Three Connecticut College faculty members were recently awarded travel fellowships from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation. The fellowships support travel and related expenses for New England-based professors interested in invigorate their teaching with new ideas and experiences.
The winners are:
Associate Professor of Art Chris Barnard
En Plein Air - Painting in the Footsteps of Cézanne and Van Gogh
Barnard traveled to Southern France over the summer of 2023 to paint outdoors in Provence, the region in which Paul Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh dedicated years of their careers to painting “en plein air,” in order to learn more about the historic landscape, hone his skills as an outdoor painter and re-incorporate plein air painting into his teaching. He plans to offer a Fall 2024 plein air course and to develop a summer painting course in France for Connecticut College students.
“I have always drawn immense inspiration from the natural world—especially light—and I came to painting through a love of landscape painting in particular. Some of my foundational painting experiences came from painting outdoors with my uncle, and as a budding undergraduate, 19th-century French landscape painters were some of my biggest heroes, in large part due to their handling of color and light,” Barnard said.
“Like many artists, Paul Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh were inspired by the light in Provence, but they painted it in a new, distinct manner, with evident and characteristic brushstrokes, foregrounding the presence of the painter; their methods paved the way for expressionism and cubism, two of the most impactful developments in 20th-century painting.”
Barnard traveled to Aix-en-Provence, where Cézanne was born and spent the majority of his career; Arles, where Van Gogh created more than 300 works, including his famous “Café Terrace at Night”; and Avignon, painting outdoors and visiting historical sites related to the artists. He also visited sites for a potential summer program for Conn College students. While still in development, Barnard hopes to partner with one of a few Provence-based institutions.
Professor of History Leo Garofalo
Indigenous and African Freedom & Enslavement in Three Cities of the Atlantic World: Nova Scotia, New London and Havana, 1500s to 1820s
Garofalo is planning to develop three new courses to prepare history students to use the tools of archival research, historical analysis and public history to reconstruct and compare the pasts of African and Indigenous enslavement and liberation in three key regions of the Atlantic world: Maritime Canada, southern New England and Cuba.
“In each place, bondage and liberty was shaped and reshaped by migrations, diaspora, displacements, wars, conquests, colonialisms and political independence,” Garofalo said.
“By focusing on key cities and the productive regions that supplied them with free and enslaved labor, foodstuffs, and shipbuilding materials and exports, students in seminars—at the first-year, sophomore, and junior/senior levels—will be guided in learning how to identify, interpret and share findings from a variety of sources: written and print manuscripts, historical archaeology, material culture and art artifacts, oral histories, and historical and memory sites and landscapes.”
Garofalo plans to start with the first-year seminar and develop one new class a year, so interested students can take the new sequence and “continue their journey into more deeply understanding these places and this troubling history that links them.”
Associate Professor of Biology Mays Imad
Learning About West and East African Indigenous Approaches to Addressing Youth Mental Health
Imad is a neuroscientist who teaches a variety of courses and works with faculty across disciplines and institutions on ways to improve teaching and student learning using evidence-based Equity-Minded and Trauma-Informed Education. She will travel to Senegal, Kenya and Uganda to take part in and study the West and East African Indigenous approaches to addressing youth and young people’s mental health challenges in order to enhance her teaching on health and mental well-being at Conn and other higher education institutions.
“From an African perspective, health is not just about an individual’s physical well-being, but also, about their social, economic and cultural context. A healthy person is one who can participate fully in their community and have access to resources that allow them to live fulfilling life,” Imad said. “Often, practitioners in the Global South begin by addressing social determinants of mental health. Mental health is viewed not only as an individual responsibility but also, as a collective one. Thus, there is a great emphasis on community-based approaches where traditional healers and community-based interventions are sought to address mental health issues. Relatedly, practitioners prioritize the involvement of families and communities using culturally sensitive approaches, which can lead to more sustainable and effective outcomes.”
Imad will work closely with the leaders of the International Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicine and Bio-cultural Diversity (PROMETRA), a nonprofit NGO that aims to promote and support the use of traditional medicine and indigenous knowledge in Africa and around the world, to observe and interview healers.
“My focus will be on how those healers help validate the youth and empower them to learn about their physiology and how they can self-regulate and begin to heal. In that sense, I am not only interested in learning about trauma but also intergenerational healing and wisdom,” she said.