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Dr. Carolyn Jean Martin awarded the 2024 Ted Coons Dissertation Prize

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Carolyn Jean Martin has been awarded the 2024 IDSVA Ted Coons Dissertation Prize, for the dissertation: The Historical Presence and Vernacular Traditions of Black Women Artists Since 1980, directed by Dr. Romi Crawford. The award was conferred at the IDSVA Commencement ceremony in New York City, on April 21, 2024.

Awarded to one graduate each year, The Ted Coons Dissertation Prize was established in 2015 to acknowledge outstanding IDSVA dissertations. It was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Dr. Ted Coons, Professor of Psychology, Cognition & Perception at the Center for Neural Science at NYU. Ted Coons is a pioneer in the field of neuroscience and a major contributor to early studies in neuroaesthetics.

Read Dr. Martin's dissertation abstract:

The past decade has witnessed a marked increase of institutional interest in Black art production, particularly from women as they visualize and verbalize a multi-dimensional Black experience. Positioning at the intersection of historical race and gender subjugation in Europe and America uniquely situates women to maintain a gaze turned toward the self in which to create representations that conceptually, materially, and aesthetically personifies the complexities of Blackness. I examine representations of Black women created by Black women for the past century, that with the feminist traditions of care and regard, employ the use of the vernacular forms of African mythology, diasporic folklore, and storytelling. The aim of this study is to meet the profusion of institutional exhibitions and public interest in the creative labors of Black women with structure building in the form of an academic and critical framework that will make the moment substantive and sustaining. Through a methodology of case studies that presents the work and voice of an individual artist, I examine creative production across mediums that works to shape a collective genealogical trajectory. Connections among artists reveal how vernacular forms and feminist traditions are woven throughout the creative spaces of fiction, poetry, critical theory, and visual representations, and are active components in making whole the fragmented narratives that rise from interpretations of materials contained in the archive; thus expanding the boundaries that define a unique sense of Black time and space.

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