Arts Division Newsletter


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The Art of Change podcast features Michael Chemers, Chair, Department of Performance, Play & Design, Professor, Theater Arts

Message From the Dean of Arts

Celine Parreñas Shimizu, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Film and Digital Media

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June 10, 2022

Dear Arts Community:

In my first year as Dean, we focused on 1) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; 2) Mentorship (for faculty and graduate students); 3) Redefining Fundraising and Research Development; 4) Culture and Climate; and 5) Equitable Student Success. Our newsletter archive includes highlights throughout the year.

Heartiest and happiest thanks to all of you, our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends for sharing our mission and vision: excellence and equity, and the power of the arts to enrich our lives, elevate our consciousness and transform society. I am grateful to lead and to serve as your Dean.

After 200 hours over 17 weeks, our new Arts Division logo results from consultation with faculty, staff and students who describe the symbol as a nest, creative discovery like paths crossing, a camera eye, games (pick up sticks), asymmetry as part of nature, mutation and change, the productive aspects of difference and error, taking us into deep territory (not a flattening), feels like it is already in motion, and openness. Thank you to Barretto-Co for your collaboration, creativity and community in this process. Please see the presentation that Steve Barretto shared at the Arts Spring Town Hall. We will roll out our new logo fully this Fall at Convocation!

Our divisional statement on diversity, equity and inclusion “Harmonious Changes: The New Sound of DEI in the Arts at UCSC” and all the departmental action plans are now up on our website.

We invite alumni, partners and donors to support our efforts. Check out our Arts Division one-sheets that describe our latest and greatest needs. Join us! 

Congratulations to our 2022 graduates and our retirees. The graduation events this week and last are wonderful celebrations of all we have accomplished and all that is ahead. I wish you all a joyful and rejuvenating summer! Please look for our next Arts Dean’s newsletter in the Fall.

Fiat Slug,

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email me: artsdean@ucsc.edu

Photo: Carolyn Lagattuta

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People in the Arts

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Featured Undergraduate Student

August L Stevens

Film & Digital Media/Political Sciences

Assistant Producer: Cultural Arts & Diversity Resource Center,

President: African American Theater Arts Troupe,


August Lee Stevens will be closing out her first tour with a concert at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz. She’s taking part in the two-year anniversary of the Speak for Change Podcast featuring podcast creator Thomas Sage Pedersen and an interview with Ashanti Branch, the Oakland-based founder of the Ever Forward Club. Her dynamic set will feature music from her upcoming project.

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Featured Graduate Student

Lívia Perez

Digital Arts and New Media M.F.A. – Isaac Julien Lab

During the spring 2022 quarter the Isaac Julien Lab activities consisted of an art residency at the Isaac Julien Studio in London. During Livia’s time in the UK, she was able to advance her thesis project “Meeting Norma” by holding meetings and interviews with researchers such as B. Ruby Rich (Critic and Professor Emerita UCSC), Ros Muray, (King’s College), Nicole Ferrer (Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir), Catherine Deudon (photographer) and Syn Guérin (videomaker, activist). These videos were made with the support of Isaac Julien Studio and its partnership with The Derek Jarman Lab (Birkbeck, University of London). Next steps for the project include filming in New York and Rio de Janeiro.

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Featured Faculty

David Evan Jones

Professor of Music

Two pieces composed by David Evan Jones for traditional Korean instruments were premiered in Seoul, South Korea on March 20, 2022. The two premieres—entitled Invisible Light and Waves of Light—were composed in response to commissions from Jung Min Song on gayageum (a 12-string zither) and Hyo-young Kim on saenghwang (a 30-pipe reed mouth organ similar to the Chinese sheng). As director of gayageum quartet Sagye, Jung Min Song has been a frequent collaborator with Jones who has composed, recorded and published two pieces with the quartet.

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Featured Staff

Lindsey Tavares-Sabido

Program Coordinator at UCSC's Institute of the Arts and Sciences

As a first-generation American, first-generation college graduate and an adult child of a formerly incarcerated parent, Lindsey Tavares-Sabido has met more than her share of challenges. But every step of the way she has managed to succeed beyond the norm.

