Marketing & Communications: University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago launch Field Trip / Field Notes / Field Guide

CHICAGO—The University of Chicago, Art, Science & Culture Initiative (UChicago), the School of Art & Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Earl & Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaborations, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) are pleased to announce the launch of an unprecedented inter-institutional platform for research and exchange.

Supporting a select group of Fellows from participating institutions, Field Trip / Field Notes / Field Guide will connect exceptional graduate students and recent alumni from the arts, design, humanities, sciences and social sciences over the course of a year as they pursue their work in the studio, the lab and the field. Intended to augment and broaden the institutional support offered to current MFA students and alumni and to PhD candidates, the consortium’s Fellows will collectively engage Chicago’s vibrant urban environment as a shared landscape in which to critically formulate and communicate their diverse disciplinary concerns.

“We have discovered through our work that bringing together graduate students from diverse disciplines to engage in active exchange—sharing their methodologies and tools—is highly productive for each individual’s artistic production and scientific inquiry,” states Julie Marie Lemon, Director and Curator of the Arts Science & Culture Initiative at UChicago. “We are delighted to broaden our work to include graduate students from these other great institutions, enriching and sparking new conversations around the fertile resources Chicago has to offer, and that we can help make available to them.”

Meeting on a monthly basis from October 2015 through June 2016, the nine Field Trip / Field Notes / Field Guide Fellows will be asked to participate in and self-initiate a series of field trips, seminars, lectures, readings and discussions. With the intention of building an interdisciplinary community, the consortium’s activities are directed to provoke unexpected exchanges, build collegial relationships and allow for unique encounters that would not typically occur within a university setting. “Chicago is an amazing city to explore this, with a wonderful breadth of people, places, systems and structures. The Field Trip / Field Notes / Field Guide program is a great platform for members of the SAIC community to connect with other thinkers and makers, to ask interesting questions and to explore interdisciplinary creative practice,” adds Douglas Pancoast, Director of the Earl & Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration and Associate Professor of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A “field guide,” produced in spring of 2016, will collect and present the Fellows’ research over the course of the year, highlighting and examining their distinctive approaches to research and practice while on site “in the field.”

Nominated by their respective institutions, the cohort of nine participants was selected through a faculty nomination process, and includes representatives from the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences:


Mallory James, PhD student, Anthropology; Nicole Bitler Kuehnle, PhD candidate, Evolutionary Biology; Richard Williamson, MFA, 2014.


Alejandro T. Acierto, MFA in New Media Arts, 2014; Kera MacKenzie, MFA in Moving Image, 2013; Nicoletta Rousseva, PhD student, Art History.


Satya Basu, M.Arch, AIADO, 2015; Troy Douglas Pieper, MA, New Arts Journalism, 2015; Tina Tahir, MFA in Visual and Critical Studies, 2015.

About the Participating Institutions:

University of Chicago (UChicago)
Arts, Science & Culture Initiative

The Art, Science & Culture Initiative cultivates collaboration, active exchange, and sustained dialogue among those engaged in artistic and scientific inquiry within the University and beyond. The Initiative provides opportunities for scholars, students, and arts practitioners in multiple domains to pursue original investigations and explore new modes of artistic production and scientific inquiry. Breaking intellectual ground requires transcending disciplinary boundaries and venturing into unfamiliar territory. To that effect, the Initiative’s programs are designed to spark conversations and critically engage faculty, students and the public across a broad spectrum of areas including arts, humanities, social science and science.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
Earl & Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration

The Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration connects the SAIC community to civic, academic, and industry organizations from the local to the global. This is a SAIC-wide initiative aimed at increasing the range of research opportunities and broadening the impact of research outcomes for faculty, and investing in our students as 21st-century creative leaders.

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
School of Art & Art History

The School of Art & Art History was founded on the principle that history, theory and practice are intimately entwined endeavors. The School’s programs ignite intellectual curiosity and creative innovation, and empower students to expand the boundaries of what is possible, making an impact on the world. Art students are encouraged to work across the media-specific disciplines of studio arts, photography, moving image, and new media and actively engage departments across the university as well as the larger cosmopolitan city of Chicago. Faculty are equally committed to their research, practice and teaching, and foster an intense intellectual and creative environment where individual research and studio work are complemented by collaborative efforts and socially relevant public projects and civic engagement. The Department offers a BA, MA (Art History or Museum Studies), and PhD.

Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
P: 312.499.4211 (office)