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Doctoral Student’s Project Unites Art and Community Engagement in South Korea

Last year, Art History doctoral student Jung E. Choi received a grant to develop a local art festival, “Like Project 2016,” at the SlowSlowQuickQuick alternative space in Seoul, South Korea. Her aim was to nurture community self-help in deprived urban neighborhoods and to inform her dissertation on the intersection of art, technology and space.

She was among 19 Duke students who received Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants in 2016-17 for training beyond their core disciplines. Her faculty mentor was Mark Hansen.

Since then, Choi received her Ph.D. and completed the Graduate Certificate in Information Science + Studies. She is currently a research scholar in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies. She shared a brief overview of her grant experience:

The project intended to nurture community self-help in deprived urban neighborhoods by integrating art and community engagement in a flexible tool for achieving a welcoming atmosphere and changing the perception of place among inhabitants and visitors. I organized 12 different meet-ups among artists, community members and visitors and had opportunities to discuss various ways to enhance the understanding of the neighborhood and find better ways to engage with the environment involving art.

Through this project, as a curator/scholar, I was able to understand the practical issues of curation that involve ongoing conversations among community members as well as the integrated approach to art and life.

This internal funding mechanism from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies encourages graduate students to step away from their core research and training to acquire skills, knowledge or co-curricular experiences that will give them new perspectives on their research agendas. Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants are intended to deepen preparation for academic positions and other career trajectories.

See who received these grants for 2017-18, and read about other 2016-17 recipients’ experiences: