Skip to main content

Community Connections Fellowship

The UC San Diego Arts and Community Engagement initiative offers an annual fellowship for graduate students to create meaningful partnerships with community organizations, with an eye toward education, engagement and divergent experiences with the visual and performing arts.

Student initiated, the fellowships enable students to carry out clearly defined projects related to their area of interest, providing students with an opportunity to build community through the arts while also gaining practical experience that may influence their research, academic focus or career trajectory. 

“The arts offer a unique way to understand the world that connects and surrounds us. We experience different perspectives; we are moved, inspired and renewed. More than this, the arts can be a key element in bringing people from divergent viewpoints together to create vibrant communities, in which many voices are heard and welcomed, and society itself can be transformed.” — Susan Narucki, Arts and Community Engagement inaugural director

The 2022 – 2023 Fellows

AguilaDavid Aguila, Department of Music

Community partner: San Diego Youth Symphony

Project: As project lead for Creative Notation for Creative Performance, David Aguila will work with members of in^set to present a series of four sessions to groups within the San Diego Youth Symphony program. During the workshops, students will have the opportunity to develop a unique compositional concept, singular mode of graphic notation and explore deeply personal ideas/artistic content. in^set will help guide them through a process of experimentation and problem solving with the ultimate goal of providing a safe space to refine their scores and musical ideas for a final performance, held at UC San Diego.

David Aguila is a performer and composer currently based in San Diego, where he is pursuing a doctorate in music in trumpet performance. Aguila’s multifaceted practice focuses on trumpet, electronics and music production; working in the fields of contemporary, experimental, electro-acoustic and improvised music. His current research is focused on parametric and gestural notations, sound projection practices and alternative methods to trumpet pedagogy.

agwunchaTiffany Wai-Ying Beres, Department of Visual Arts

Community partner: Asian Art Coordinating Council

Project: Insight Asian Arts will be an online platform that will potentially list all future events related to Asian art, focusing primarily on webinars, online symposia, digital exhibitions and public discussions. Anyone would be able to create listings for, browse, and search for the latest happenings in the Asian art field. The platform itself aims to become a self-generating online community for Asian art where users from all over the world might be able to go, to take part in essential cultural conversations.

Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres is an Asian contemporary art specialist and art historian. As a Ph.D. student, her area of research is modern Chinese painting, with a special focus on visual culture in its global context. She has worked as a curator and exhibition planner with museums and institutions around the world, such as the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, the Pagoda Paris in France, the Today Art Museum in Beijing, and many more.

EmicenteElba Irma Emicente Sanchez, Department of Theatre and Dance

Community partner: Ballet Incluyente

Project: Lights On! Is a screen, dance and design lab for people with disabilities that partners with Ballet Incluyente of Puebla, Mexico. This project proposes to make a 24-hour workshop for a group of 20 amateur dancers with disabilities from Mexico and California, guided by one choreographer and one designer. They will deeply explore choreographic language through the camera, in a process adapted for different needs. As a result, they will create a dance, done from participants’ own homes, utilizing available resources.

Elba Emicente is a first-year MFA lighting design student. She was born in Mexico and holds a bachelor’s degree in dance from Universidad de las Américas Puebla. In 2010, she founded her own lighting company, “iluminicente.” Since then, she has participated in several national and international festivals such as Performatica (Mexico), Festival Internacional de Teatro México in Montreal (Canada), Festival Internacional Cervantino (Mexico) and The Bates Dance Festival (USA), among other participations.

StoneChanell Stone, Department of Visual Arts

Community partner: African American Museum and Library at Oakland

Project: “Taproot” is a proposed artist-in-residence project in partnership with the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) that will utilize the institutional archives to re-embody the lived histories of African Americans in California. Consisting of three major touch stones: research, artwork production and community programming, Chanell Stone will create opportunities for contemporary discourse via a community digitization workshop & artist talk.

Chanell Stone is an artist living and working between Oakland and Southern California. Through self-portraiture, collage and poetry, Stone investigates the Black body’s intersectional states of being and connection to the natural world. Her practice negotiates potentialities for reconciliation and reprieve by upending historical and ancestral memories within the American landscape. Stone earned her BFA in photography from the California College of the Arts, and has exhibited in galleries across the United States and internationally.

2021 - 2022 Fellows

  • kelechi agwuncha

    kelechi agwuncha

    Department of Visual Arts

    Community partner: Haitian American Museum of Chicago

    Project: “heart” is a documentary film directed and produced by kelechi agwuncha. It observes a growing aquatic community in Haiti, and reveals the untold stories of the 2021 Haitian National Swim Team, their Olympic veterans and Haitian aquatic athletes. Partnering with the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, kelechi looks to spark dialogues and exhibitions that illuminate the experiences of Black individuals, as integral to historical aquatic experiences of freedom, play and survival.

  • Melissa Cisneros

    Melissa Cisneros

    Department of Theatre and Dance

    Community partner: Centro Estatal de las Artes (Rosarito, Baja California), Centro Cultural Tijuana (Tijuana, Baja California), Centro Cultural de España en México (Mexico City) and Teatro de La Rendija (Mérida, Yucatán)

    Project: “Procesos en Diálogo” is a transdisciplinary platform for artists, groups and art collectives to share ideas, strategies and methods behind the creative process and practice. Allying with four cultural partners in Mexico with the purpose to shorten the distance among the North-Center-South of the country, Melissa and team promote equity, diversity and inclusion through creative networks and collaborations between artists and cultural centers, elevating the contemporary scene of Spanish-speaking artists.

  • Carlito Espudo

    Carlito Espudo

    Department of Literature

    Community partner: Bayanihan Community Response San Diego, and Filipino Migrant Center

    Project: In collaboration with Bayanihan Community Response San Diego and the Filipino Migrant Center, Carlito and their volunteers plan to build community among San Diego high school students in underserved locations and populations through the empowering and self-expressive medium of zines.

  • Maria Rios-Mathioudakis

    Maria Rios-Mathioudakis

    Department of Visual Arts

    Community partner: Holly Drive Leadership Academy

    Project: The Imagination Club hosted by the Holly Drive Leadership Academy (HDLA), will manifest as a series of weekly workshops in which Maria works with HDLA students to flex their imagination muscles through the making of art. HDLA students will also make two trips to UC San Diego to engage with art and artists, culminating in an art exhibition at their school and the Department of Visual Arts Open Studios.

  • Kathryn Schulmeister

    Kathryn Schulmeister

    Department of Music

    Community partner: San Diego Coastkeeper

    Project: Inspired by the San Diego Coastkeeper Six Cleanup Challenge, Kathryn will compose for and create "Sounds for Sustainability: A Live Creation Series" that will feature public, musical events in six different coastal, inland and urban environments in San Diego County. All live creation events will involve a neighborhood cleanup, removing litter and debris from the site and creating music out of the trash that undoubtedly takes a toll on the city and its natural habitats.

2020 - 2021 Fellows

  • Teresa Díaz de Cossio

    Teresa Díaz de Cossio

    Department of Music

    Community partner: Universidad Autónoma de Baja California

    Project: The Festival de Música Nueva, Ensenada is a new music program that will gather UC San Diego faculty and graduate students, and musicians from the south of the border in Ensenada, México. In collaboration with the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, they will be leading a series of workshops, classes and concerts open to the community.

  • Sam Mitchell

    Sam Mitchell

    Department of Theatre and Dance

    Community partners: Rosy Simas Danse and New Native Theatre

    Project: Sam worked with Rosy Simas Danse and New Native Theatre in Minnesota on a series of workshops for Indigenous and BIPOC communities. Additional workshops at UC San Diego, and with Guthrie Theatre (Minneapolis), Sherman Indian School in Riverside, Calif. and the Ikidowin youth program in Minneapolis.

  • Becca Rose

    Becca Rose

    Department of Literature

    Community partners: new community partners for each journal issue

    Project: This online literary journal aims to create a space of creative response to our current moment of transformation due to the global pandemic. Titled "Kaleidoscoped," this space will act as just that — a collection of many refractions of experience — gathering the written and visual art of women, queer, trans, and BIPOC folks across Arts and Humanities disciplines, and across the boundaries of social distancing.

    Watch: "Across the Boundaries of Social Distancing" >>
    Read: Kaleidoscoped >>

  • Paul Roth

    Paul Roth

    Department of Music

    Community partner: KNSJ (89.1 FM)

    Project: Radio Future Hour, in collaboration with San Diego community radio station KNSJ (89.1FM), spotlights the many exceptional and diverse youth-led movements for change in our region. Young community leaders are commissioned to create podcasts for radio play and online streaming archive that presents and explores their work, showing the potentials and visions they bring for tomorrow.

    Listen: Radio Future Hour >>

  • Miguel Zazueta

    Miguel Zazueta

    Department of Music

    Community partner: Committee of Citizen Security of Playas de Tijuana

    Project: The project "Voices for Playas de Tijuana" has the goal to create a dialog between the artistic group Radical: Vocal Ensemble and the Committee of Citizen Security of Playas de Tijuana in order to develop an artistic product that helps this community to reach their goal of making Playas de Tijuana a safe place to live.

    Watch: "Voices for Playas de Tijuana: A social-dialogue community project" >>

Updated May 2022