Archive for the ‘Creative Fellowships’ Category


Our Fall Creative Fellow

   Posted by: rring

Our Fall 2017 Creative Fellow is Soe Han Tha ’18.

Following her intuition since she emigrated from Myanmar to California at the age of 10, Soe Han (an Economics and International Studies double major, with a Chinese minor), “draws energy from both the beautiful and ugly aspects of life.” She “strives to use art to express human complexity and simplicity.” Tango tantalizes her, mosques move her, and Lisbon lingers in her heart wherever she goes to explore. She will explore all the things that the Watkinson holds, and by the end of the semester, her collection of poems will be a testament of her adventures with Watkinson treasures.



Fall 2016 Creative Fellows

   Posted by: rring

Portrait Linh Tran '17Linh Tran’17 was born in Russia, raised in Vietnam and came to the U.S for an undergraduate degree at Trinity College. She is an Economics major with a deep interest in the financial services and real estate industries. Having recently completed her spring semester in Denmark, where she was a student blogger, she explored her arts interest at Trinity as the President of Ballroom Dance Team and the contributing photographer of Humans of Trinity. Linh’s proposal is to learn about classic pottery patterns, especially on the works of Josiah Wedgewood. Inspired by Trinity and Trinity’s history, Linh intends to incorporate an image of the school’s Chapel, the year it was built and Trinity’s logo into the patterns that she will draw on pottery. She intends to show the harmonious combination of classic and modern patterns and also wants to donate to Trinity the potteries that represent the school’s spirit.

CharlieCharles Meier McMahon ’18 of West Hartford, CT, has always been fascinated by the perceived dichotomy between western and eastern civilizations. Throughout the course of this semester, he will be encountering texts that relate to this theme, from analyzing a religious manuscript to reading travel narratives, and also looking at the materials that went into producing them. He will keep a blog of his observations, and by the end of the semester intends to produce an illustrated pamphlet.


Andrew Biedermann, ’18 is an art history major currently in his junior year. He hopes to attend graduate school in art history and one day enter the art world. Andrew’s interests in art are broad but he has been drawn for some time to museums and the profession of curating. Last year he curated a student art exhibition in Trinity’s Career Development Center, selecting 50 of the roughly 100 art submissions. This semester Andrew is delving into the Enders Collection of ornithological books. He expects to compile an illustrated catalogue of books pertaining to bird hunting. While Andrew does aspire to one day begin hunting, his main interest in the topic stems from the stunning prints he has encountered.


OliviaOlivia Gibson ’17 is a International Studies, Religion, and Classics triple major at Trinity. She is also the president of the art collective on campus (The Mill) as well as Station Manager of the college radio station. Having been born in the heart of Silicon Valley and then raised in the old world surroundings of St. Andrews, Scotland, Olivia has always had a keen love of the interplay of past and present. Her proposal, motivated by her passions for history and art, is to use photos from the archives as well as her own observations to create a series of images which look at the history of student life at Trinity College, imagining how different scenes and organizations have changed over time and how different time periods can be layered over each other.


Our Spring cohort of Creative Fellows

   Posted by: rring

I am pleased to announce a bumper crop of Fellows this spring!

Lundergan photoAmanda Lundergan ‘17 will create a short film project based on and exemplifying the symbols she encounters in the Watkinson’s extensive collection of material related to the poet Robert Frost. Amanda is originally from Raymond, New Hampshire (close to the Frost Farm in Derry). She is currently in her sophomore year at Trinity College, where she is majoring in Sociology. She is involved on campus through the Trinity Tripod, where she is the Arts and Entertainment co-editor.


MoranJohn Moran ’15 is a San Francisco native in his senior year at Trinity College.  He studies English with a focus in Creative Writing, and spends most of his time writing and composing music.  He hopes to explore the work of great American lyricists of the past to better build up his own body of work.



MullenAshley Mullen ’15 plans to write a novella of about 60,000 words based on the Watkinson’s collection of 19thC diaries by women, etiquette guides, and home magazines like Godey’s Ladies Book. Ashley is originally from San Diego, CA, and is a senior majoring in Art History and minoring in French studies (she spent two semesters in Paris, living with a host family).


