Bhattacharjee, Bowlsbey, Cochran and Johnson awarded Faculty Life grants

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Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Four Pennsylvania College of Art & Design faculty members were awarded Faculty Life grants this Spring:

Shwarga Bhattacharjee: The Philadelphia-based adjunct faculty member was recently accepted into the artist residency organized by Twelve Gates. The experience, Bhattacharjee writes, will “allow me to grow artistically and professionally, as I will participate in a group show with two other residents upon completion.” Bhattacharjee’s grant will fund materials used to create work during his residency. “Being part of the PCA&D community has been a wonderful experience for me, and I am thankful for your support in helping me create a new body of work that will contribute to my growth as an artist and educator,” Bhattacharjee writes. 

Ashley Moog Bowlsbey: Bowlsbey’s grant covered expenses related to attendance at the Society of Photographic Education’s national conference this spring in Colorado. The SPE is the leading group that supports educators and students in the understanding and experimentation of photography in all its forms.

According to Bowlsbey, sessions included lectures “on new technologies, as well as discussions on teaching photography and how to expand on curriculum in the classroom. There were artist talks on various types of work currently being made by photographic artists of all ages and styles ranging from professionals, and educators to students. These lectures introduced me to new artists to share in the classroom to expand my students’ knowledge of what is currently happening in the photographic world. There were also many photo exhibits going on in Denver for photo month. This gave me the opportunity to explore more work to share with my students.

“In addition to conference sessions,” Bowlsbey continues, “I was able to meet other educators from across the nation to help create a community and to share ideas for bringing new photographic practices and technologies into the classroom. I was able to attend the Mid-Atlantic chapter meeting for SPE, which helped inform me about opportunities for students and educators in our region. Meeting the other members from this chapter helped me to not only build connections but to also get more involved. I will be taking over as the treasurer for the SPE Mid-Atlantic Chapter, which would not have happened without attendance to the conference that was made possible by the grant.”

Ellie Cochran: The grant awarded to Cochran (Adjunct, Animation & Game Art, Graphic Design) will fund membership in the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), and will also fund attendance at ACM’s 50th SIGGRAPH conference.  “SIGGRAPH is a gathering of computer graphics and rendering professionals, production artists, user interface design specialists, and others dedicated to creating visual art and experiences with and for computing platforms,” Cochran explains. “SIGGRAPH is an opportunity to share the latest graphics-related research, technologies, and new concepts in the field which may not have been released commercially, and is an opportunity for me to network with other professionals, grow my own skill, and gain experience with new creative technologies.

“50 years of conferences is a major milestone for SIGGRAPH, and they’re celebrating with a historical retrospective theme for this year’s conference. This presents an exciting opportunity for me to get some insight into both the history of the conference and the history of computer graphics in general!” Cochran says. “Having attended and gained lots of insight and new ideas from SIGGRAPH last year, I expect this year’s conference to be a source of great creative inspiration and professional opportunity.”

Rich Johnson: The grant awarded to Johnson (Adjunct, Graphic Design) will fund an eight-week course in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality application and concepts for development provided by MIT through the Emeritus MIT XPro series Each week will have course material covering concepts including Producing VR and AR Experiences, XR Development, XR Game Development, XR Communications and Social Applications, Evaluating XR Systems and Broader Implications of XR. 

“My intention for the knowledge that will be gained from this course is to move digital media design and creation into the virtual space,” Johnson writes. “I would like to build 3D content in an immersive environment and provide virtual experiences as a tool to communicate ideas that might exist entirely in VR or be a place to explore eventual projects that would be built physically. And, as a next step, produce sensory experiences that exist in both the physical and virtual world as augmented reality experiences.”
Top photo: Spring 2023 Faculty Life grantees, from left: Ellie Cochran, Shwarga Bhattacharjee, Ashley Moog Bowlsbey, Rich Johnson.