Our 2016-2017 Chicago/UK Fellows! Clockwise from top right: Elaine Forde, The Floating Museum, OOMK and Billy McGuinness (photo: Erik L. Peterson).

The 2016-2017 Arts and Social Practice Fellowship

During 2016-2017, we expanded the Arts and Social Practice Fellowship by partnering with two organizations: Logan Center Exhibitions at the University of Chicago, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE). The Fellowship award is for $5,000 to US artists and the equivalent in British Pounds Sterling to UK artists.

For UK artists, Logan Center Exhibitions was interested in hosting cultural leaders working with public art, architecture and spatial practices. DCASE was interested in practitioners engaged in public art and/or whose practices interface with public service agencies and local governance (e.g. Parks, Transportation, Planning, Libraries, Health, Police, Neighborhood Development). For US artists, this fellowship served as an opportunity to choose their own hosting organization/s in the UK.

Click below to learn more about our Chicago/UK Fellows from 2016-2017.

Elaine Forde (UK Artist to DCASE)

At The Playhouse in Derry, Northern Ireland, Elaine Forde directed and managed highly innovative, significant, socially engaged arts programmes that have enabled national and international artists and communities to collaborate by exploring social and political problems. During her fellowship with DCASE, she aims to develop a new partnership with Rebuild Foundation Chicago and The Playhouse Derry Northern Ireland. 

Like most other countries, policing in Northern Ireland is complex.  As a result of a 30-year armed struggle, negative opinions and bitterness towards the police are embedded in the mind-set of many people. Elaine will share her experience of using the arts for social change in post conflict Northern Ireland with artists, community and the police. She plans to highlight two innovative projects to stimulate positive social change. 

In 2012, Elaine developed 'Street Talk', a pioneering youth art project in partnership with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The project is specifically designed to use the arts to deter young people from committing crime, as well as enabling young people and police officers to humanize one another through positive and creative exchange. She aims to use her experience of 'Street Talk' as an example to explore new positive creative approaches to policing and justice, by engaging with artists, communities, city departments, police and others. 

Elaine will also reference The Playhouse 'Theatre of Witness' Project conceived by Teya Sepinuck. Theatre of Witness works intensively with people severely affected by the Northern Ireland Troubles, and weaves their true life experiences of The Troubles into multimedia theatre and film performances, which are performed onstage by the storytellers themselves. 

OOMK (UK Artist to Logan Center Exhibition)

One of My Kind (OOMK) is a highly visual, handcrafted small-press publication run by Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin and Heiba Lamara. Printed biannually, its content pivots upon the imaginations, creativity and spirituality of women. Each issue centers around different creative theme, with more general content exploring topics of faith, activism and identity. As well as producing a printed zine, OOMK is present online and hosts regular creative events including DIY Cultures. While OOMK welcomes contributions from women of diverse ethnic and spiritual backgrounds we are especially keen to be inclusive of Muslim women. 

OOMK will be undertaking a two-week research and development trip to investigate artists’ and activist publishing practices in Chicago and expand their international network and profile as creative practitioners, self publishers and leaders in the self publishing community. They further intend to act as a channel for exchange, bringing UK published material to relevant spaces in Chicago and in turn bringing important content from Chicago publishers back to audiences in the UK.

The Floating Museum (Chicago Artists to UK)

The Floating Museum is a collaboration between Chicago artists Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford and Faheem Majeed. 

Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford is a visual artist and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Contemporary Practices at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  His work has been shown at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The UCSD Art Gallery, The Glass Curtain Gallery and The Hyde Park Art Center, among other spaces.  He has held fellowships at MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, The Brown Foundation Program at the Dora Maar House, and the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting.  His work has been supported by grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Harpo Foundation, the Propeller Fund, the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship in Sicily.  He served as a fellow at the Sculpture Space in Utica, NY in Summer 2016.

Faheem Majeed is a builder—literally and metaphorically. A resident of the South Shore neighborhood in Chicago, Majeed often looks to the material makeup of his neighborhood and surrounding areas as an entry point into larger questions around civic-mindedness, community activism, and institutional racism. As part of his studio practice, the artist transforms materials such as particle board, scrap metal and wood, and discarded signs and billboard remnants, breathing new life into these often overlooked and devalued materials. His broader engagement with the arts also involves arts administration, curation, and community facilitation, all which feed into his larger practice.

Majeed received his BFA from Howard University and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). From 2005-2011, Majeed served as Executive Director and Curator for the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC).  In this role he was responsible for managing operations, staff, programs, fundraising, curation, and archives for the SSCAC. During his time with the SSCAC, Majeed curated exhibitions of numerous artists including Elizabeth Catlett, Dr. David Driskell, Charles White, Jonathan Green, and Theaster Gates.

Majeed was selected as the inaugural artist in residence for University of Chicago’s Arts in Public Life Initiative (2012), MANA Contemporary Chicago (2014), and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (2015). From 2013 – 2015 he served as the associate director and faculty of UIC’s School of Art and Art History.  While at UIC he taught classes in museum collections and socially engaged art practices.

Billy McGuinness (Chicago Artist to UK)

Billy McGuinness is the co-director of the Chicago-based art collaborative Red Line Service, which creates cultural experiences for and with Chicagoans currently experiencing homelessness. Red Line Service collectively insist and demonstrate that communal artistic and intellectual enrichment awakens imaginative possibilities in all people, encouraging them to envision, aspire to, and build alternative realities. Billy's practice explores themes of hunger, mass incarceration and poverty. In one piece of work, he limited his food and drink intake for one year based on a budget of the US food stamp benefit of $4.40 per day. Billy received his MFA in Studio Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where is currently a lecturer, and earned his BA in Film & Television at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also currently Director of Just Art, an educational program of the Cook County Jail: Division II in Chicago.