Four faculty members from Temple’s Theater, Film and Media Arts Department have been selected as winners of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) Humanities & Arts Program Awards.
The program awards grants and funding to individuals or groups that create performances, exhibitions, or other humanities projects that can potentially lead to external funding and donations. Assistant Professors Rea Tajiri, Michael Kuetemeyer, Moon Molson, and Allan Barber received funding for their projects.
Michael Kuetemeyer’s project, titled Places of Power, is an immersive documentary telling the story of the Fairhill neighborhood and the agents of change striving to improve conditions despite socio-economic challenges. Created in collaboration with community residents and the Village of Arts and Huminities, the documentary will include in-depth profiles of four North Phildelphia community members and activits. Two fo the profilees, Nandi and Khalid Muhammad, run the Penny Candy Store out of their North Philadelphia home in an effort to teach children math, Black history, art and communication skills.
Kuetemeyer will be using the funds he received for programming, community workshops, an editor and a grant writer. In addition, Kuetemeyer hopes to create a complementary web-based map of the Fairhill neighborhood as way to engage civic leadership.
Rea Tajiri and her producer Sian Evans have been awarded a grant for their film, Wisdom Gone Wild, a film on caregiving and dementia that features Tajiri’s mother, who has dementia.
“I wanted to create a nuanced and more hopeful perspective about living with dementia,” Tajiri said. “There are new discoveries to make about a loved one's life, the breadth of our histories and a unique journey to embark upon.”
Tajiri is using her personal experience with dementia to provide viewers with an intimate look at an often understood disease, and to comment on the benefits of caregiving. After accumulating an archive of photos, home movies and conversations, she knew she had enough material to create an informative film.
“This grant will provide support for our time in the editing room and to further develop animation,” Tajiri said. “I'm approaching the telling of this story through an intimate look at the relationship I developed with my mother over a fifteen-year period.”
Professor Allan Barber is working with Tyler School of Art Professor and grant awardee Paul Sheriff, on his personal documentary, My Sister Hali.
At the age of 10, Sherrif’s parents along with his then 14-year-old sister, were killed in a small-plane crash. His sister Hali was considered to be one of the most promising gymnasts in the world at the time and was predicted to be one of the strongest contenders at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. The film serves as a way for Sherrif to connect to his past, and discover more about the event that shaped the course of his life.
Moon Molson's project Hyper/Space also received funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research.