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Featured Alumna

crystal am nelson

History of Art and Visual Culture, 2021

Dr. crystal am nelson was recently appointed assistant professor of African/Diasporic visual studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Pennsylvania State University, where she has been working on her first monograph, and will begin teaching in the fall. nelson is a specialist in African American art and her research examines the visual culture of Black pleasure, the aesthetics of Black joy, and Black middle-class art collecting practices.

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Arts in the News

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Distinguished Professor Sir Isaac Julien Knighted by Queen Elizabeth

Isaac Julien, UCSC distinguished professor in Digital Arts and New Media and filmmaker whose work has explored intersections of race, gender, sexuality and class across the years, has become one of the few Black artists to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

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Dean Celine on KPFA Radio

Dean Celine recently talked about her latest film 80 YEARS LATER on KPFA’s Letters and Politics program. On the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 that imprisoned Japanese Americans in World War II, 80 YEARS LATER captures how families continually grapple with the legacy of their experience. Beyond physical appearances, habits and tendencies, how does one inherit trauma across generations?

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Promoting Freedom of Expression and Combating Censorship

The Arts Research Institute's Arts & Oppression Initiative launched this week with an exhibition at the Special Collections & Archives Library showing work of nine award winning students led by Professor Dee Hibbert-Jones, and work from the archives. The Initiative is designed to provide opportunities for faculty and students to address freedom of expression, with a focus on censorship, race, and representation. The Arts and Oppression Initiative, grew out of ARI’s deep concerns about increased censorship of art and literature in education and the silencing of queer, trans and black voices in the U.S. and abroad. ARI’s initiative funds opportunities for faculty and students to examine, explore and elevate dialog of these issues in a protected and respectful environment. The Arts & Oppression Initiative includes a Visiting Artist program, a Freedom of Expression Student Comics Class and graduate student teaching fellowships and faculty/student funding for work that engages artists and scholars on critical issues related to freedom of expression, censorship, race and representation.

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Earth Futures Institute Art-Science Collaboration: LogJam

The Earth Futures Institute (EFI) initiated its first art-science collaboration between Canadian artist Brad Necyk, molecular ecologist Rachel Mayer, and mediaturg Edward Shanken. On April 15, the team, with EFI Director astronomer Sandra Faber and a group of graduate students and a postdoc from the UC Paleogenomics Lab, took water samples at the UC Landels Hill-Big Creek Reserve. They discovered a remarkable log jam that will be the site of an ongoing transdisciplinary research project on climate change and environmental DNA. Necyk is a Research Associate in Film & Digital Media and an EFI Fellow.

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Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence & Equity Supports Student Presenting in Romania

Marilia Kaisar, Ph.D. Student in Film and Digital Media, will present her paper "Situated and Displaced: Diasporic Subjectivities in Essaystic Film Production" at the NECS 2022 Conference: Epistemic Media: Atlas, Archive, Network in Bucharest, Romania. The paper explores essay films from three diasporic female filmmakers Chantel Akerman, Marilu Mallet, and Mania Akbari, analyzing how these filmmakers situate their bodies in place and how these films engage in practices of home-making. Presenting at the conference is supported by the Film and Digital Media Department Travel Award and the Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence and Equity (ADFEE).

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Fine Arts Major and 300 Nails

Dylan Lombardo, Fine Arts Major in his junior year, has been working on a project called 300 Nails. The Introduction to Sculpture class was instructed to do something 300 times so he decided to collect 300 fingernails from UCSC students. He would introduce himself to people and have general conversations, and then ask if they would like to be a part of an art project. The reactions varied, but most participants were excited, or shocked. Dylan ended up meeting new friends and finishing his project along the way. His project is about the relationship between consent and bodily excrement.


Film and Digital Media Ph.D. Student Nominated for Webby

Mahshid Modares’s (Social Documentation Alumna, 2020, & First-Year FDM Ph.D.) interactive documentary, Sanctions on the Sky, was one of the top 10% of the 2022 nominees for the 26th Annual Webby Awards, out of 14,000 entrants. The film is the revised version of Mahshid’s Social Documentation M.F.A. thesis project and won three awards in Spring 2022.

