We’re excited to announce the four recipients of our 2023 Barnard Library Research Award: Chris Belcher, Dita Hashi, Ari Perezdiez, and Hypatia Sorunke. Each awardee will receive $3000 to help fund research projects that make use of our Zines, Archives, and Special Collections. We’ve also recognized Ekalan Hou as an honorable mention.The selection process was extremely competitive, as we received 140+ project proposals. Congratulations to all!
Meet the awardees:
Chris Belcher is a writer, professor, former sex worker, story consultant and book coach. She’s the author of Pretty Baby: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster / Avid Reader Press, 2022). She completed a PhD in English at the University of Southern California, where she is now Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies and in the Writing Program. Under her working name, Natalie West, she edited the acclaimed anthology We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival.
With this grant, Chris will be digging into the institutional-historical documents of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, particularly the records of the 1982 "Towards a Politics of Sexuality" conference. This will serve as the foundation for her historical, realist family novel-in-progress, which follows two sisters as they come into feminist consciousness in the late 1970s / early 1980s.
Dita Hashi (b. 1998) is an artist and cultural worker based between London and Paris. She works across moving image, painting and writing which she uses to explore the flesh, surplus populations, riots and (the impossibility of) citizenship. Her arts practice draws heavily on her training in the humanities and she views it as a counter space to the disciplinary, compartmentalized void of the academy. Dita's artistic work is both text driven and process-based. She is currently recipient of the ACME ALTERNATIVE PATHWAY AWARD 22/23 and is working towards a public outcome of her work and is currently writing a collection of vignettes exploring class, indigeneity and statelessness which will be released in 2024.
Dita's research project will explore struggles waged by incarcerated Black women and their freedom dreams whilst inside the prison system and the meanings and continuities these dreams may or may not take on "upon release". Dita hopes to produce a moving image work based on this research. Dita will engage the archives hosted at Barnard Library as a point of departure for mediating on contemporary struggles for abolition waged by the formerly incarcerated and the currently imprisoned in the city of New York today.
Ari Perezdiez is compiling and researching a zine for younger Black, Indigenous and people of color on zines and zine history that showcase the legacy BIPOC before them have left. This will be created for and sold through Brown Recluse, a non-profit zine distro for queer and trans folks who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color. They will use Barnard's collections to study various discourse from BIPOC feminist underground movements who used zines as a primary mode of communication before and alongside the internet as primary forms of communication.
Ari comes to this work as a a member of these movements, a queer Latinx zinester, and a non-academic layperson looking to compile a history of collective experiences for people of these movements in the present. In their application, they explained: "So much can be misconstrued and misrepresented when outside researchers try to compile narratives of punk, feminism, perzines etc. I would like to approach these histories with care, humility, and grace."
Hypatia Sorunke (they/them) is a multimedia artist based in New York, New York. They combine their passions of storytelling and visual art through writing, photography, and filmmaking in order to rediscover and reconstruct radical other worlds in this lifetime. They’re work has been exhibited at Museum of Human Achievement, The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, Reel Affirmations: Washington DC’s International Film Festival, The Women’s Film Festival, and Newark LGBTQ Film Festival. With this grant, Hypatia will engage with the audio, film, and zine collection to expand their research on the political, economic, and cultural evolution of 1968-1985 Harlem. Their research will culminate in an animated screenplay and zine-style proposal for the project. Website: www.hypatiasorunke.com