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Thursday, November 14, 2019
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Meet the (New) Faculty: School of the Arts

It’s a new academic year, with new buildings, new students, and naturally, new faculty.

Here’s a little guide to help you get to know Emerson’s newest full-time instructors.

Previously: Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies

Next up: School of Communication.

 

Performing Arts

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Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Timothy Douglas. Courtesy photo

Timothy Douglas
Distinguished Artist-in-Residence

Will teach: acting, scene study, and directing

Timothy Douglas received an MFA from Yale School of Drama and a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College. He has staged more than 100 productions nationally and abroad, and has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Most recently, he received the Lloyd Richards Director Award from the National Black Theatre Festival. Currently, he serves on the board of trustees for Round House Theatre Company, and on the theatre department advisory board of Marymount Manhattan.

 

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Assistant Professor Jefferson Fietek. Courtesy photo

Jefferson Fietek
Assistant Professor

Will teach: theatre education

Jefferson Fietek earned an MFA in Directing from Western Illinois University, and a BFA in Directing and Acting from Minnesota State University. He comes to Emerson from the College of Saint Scholastica, where for six years he taught multiple art integration courses for graduate and undergraduate students. In addition to directing more than 80 stage productions, he founded and served as the theatre department chair of the Anoka Middle School of the Arts Theatre for 14 years. He was commissioned to write and develop a full-time middle school theatre arts curriculum in the largest school district in the state of Minnesota, which he was invited to revise in the summer of 2018 to reflect the new Minnesota state arts standards. He has received numerous awards, including the National Educator of the Year Award from the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership.

ET: What do you most look forward to teaching students?

JF: I most look forward to helping students understand the powerful impact their work/art has on the people who experience it. Be it a theatre teacher interacting with their student or that connection between theatre artist and their audience, what you do creates a ripple effect. When you have an opportunity to interact with a student you are teaching or an audience that is viewing your work, you have an opportunity to create an impact – either positive or negative. These impacts can be life-changing.

Think of a time a teacher or artist has done something to inspire you or motivate you or changed your thinking. Has there been a time a teacher or an artist inspired the direction of your life? I look forward to helping the students at Emerson be able to make these connections stronger and to better ensure those connections lead to a positive outcome.

ET: What was the last new thing you learned?

JF: I recently attended the New England Puppetry Intensive, which was a two-week program focusing on new approaches to design [and] construction in the world of puppetry. I learned some new mold making and casting methods that I did not know prior.

ET: What do you do when you’re not working?

JF: I am a huge film buff and love to see movies as much as possible. Even though I work in theatre, I also love to see theatre!

 

Visual and Media Arts

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Distinguished Curator-in-Residence Leonie Bradbury, Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice. Courtesy photo

Leonie Bradbury
Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice
Distinguished Curator-in-Residence

As a leading curator of contemporary art, Leonie Bradbury has excelled in roles at academic and cultural institutions and built a strong reputation as an astute reader of contemporary culture. She has curated innovative exhibitions that seek to provide critical and social commentary through the lens of art. She received her PhD in Visual Arts at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, Maine; an MA in History of Art and Architecture from Boston University; and a BA in Art History from the University of Minnesota. Prior to Emerson, she served as director of art and creative initiatives at HUBweek. Bradbury will teach in addition to curating and directing the Media Art Gallery, administering the Huret & Spector Gallery, and serving on the School of the Arts Public Art Think Tank.

 

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Assistant Professor Rashin Fahandej. Courtesy photo

Rashin Fahandej
Assistant Professor

Will teach: emerging media

Rashin Fahandej is a multimedia artist and filmmaker whose projects center on marginalized voices and the role of media, technology, and the public in generating social change. Her multiplatform, co-creative project, A Father’s Lullaby, highlights the role of men in raising children and their absence due to racial disparities in the criminal justice system. She has been a research fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, and a visiting faculty member at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is the 2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize recipient with an upcoming exhibition at the ICA Boston.

 

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Distinguished Producer-in-Residence Aida Moreno. Courtesy photo

Aida Moreno
Distinguished Producer-in-Residence

Will teach: television production

Aida Moreno is a prolific television producer with more than three decades of experience in creating successful primetime programs and series for PBS. She worked on a variety of programs for Boston’s WGBH before forming her own company, Moreno/Lyons Productions. She is best known as the creator and original executive producer of Antiques Roadshow, which has gone on to garner a total of 16 Emmy nominations. For Moreno/Lyons Productions, she created America’s Ballroom Challenge, a competitive ballroom dancing series that has so far totaled 17 primetime hours. The company also has produced The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements, an Emmy Award-winning, three-hour series about the story behind the Periodic Table.

