WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics has announced the next Global Fellows Program cohort, the third round of such artists, who embody the Lab’s mission of “harnessing the power of performance to humanize global politics,” as a statement puts it. The 18-month residency is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This year’s group of 10 fellows was selected from an applicant pool from 38 countries and 6 continents. Some artists returned to their home countries after or amidst hardship, some are lifelong locals, while others live as refugees. Their performance work is not only a means to address sociopolitical issues; it is for each of them a means of survival. They teach, perform, produce, and make community in their places of birth and their places of work in Armenia, Lebanon, Mexico, Palestine, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Venezuela, and more.
This year’s fellows are Sonya Armaghanyan, Fidaa Ataya, Abner Torres Delina Jr., Kiyo Gutiérrez, Caroline Hatem, Aganza Kisaka, Ifrah Mansour, Nwabisa Plaatjie, Wesley Ruzibiza, and Sebastián Torres. Full biographies can be found here.
“We were deeply moved and inspired by an extraordinary pool of applicants from 38 countries, and it is a tremendous honor to welcome this courageous and visionary group of fellows, all of whom have been making their work amidst intense challenges and upheaval,” said Lab co-founding director Derek Goldman in a statement. “Taken together, their work—as performers, writers, directors, producers, scholars, change-makers, and leaders—serves as a hopeful antidote for so much that our world is facing. Each of them brings palpable generosity and an appetite to collaborate as part of a larger global cohort, and we cannot wait to bring them together and to witness the work they will inspire from one another.”
Added Lab co-founding director, ambassador Cynthia Schneider, in a statement, “The Lab’s third cohort of fellows are tackling seemingly insoluble challenges—decades-old conflicts, authoritarianism, climate, corruption, just to name a few—with their art. They stretch the boundaries of performance and have found new ways to engage with their audiences. In so many ways they embody the power of the arts to reveal the truth and to heal in the wake of pain and conflict. As with our first two classes of fellows, we hope that this ground-breaking group will find strength in and learn from each other. Together these 30 Fellows form a foundation of innovators from around the world who challenge the status quo, and foster positive socio-political change through storytelling.”
Each fellow will continue working within their own community in conjunction with their Lab work. The third cohort will join the current 2020-22 cohort, whose fellowship was extended to May 2022 due to the pandemic. This overlap in the two cohorts is meant to foster a sense of continuity and give stronger grounds for lasting relationships among fellows.
“The past two cohorts have found creative and innovative ways to develop each other’s artistic practices, and in the process shape the fellowship program itself,” said current fellow Taiwo Afolabi in a statement. “I believe that the third cohort will build on this very legacy as they forge their own path.”
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