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Estuaries Follows a Mosaic of Colorful, Queer Characters

Estuaries (2022, USA/Mexico, 101 mins) directed by Lior Shamriz, Film and Digital Media Ph.D. candidate, is an expansive portrait of the LA art scene that ranges from hilarious and scathing to emotionally affecting and honest. Estuaries follows a mosaic of colorful, queer characters—all connected through an artist named Bdalak who recently passed during their own performance piece. Set in 2017—though filmed during the pandemic—the film centers on two figures: Bdalak’s partner Eli (played by director Lior Shamriz), a musician who must think of alternative ways to obtain an immigration visa; and Myrna (Chelsea Rector), a peer of Bdalak’s who is planning a retrospective of their work (albeit with questionable motives).

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Art of Change Video Podcast on UCTV!

Be sure to watch episodes of the Art Division’s video podcast on UCTV, featuring conversations about various programs and departments, and their approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion.


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SFFILM Youth Filmmakers’ Camp – Scholarships Still Available

SFFILM Education’s Youth Filmmaker Camp is an intensive summer program for teens ages 14–18 to learn from world-class film professionals in a fun, interactive, and collaborative environment. Students dive deep into the filmmaking process by learning about screenwriting, storyboarding, production, cinematography, sound, editing, and much more.

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SFFILM Youth Education Intern

This internship includes four weeks of teaching/production assistance at the Youth Filmmakers Camp (July 11th – August 5th, 2022) and two weeks supporting the outreach and development of SFFILM Education’s curriculum development and program planning. This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in filmmaking education, curriculum planning, and teaching.

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Indexical Hiring Program Coordinator

Indexical is seeking a program coordinator to assist with the operations of a venue, presenting organization, and exhibition space at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz. This individual will work closely with the executive director to plan, execute, and support a year-long series of experimental music performances, exhibitions, residency programs, and site-specific projects in collaboration with a range of local and national arts institutions.

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Funding for Student Success

The Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence and Equity is accepting applications from Arts undergraduate and graduate students. Arts students are encouraged to review the criteria and apply!


Open Call for Transmediale Festival Contributions

The 2023 edition of transmediale calls for proposals that creatively engage with the scale and capability of technological systems. The call is open to multiple formats including: algorithms, artworks, bots, discussions, essays, events, experiments, films, lectures, online projects, panels, performances, sound, walks or workshops. Submission is open until June 30.

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Scholarships for California Students

This page features scholarships specifically for California students and also has a lot of information on the student experience in California, including: educational opportunities, statistics on student debt, and how to find and apply for scholarships.

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Support the Redwood Free Market for Students

The Redwood Free Market, formerly known as the Slug Support Food Pantry, provides vital food resources for UC Santa Cruz students. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched with an initial goal of $5,000, which will fund the Redwood Free Market for one academic quarter. Small gifts can make a big impact: $5.25 funds one full week of meals for a student visiting Redwood Free Market.

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Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowship Program

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is pleased to announce the launch of the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships, a new program designed to support emerging scholars as they advance bold and innovative research in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. The program is made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

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Join our events

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Continuing through June (in person)

Irwin 2022: Emulsion

The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery presents Irwin 2022: Emulsion, the 36th annual Irwin Scholarship exhibition, showcasing the work of a select group of UC Santa Cruz’s accomplished young artists from the Art Department. The 2022 Irwin Scholars are Aja Bond, Marceline Cyrus, Brennan Elliott, Thomas Goldie, Nico Gu, Elena Ibbetson, Valerie Jackson, Lucien Jacobs, mari mafnas, Amelia Smyth, Elijah Solow Ohashi and Christy Yee.

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Continuing through August 14 (in person)

Strange Weather: Contemporary Art

Spanning five decades, from 1970-2020, the works are drawn together for how they creatively call attention to the impact and history of forced migrations, industrialization, global capitalism, and trauma on humans and the contemporary landscape. Showing concurrently at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz.

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Through September 16

Summer break

Enjoy your summer! We look forward to seeing you at our events in Fall quarter.

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