ET: What do you most look forward to teaching students?

AM: I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful mentors over the years. I owe much of my success to them – to their willingness to share their knowledge with me. Now it’s my turn to pay it forward. I’m excited about the opportunity to share some of what I’ve learned with the next generation, and to help them launch their own careers in television.

ET: What was the last new thing you learned?

AM: The latest thing I’ve learned – thanks to my 20-something daughter – is how to use an MBTA app to figure out when and where to catch the next bus or subway train that will get me to Emerson on time by T!

ET: What do you do when you’re not working?

AM: I cook! It’s relaxing and creative, and the end result is often delicious – or so I’m told. I especially like trying out new recipes from different cultures.

 

Writing, Literature and Publishing

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Assistant Professor George Baroud. Courtesy photo

George Baroud
Assistant Professor

Will teach: literature

George Baroud is a classicist whose research interests encompass Greek and Roman rhetoric and historiography, the philosophy of history, and the reception of classical literature and culture in the Arabic/Islamic worlds. He received his PhD and MA in Classics from New York University, and a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and was a DAAD fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin. At NYU, he was the inaugural Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in Liberal Studies, where he received the José Vázquez Award for Teaching Excellence two years in a row, as well as the Faculty Mentor Award. Baroud is also a photographer with a strong interest in social documentary and travel photography.

 

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Assistant Professor Rajiv Mohabir. Courtesy photo

Rajiv Mohabir
Assistant Professor

Will teach: creative writing

Rajiv Mohabir earned his PhD in English from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. He has taught fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at Auburn University and the University of Hawai’i, and is the author of two poetry collections: The Cowherd’s Son (2017), which won the 2015 Kundiman Prize, and The Taxidermist’s Cut (2016), which was selected by Brenda Shaughnessy for the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry by Four Way Books. As the translator of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara, the only firsthand account of the mass displacement of people from the Anglophone Caribbean (originally published in 1916 by an indentured laborer), he was awarded a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, and was a recipient of the Hindi Language Fellowships from the American Institute of Indian Studies.

 

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Assistant Professor Katie Williams. Courtesy photo

Katie Williams
Assistant Professor

Will teach: fiction writing

Katie Williams received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Texas, Austin, and a BA from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Emerson, she taught writing at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. She has authored numerous short stories and three novels. Her book, Tell the Machine Goodnight, has been selected as The New York Times Editor’s Choice, one of NPR’s “Best Books of 2018,” and was a finalist in fiction for the Kirkus Prize. It has been translated into a number of languages, including Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. Her work has appeared in a wide assortment of publications, including The Atlantic, Best American Fantasy, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, and Subtropics. Williams has been the recipient of the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and James A. Michener Fiction fellowships.

ET: What do you most look forward to teaching students?

KW: Proper dialogue formatting. I kid. I’m looking forward to teaching my students how to use fiction craft techniques in service of their own particular creative vision and voice.

ET: What was the last new thing you learned?

AM: The last new fact I learned was that English didn’t have a word for the color “orange” until the fruit was imported from Asia to Europe in the 1400s. Before that, the color was called “yellow-red.” (That’s from “For the Love of Orange” by Larissa Pham, The Paris Review, 13 August 2019).

The last new thing I learned to do was make a ginger tisane for a cold, by watching my mother-in-law’s very kind middle-of-the-night ministrations when she realized I was up with an itchy throat. She is the nicest mother-in-law.

ET: What do you do when you’re not working?

AM: I hike with my husband and dog; I practice yoga on my own (though the dog tries to get involved); I play deck games and bake sweet things and draw little pictures, and of course I read lots and lots of books.

 

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Artist-in-Residence Gabby Sumney. Courtesy photo

In addition to the School of the Arts newcomers, Visual and Media Arts faculty member Gabby Sumney has been named Artist-in-Residence, and will continue to teach experimental media studies and production courses.

Sumney’s work is in experimental nonfiction with a focus on identity and personal narrative. Sumney’s formal interests include direct manipulation, animation techniques, film as a material, and hand-processed images, which they use to create motion, installation, and still print work. They earned an MFA in Media Art from Emerson, and a BA in Film Studies from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.