Dr. Megan Smetzer, Lecturer at Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, conducted research at the Burke Museum during the spring and summer 2012. Her research is focused on the 19th diffusion of beadwork along the Northwest Coast. Her specific project focused on the connection between Tlingit and Kwakwaka'wakw communities, particularly the role played by Anisalaga (Mary Ebbetts Hunt) in this often overlooked history. This work expands on her PhD thesis "Assimilation or Resistance? The Production and Consumption of Tlingit Beadwork". The dissertation investigated the transcultural histories of beadwork from the late 19th century to the present through the compilation of over 1100 beaded objects in widely dispersed museum collections; the development of an interdisciplinary theoretical framework to explore this little understood practice; the critical examination of historical texts and images; and, most importantly, conversations with Tlingit elders and contemporary beaders.
Morgan Bell received a summer quarter fellowship in 2010 for her master's degree practicum project. The goal of this project was to facilitate a deeper understanding of contemporary Native American photographers and their artistic achievements by increasing the number of images available within the School of Art teaching database and across disciplines at the University of Washington. 359 photographic works by 39 Native American artists were added to the digital image library and made available for teaching through the University of Washington School of Art. After the completion of her Master's degree in art history, Morgan is continuing on to earn a master's degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Washington.
Anna Hoover received a fall quarter fellowship in 2009 and additional support for her master's degree practicum project in the summer of 2011. This project was centered on planning an exhibition of commissioned T-shirts by indigenous artists, protesting the Pebble Mine. It focused awareness on a proposed open pit mine in southwestern Alaska near the headwaters of the world's largest remaining sockeye salmon run. Bristol Bay and its contributing rivers are home to tens of millions of salmon. Salmon use their sense of smell to find their way back to the stream where they were born, and even the smallest amount of copper leached into the river systems surrounding the Pebble site would confuse them to the point of extinction. This exhibit entitled: fashion STATEMENT: Native Artists Against Pebble Mine opened in Anchorage in the Summer of 2011, and came to the Burke Museum in the fall and winter 2011-12. See additional information about this traveling exhibit at:
Native Artists Against Pebble Mine/ Anna Hoover /Trout Unlimited
Nadia Jackinsky-Horrell received Bill Holm Center Graduate Fellowships to support both her M.A. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation research in art history at the UW. Her MA thesis focused on masking traditions in Alutiiq communities on the Kodiak Island archipelago and the Chugach region of Alaska. Her research covers both an overview of historical Alutiiq masks found in archaeological excavations and museum collections, and the revitalization of mask making today. She studied the collections at the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository on Kodiak Island, and conducted community based research with contemporary Alutiiq artists. Additionally, Nadia examined related historical collections at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris and the Bancroft Library at Berkeley. Nadia also received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, to study their Alutiiq and Yup'ik collections under the direction of William Fitzhugh in 2007. For her doctoral research Nadia received the Bank of America Graduate Diversity Fellowship for 2010-12. Nadia completed her Ph.D. in March 2012, with a dissertation entitled: Alaska Native Artistic Revitalization. It examined factors that encouraged artistic revival in Alaska, including influences from the Alaska Native Regional Corporations, the art market, and governmental funding for art revival projects. This study was based on interviews with artists, archival research, analysis of the art market and exhibitions of Native Art, and fieldwork in communities around Alaska. In 2012 Nadia received the UW Arts and Sciences Graduate Dean's Medal in the Arts, and a Timeless Award given to distinguished graduating University of Washington students.
Ashley Verplank is conducting research for her M.A. thesis in art history at the UW on Northwest Coast Native American daggers. Her specific focus is on Tlingit daggers, how their form relates to their function and their varying use of copper over time. In order to recognize outside influences and account for Native trade, she is conducting a broad survey of Northwest coast daggers. Through formal analysis of diverse blade, pommel and hilt styles, as well as construction techniques, she will attempt to determine a timeline for stylistic change on the coast and the historical events relating to these changes. She received a Smithsonian Institution Graduate Fellowship for the summer of 2006 to study the dagger collections at both the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Natural History. NMAI curator Mary Jane Lenz was her principle advisor. In 2007, Ashley will be conducting additional research at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, the Chicago Field Museum, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard.
The first Bill Holm Center Graduate Fellowship was awarded to UW art history graduate student, Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse for the 2005–6 academic year. She is completing the research and writing of her doctoral dissertation on Northwest Coast engraved silver and gold jewelry. Jewelry became a significant part of the commercial Native art market starting in the late-nineteenth century. Silver bracelets in particular remain important to Native people today both as a commercial art and as a means to display cultural identity. Yet, as an art form, jewelry has received little attention from scholars despite the ongoing manufacture, traditions, and symbolism that surrounds it. Bunn-Marcuse's research suggests that the importance of silver and gold bracelets to crest display, the potlatch payment system, and the commercial art market is far greater than previously thought.