsea Pace in the New York Times Magazine
Great long form piece by Lizzie Feidelson in the New York Times that follows
UMBC Theatre professor Chelsea Pace as she works on location as an intimacy coordinator on a film. Assistant Professor Pace is an expert, and her book Staging Sex, Routledge, will debut March 17th.

Interrobang Theater

UMBCA Theater alumni run Interrobang Theater profiled

“Interrobang and Baltimore: A Love Story” extensively profiled the UMBC alumni founded theater company, which is based in Baltimore. “We like telling the story that’s never been told before. We like working with writers to craft and hone new stories in a collaborative environment. We want the stories we tell to feel intimate, urgent, relevant, potent, and above all, new.” 

IMDA ’21 Safiyah Cheatam presents OBSIDIAN at Media Democracy Fund

Earlier this week, IMDA student Safiyah Cheatam, ’21 presented on her collaborative podcast OBSIDIAN with co-creator Adetola Abdulkadir at the Media Democracy Fund’s Annual Conference, “From Disordered to Deadly” (maybe include: hosted by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation). OBSIDIAN is a speculative fiction anthology podcast based in Afrofuturism.  The conference gathered a lot of great change-making organizers/activists and popular funding orgs to talk about the current role of/weaponization of tech and identity via a social justice lens. Follow and listen to the podcast here: 

Visual Arts alumni Markele Cullins and Linehan Emily Eaglin at BMA

Markele Cullins and Emily Eaglin are featured with videos in the Mickalene Thomas installation in the East Lobby of the Baltimore Museum of Art. The installation was featured in a Baltimore Fishbowl article by Ed Gunts.

Kathy O’Dell, Ashley Minner and Rahne Alexander in BMoreArt

“What follows here is a collection of responses, reflections, critiques, and inquiries from women working as artists, curators, arts administrators, and writers in the Baltimore/DC area. Several responses bring up sexism, racism, and classism within the art world and cultural institutions generally rather than directing it at the BMA specifically-these problems are not simply local.” UMBC Visual Arts professor Kathy O’Dell, American Studies professor Ashley Minner and IMDA MFA artist Rahne Alexander each contributed to the discourse around this subject.

strikeWare preview for The Peale at The Charles

An Augmented Reality (AR) preview of The Peale’s forthcoming exhibition, RENOVATIONS, by the strikeWare collective: Christopher Kojzar, Mollye Bendell, and Jeffrey Gangswich will presented at Strive, Baltimore: A fundraiser for the museum’s renovation. The event takes place December 2, 5:30 pm, VIP reception at 7:30pm at the Charles Theater. strikeWare won a 2018 Rubys award in the Visual Arts to support the RENOVATIONS project at The Peale.

Visual Arts Alumnus Zachary Z. Handler in BMoreArt

Handler’s exhibition Zevel was reviewed in BMoreArt by Laurence Ross, November 18. Zachary Z. Handler: “The night I called my grandfather to tell him I finally got my Hebrew name, ‘Zevel,’ I used the landline phone in my father’s jewelry studio where he sat next to me while making this ring. My grandfather, an Orthodox Jew and president of his shul, was so upset that my Hebrew schoolteacher had given me a name that means ‘trash’ that he called the school himself to complain.”

Ann Sofie Clemmenssen’s Kennedy Center video

The second evening of performances of Ann Sofie Clemmensen’s In To and Out Of is now available via The Kennedy Center’s YouTube channel. The work was met with SRO crowds and an electric reception for the three movement passages responding to The REACH.

CIRCA Director Timothy Nohe shows at IMPAKT Festival

Tim Nohe’s video work “Bell Labs Mosh” will be shown October 31 at Het Huis Utrecht Studio 2 in the Netherlands. Bell Labs Mosh is part of a video series that examines the early information age. The underlying industrial film was produced at Bell Labs and represents early experiments in rendering human speech and the “Poem Fields” collaborative computer animation work of artist Stan Vanderbeek and engineer Kenneth Knowlton. Many of the inventions predicted within this video are now a reality and commonplace, as accessible as our mobile phone. The artist has tugged at the matrix of pixels of the movie file, recomposing the digital matter of the image to question the promise and power of computers in our culture.

Visual Arts Professor Vin Grabill to showcase video work at New Media: Poetry in Motion

The gallery becomes a screening room to showcase recent video works by Vin Grabill, Brandon Morse, and Joon Sung. These artists experiment with time-based media to create unique works of art that double as visual poems.
Exhibit runs November 1 – December 13 at HoCo Center for the Arts, with a free public reception on November 8 from 6-8pm. Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm. Closed November 28 & 29.

Visual Arts Professor Sarah Sharp to release magazine “Tool Book Project Volume III: Work Book”

The beautiful risograph print magazine features 18 artists and collaborative teams, along with a series of artist features on the Tool Book website, whose work addresses labor, leisure and art production. Sales of “Work Book” benefit Make the Road New York, a non-profit that builds the power of immigrant and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice, and House of Ruth Maryland, a non-profit organization providing prevention, intervention and advocacy for victims of domestic violence and their children. There will be a launch party and panel discussion on Thursday, October 24th, 6-8pm at the Bronx Museum of Art’s Block Gallery located in TriBeca in NYC. Later this year Artist Talks will be held Sunday, December 15th, 5-7pm at Arete Gallery for Tool Book Project’s Brooklyn Artists.