Shaina VermaShaina Verma ’18 plans to work with travel narratives of foreigners touring the U.S., particularly British-born, like Oscar Wilde (Impressions of America, 1906) and Charles Dickins’s (American Notes, 1842). Shaina is originally from New Delhi, India, and is currently in her freshman year at Trinity College, where she is a double major in Mathematics and English, whilst considering a minor in Computer Science. She attended boarding school in England, which further fostered her childhood love of books. She is currently working towards a Private Pilot’s License, as well being proficient in Kuchipudi (a Classical Indian dance form).

VillarrealJake Villarreal ’17 will write and perform a set of Slam poetry inspired by the “movement” archives collections in the Watkinson. Jake is originally from Seaside, CA, and transferred from Bates College this year, majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Gender/Sexuality studies. He hopes to use this fellowship to explore how to integrate the arts and social movements, and is working towards becoming an activist for indigenous rights and queer issues.

WatsonSarah Watson ’15 plans to explore the Watkinson stacks and create a “commonplace book” out of what she finds. An English major from Columbus, Ohio, Sarah can be found in the Underground Coffeehouse, singing with the Chapel Singers, and “breaking it down” with the Quirks.  Next year, she is looking forward to being a City Year Corps Member in New Orleans.


Introducing our Fall Creative Fellows!

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MinotHenry Minot ’17 is from Fairfield, CT, majoring in Classics, and is the Music Director of WRTC, Trinity College’s radio station, and the House Manger of the Mill, the campus arts collective. Henry’s project will be to create an “archive” of 18th-century Revolutionary War-era documents (like a series of letters, and a map) centered around a fictional man in Connecticut who is attempting to raise a militia company for the war effort.


Stefan KramerStefan Kramer (IDP) is a History major who works in the IT industry and has experience and schooling in film-making. Stefan will create a short film (working title, “What the Font?!”) which will feature various fonts as characters in a short, humorous narrative, each with its own voice and characteristics–using our excellent book history collections.


The DEADLINE for applications for a spring Fellowship is December 1st!


Spring 2014 Creative Fellows

   Posted by: rring

We welcome and herewith introduce our Spring semester Fellows with great hopes for their projects:

David FieldDavid Field ’15, originally from Franklin, Massachusetts, is currently in his junior year at Trinity College, where he is an English major with a focus in creative writing as well as a minor in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts. David has written two novels and is currently at work on two other projects, all of which he hopes to publish. He plans to attend an MFA program after Trinity and go on teach creative writing at the college level.

David’s proposal is to explore the Watkinson’s collections for adaptations of canonical works such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Classical mythology, and the stories of specific authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Lewis Carroll, and “produce my own short stories that re-envision these classic works using a more modern lens.” He intends to produce a small volume of these stories and donate it to the Watkinson.

JuanVasquezJuan Vasquez ’15, born and raised in Bushwick, New York, is a Theater & Dance major with a focus in Arts in the Community, with minor concentrations in Urban Studies and Film Studies. Having recently completed his fall semester at the Trinity/La MaMa program in New York, he is interested in exploring the intersection of community development and the Arts. These interests have lead him to work relentlessly within the non-profit sector in the hopes that civic engagement would catalyze a more inclusive society.

Juan intends to write and produce a staged reading of a play exploring the challenges of gay and transgendered people in Cuba, based partially on one of our recently acquired artist’s books, Eduardo Hernandez Santos’s El Muro, a series of ten pictographic triptychs showcasing the thwarted gay nightlife of Havana.

ADGAlix de Gramont ’15 was born in Paris, France and grew up in Santa Barbara, California. She is studying Religion, with a concentration in Judaism and biblical studies, at Trinity College. She currently works for Glenn Horowitz Bookseller as a cataloging assistant for the Dobkin Research Collection of Feminism and Judaica in New York City. She has been with Glenn Horowitz Bookseller since May 2013.

Alix plans to explore the major trends in book design and production over the past five centuries, using examples from the collections and our excellent secondary source material on the subject, and create a series of sketches illustrating these trends, as well as a few physical examples.

Julia, Head Shot     Julia Falkowski ’13, who was a Creative Fellow in the Watkinson in the Fall of 2012, and majored in English and American Studies, has won the New England American Studies Association‘s Lisa MacFarlane Prize for the year’s best undergraduate thesis.  One of her faculty advisers cited her work with the Watkinson as being a key element in her approach to original sources.
     Julia won for her essay, “The New Literati: Sarah Josepha Hale and Edgar Allan Poe in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture,” which she wrote as a one-semester thesis in the English department this past spring.  Julia now lives in Washington, D.C., where she is pursuing a graduate degree in Museum Studies at George Washington University.
     We offer Julia our heartfelt congratulations, and wish her all the best!

