Launched this year, the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts and Education Postdoctoral Research Fellowship aims to bring diversity, mentorship, innovation and belonging to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus through its funding of talented artists, according to director of the Division of Arts Chris Walker.
Created by the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives in partnership with the Division of Arts, the fellowship program’s goal is to recruit diverse and accomplished artists from many different disciplines, giving them an opportunity to further their creative work.
According to Walker, the purpose of postdoctoral fellowships is to provide support to recent graduates from terminal degree programs. This new program is unique because it is made particularly for a scholar in the arts.
“It provides them with support, usually some financial support to conduct research, but [more] importantly, mentorship,” Walker said. “[The fellowship] provides a postdoctoral fellow with a faculty mentor or two who will help them get that work developed, help to review work and help them get that work published or presented or exhibited.”
Some opportunities the fellowship offers include learning from visiting artists and developing their own body of work relating to urban hip-hop activism or community leadership with the potential to exhibit internationally and globally. Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art and Associate Dean for the Arts Faisal Abdu’Allah is the faculty mentor for the first fellow in this program, Eritrean-American artist Tehan Ketema. Ketema works closely with Abdu’Allah to see his full working process, Adbu’Allah said.