Chelsea Pace’s Scholarly Activities

The Department of Theater’s Chelsea Pace presented “Making Contact: Considerations for Touch in Voice Training” at the Voice and Speech Trainers Association with UMBC Theater Professor Lynn Watson and Adriano Cabral of the University of Nevada, Reno.

Assistant Professor Pace also presented at the Association of Theatre in Higher Education Conference, Orlando in the Acting and Directing Pre-Conference on consent. Building on her international reputation she offered trainings on intimacy and consent: Culture Change or Choreography: How to Bring Appropriate Intimacy Protocol into All Aspects of the Work and The Changing Nature of Consent in Actor Training Today. She also referenced the work that she did in Spring 2019 with Eve Muson at UMBC:Four Physical Approaches to Poetically Staging Transitions in Naomi Izuka’s Anonymous.

Theater’s Susan McCully, Chelsea Pace and alumna Katie Hileman at National Conference

Theater colleagues presented at the Association of Theatre in Higher Education Conference in Orlando. The panel featured presentations and discussion on “Devising Feminist Structures for Playwriting” featuring Chelsea Pace and Susan McCully, and alumna Katie Hileman. Professor Pace discussed her process for devising “Gwyneth” which will be presented at UMBC this spring. Professor McCully discussed the creation of her play “Girls on a Dirt Pile” which will be produced at UMBC this coming fall. Katie Hileman (BFA ’12) discussed her plays “Chlamydia” and “I Will Eat You”- the latter her thesis project as she pursues an MFA at Towson University.

Lisa Moren’s research featured in The Guardian

The augmented reality artwork of IMDA MFA Graduate Program Director Lisa Moren was prominently profiled in a new piece in The Guardian titled Left to rot: the new global effort to preserve lost monuments.

Seeing Science appears in The Guardian

Seeing Science by the CADVC’s Marvin Heiferman was prominently featured in an online story by Guy Lane in the Art and Design section of The Guardian. Seeing Science offers an insightful and reader-friendly collection of essays and pictures about photography’s role in visualizing science and building human knowledge-from micro to macro levels and everything in between. The book was published by the Aperture Foundation and the CADVC at UMBC.

IMDA Alumna Dilay Koçogullari ’19 admitted to PhD Program

Ms. Koçogullari has secured a position in the new Interdisciplinary PhD program at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design, Wroclaw, Poland. Students in the three year program may study in the areas of Painting and Sculpture, Interior Architecture and Design, Ceramics and Glass, and Graphics and Media Art. Dilay Kocogullari’s thesis installation “Toward the Healing of Souls: Crocheting, Collaborating, and Commemorating” was presented as a memorial to the increasing number of women murdered in her home country, Turkey. Her work won the IMDA 2019 MFA Award. Dilay Kocogullari uses living organisms as art material to explore current health and social justice issues, ranging from nutrition to infant coronary disease and femicide. She was born in Turkey, where she received a B.A. in Biology from the University of Osmangazi a B.A. in Plastic Arts from Yeditepe University, and an M.A. in Painting from Onsekiz Mart University.

IMDA MFA alumnus Chris Kojzar – Culture Blast: Drawing Workshop at IA&A Hillyer

Chris Kojzar offered a drawing workshop and discussion about what it means to openly engage in artistic practice in a public space. He started with a presentation about his practice and the implications of surveillance in 21st century America, and participants walked together through the Dupont neighborhood to sketch outdoors and discuss the idea of drawing in the public space. This drawing workshop was produced in conjunction with Kojzar’s exhibition Plainclothes Agenda.

IMDA MFA alumna Mollye Bendell ’18 debuts new VR work at Harvestworks

Ms. Bendell has been working as an artist in residence at Harvestworks, a digital media arts organization founded as a not-for-profit organization by artists in 1977. The New York center has helped a generation of artists create new works using evolving technologies. Her forthcoming virtual reality work is called the language of the angels. This interactive artwork takes place in a single bedroom, and explores both the gamification of virtual spaces and changing conceptions of space and place within our own consciousness. Her exacting Virtual Reality model of her bedroom questions our increasingly strange passage through the uncanny valley of simulation & immersion. She presented her initial findings on July 27th at Nolan Park, on Governors Island.

Music’s Dr. Janice Macaulay releases new recording

Dr. Janice Macaulay released a new recording of her composition Three Pieces for String Quartet, on a compilation album on the Navona label called Quadrants, Vol. 3, by the Altius String Quartet. Macaulay’s Three Pieces for String Quartet creates dynamic, lyrical, and playful interactions among the players, including: Joshua Ulrich, violin; Andrew Giordano, violin; Andrew Krimm, viola; and Zachary Reaves, cello. For more information:

Visual Arts alumna and official UMBC photographer Marlayna Demond wins accolades

Proud that UMBC’s own Marlayna Demond ’11 was named “Best Photographer” by Baltimore Magazine in the Best of Baltimore Readers’ Poll. Ms. Demond works both as a freelance photographer, and for the UMBC Office of Institutional Advancement. As an undergraduate student Ms. Demond was a Linehan Artist Scholar and member of the Honors College.