Welcome to our Fall Creative Fellows!

   Posted by: rring


IMG_2737Christina Claxton ’16 was so excited to begin that she was working on her project even before classes started.  Initially planning to do something with the French exploration of Canada (having spent 6 weeks at McGill University over the summer doing just that), she was distracted into another project focused on our fabulous first edition of Diderot’s L’Encyclopédie.

Christina has started recording her impressions on a blog titled Philologie de L’Encyclopédie, and says, “over the course of the semester, I will work with its volumes as well as related sources to understand both its impact on the time of its publication and how it has influenced present day knowledge and thinking.”


IMG_2738Maia Madison ’15 intrigued the committee by her desire to create hand-drawn maps tracing the spread of the use if cacao throughout the colonial Spanish Empire. Here is a further description of her ideas:

“Cacao was introduced to Spain in the early-to-mid 16th century, but took several decades to become established. Upon its increase in popularity and accessibility to the general public, it also diffused to Britain and Western Europe. However, with its introduction to new regions, the composition of chocolate fell to a much lower ratio of cacao and a higher proportion of milk. Most of the original flavoring agents (such as chili peppers and achiote) were also eliminated. However, Spain was the one country that maintained native Mesoamerican traditions of cacao for a longer period of time. In the early 18th century, chocolate was “an exceedingly fashionable beverage” (Bugbee) and consumption had increased substantially as cacao became a lucrative and in-demand good. The premise of this project would be a cartographer/explorer commissioned by the Spanish government to provide an in-depth but engaging and readable collection of information about cacao to Spanish merchant companies to encourage investments in the cacao trade (which would of course be taxed), from plantation to table.

For those who wonder if she can pull this off, take a look at her “draft” sketch (her words) which I caught a look at in passing!img781  If this is a quick sketch, imagine what the finished products will look like.  Here is her plan, viz. the maps:

Two 1-1/2’ x 2-1/2’ maps (one overall of New Spain, another zoomed in detail of Central America with inset on the layout of cacao orchards) with information on primary and secondary production regions, areas where flavoring agents were cultivated, trading routes, voyages, Spanish settlements, etc.

We look forward to seeing their projects unfold, and to announcing our Spring Fellows in December!


Creative Fellows presentations

   Posted by: rring

Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed the presentations of our 2012-13 cohort of Creative Fellows, two of whom (Georgia Summers ’15 and Laika Abdulali ’13) will be continuing to work through the summer.

Georgia read a tantalizing excerpt from her paranormal novel based in the Watkinson.  It promises to be a page-turner!

Laika described the fascination (and unexpected humor) she found in several of our travel narratives to the Far East, which she is using as a basis to write several short stories.  She also commented that the ability to browse the Watkinson and read freely among the rare books provided her with a great way to de-stress from writing her thesis (Political Science).

Julia Falkowski ’13 surprised the crowd by bringing in “chocolate jumbles,” which she made from an 1886 recipe book which was used to advertise the products of a food company.

Michael Benson ’13 treated us to two tracks of his mash-up of old-time jazz and modern rap and hip-hop.  And Anastasia Edwards ’13 stunned everyone with a beautiful dress she designed using our 19th-century Paris fashion material.

President Jones, the Trustees of the Watkinson, and the students, staff, and faculty who came to hear the presentations were delighted, and asked many questions.  We look forward to receiving applications (DUE MAY 31) from students who will constitute the 2013-14 cohort!


Amazing Audubon Exhibition at NYHS

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I was thrilled to be invited by the Alumni Office to speak about the Watkinson’s collections related to natural history at an alumni event in New York.  The New York Historical Society has mounted the first of three exhibitions of Audubon’s original paintings, most of which were used as the basis for producing the 435 aquatint engravings for his famous Birds of America (completed in 1838).

Over 40 alumni of Trinity College came out last week on a crisp evening to take a tour of the four large galleries which hold over 160 pieces of art, manuscript letters, and various small artifacts which comprise “Part I” of the exhibition.  You can hear the recent NPR story on Audubon, which mentions the exhibition.

