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CDMC Summer Fellowships Offer Unique Research Support to UW Undergrads

Screenshot from CDMC Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Virtual Symposium, August 2020.

The UW Center for Design and Material Culture at SoHE, with generous support from the Chipstone Foundation, supported three undergraduate student fellows this summer, each pursuing research in one of the center’s three pillars of work: textile studies, material culture, and design thinking. Last week, the students presented their findings in a virtual symposium, attended by their faculty mentors as well as others in their respective majors, which include English, Art History, and Interior Architecture.

“This is precisely the kind of engagement our center is designed to foster,” says CDMC Visiting Director Dr. Sarah Anne Carter. “Even with our collection and galleries closed to in-person visitors due to COVID-19, initiatives like these undergraduate fellowships demonstrate the powerful research and learning opportunities we can provide for faculty and students across disciplines and institutions.”

CDMC is home to the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, as well as its fully searchable online database of more than 9,000 catalogued items; the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery and Ruth Davis Design Gallery, both of whose recent shows are now available to view virtually; and the Design Thinking Program. CDMC staff have been working throughout the pandemic to ensure access to the center’s resources through new online platforms, increased virtual engagement with its audiences, and programs like the summer fellowship. Its 2020 summer fellows were:

Zhaojie Zhong

Zhaojie presented “Ceremonial and Conventional Furnishings: Decorative Chinese Embroideries of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.” She is pursuing a double major in Art History and English, and her research was advised by Dr. Yuhang Li, Associate Professor in Art History.

Nadia Tahir

Nadia presented “Innovation Camp: Exploration of Design Thinking Pedagogy on Campus.” She is pursuing a major in Interior Architecture in SoHE’s Design Studies department, and her project was advised by Michelle Kwasny, Academic Director for the Master’s in Design + Innovation and Design and Research Strategist in the Chancellor’s Office. 

Noah Mapes

Noah Mapes presented a look into early American material culture with his presentation, “A Storied Virginia: Finding the Human in the Ledger of William Ramsay,” advised by Dr. Ann Smart Martin, the Stanley and Polly Stone (Chipstone) Professor of American Decorative Arts and Material Culture. Noah is majoring in Art History, with a certificate in Material Culture.

View a recording of the students’ symposium online.

Learn more about the Center for Design and Material Culture, including opportunities to study and research, at cdmc.wisc.edu and by signing up for its quarterly newsletter.