Also joining us was professor Tom Wickman, who has structured a history course around our Enders ornithology collection.  We are team-teaching this course in the library, and were delighted that one of our students (and her parents) also made it to the event.

The Society’s docents did an excellent job taking our two groups through the exhibition, explaining in broad strokes the very interesting life that Audubon led, which culminated in the production of his famous (and famously big) book.  After the tour, I spoke about our amazing copy of the Birds of America, the plates of which were selected and hand-colored by the engraver himself (Robert Havell, Jr.), and passed from his hands in 1878 to a book firm and then to a Trinity alum, Dr. Gurdon Russell (class of 1834).  Dr. Russel owned the set for over 20 years before giving it to Trinity College in 1900, where it has been kept safe and made available to students ans scholars for over a century.

I concluded my remarks by emphasizing the use to which we put these collections throughout the school year, through presentations, events, and initiatives like our unique Creative Fellowship Program.  We all had a great time, and I hope the alums will remember to visit the Watkinson when their classes return to campus for a visit to see the Audubon, which is on permanent display.


New Watkinson Fellows!

   Posted by: rring

I am pleased to announce that we have five (5) Creative Fellows this year in the Watkinson Library:

Michael Benson ’13 (Psychology) plans to explore the roots of hip-hop and rap in our collection of recorded jazz and blues music, and produce a CD of songs in a mash-up mix.

Anastasia Edwards ’13 (Political Science and French) plans to design and produce a garment based on fashion and costume books in the Watkinson.

Julia Falkowski ’13 (English and American Studies) plans to create and cook from a “Watkinson Cookbook” of recipes culled from cookbooks, household guides, and other sources.





Georgia Summers (’15, Undeclared) plans to write a mystery novel with fantastical elements set in the Watkinson, featuring its sources and collections in ways germane to the plot.

Laika Abdulali ’13 (Political Science) plans to write a series of four short stories based on select pre-1900 travel literature.  The final event date has not yet been set, but it will likely be held during the last week of April.

As we welcome the new cohort, I thought our readers would enjoy a few excerpts from the process journals of last year’s Fellows, to give a taste of their experience:

Leslie Ahlstrand ’12, writing poems inspired by fine press books of poetry, week 3:  My overwhelming feeling with the Watkinson is that I’m somehow missing something.  Every time I go down to the stacks to find one book, inevitably many more books whose bindings glint & make me wish that I had somehow found/incorporated them, too . . . After looking through the private press books, I’ve gotten a much better idea of how to produce the group of poems I will write, if not what I plan to write about (that seems an ongoing clarifying process as I read more and more) . . .


John Bower, ’12, re-telling Old Norse myths, week 2:  I spent several hours just sitting and searching through the shelves this week. It was incredible. Many old of these books display astounding workmanship in production and also in the design. Some have hand-drawn title pages. If only today’s books displayed such craft. I looked through a few different areas in my search. Not only the children’s books and the area on Norse materials, but I also looked into an area containing mythology that I noticed while I was on the tour . . . There were some fascinating looking books on Egyptian mythology and belief.  If I expand my project I will have to check these out (I may anyway).


Francis Russo ’13, composing music based on a French manuscript (1833) of songs, week 3:  This week I looked at an amazing French book from the early 1800’s with hand-written music.  Even though I don’t speak French, the melodies could still be useful, as they are simple and are short, song-like phrases.  They are also unharmonized, so I would be able to shape the music by adding harmony and English text.  Interestingly, whoever wrote the music must not have been too well-trained in music notation, because note lengths often exceed the space allowed in the bar or there weren’t enough notes in a bar to properly fill it.  Nevertheless, the hand-written music was amazing to look at and was accompanied by hand-drawn images.

Chloe Miller ’14, writing an online fictional travel blog, based on travel books, week 3:  I went downstairs into the stacks alone today.  It was exciting to have shelf upon shelf to myself down there, but also extremely intimidating.  I kept getting distracted . . . it was sort of that feeling that time around you didn’t exist . . . My favorite part of the old books are the maps & pictures. There is a world map from 1773 with a big open space where Alaska should be.  It looks so strange . . .



Perin Adams ’13, filming a narrative on “the solitary life,” week 1:  Tried to sit still and work—silence almost too much at first—too foreign—BUT get used to it after a while—cathartic—not in a traditional sense, but calming.