Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two faculty named Guggenheim fellows

A poet and an artist have been awarded 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships, a prestigious national honor recognizing distinguished achievement in various fields.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded fellowships to Laura Kasischke, an associate professor in the Department of English and the Residential College, and Heidi Kumao, an associate professor in the School of Art & Design.

Kasischke (Photo by Patrice Normand)
Heidi Kumao (Photo by Barbara Ess)

This year's fellowship winners include 180 artists, scholars and scientists selected from nearly 3,000 applicants.

“The Guggenheim Fellowships are a significant honor, designed to support faculty engaged in path-breaking research,” Provost Teresa Sullivan says. “We are pleased and proud to have two members of our faculty among this year’s recipients. They work in a wide range of fields and their selection is indicative of the depth and breadth of the Michigan faculty.”

Kasischke’s plans for the fellowship are to take the year to write and revise a collection of poems tentatively titled “Space, in Chains.” 

“Receiving this kind of support is hugely helpful — not only in terms of the time it will provide to focus on my writing, but also because of the encouragement,” Kasischke says.

The fellowship will allow Kumao to continue researching and developing her current project, “Timed Release,” for exhibition in 2010. “Timed Release” is a series of video sculptures utilizing the interplay between projected animations, everyday objects and the resultant shadows to synthesize intimate image theaters about surviving confinement.

“This fellowship arrives at a crucial moment providing me with the rare luxury of uninterrupted time to research, think, experiment, take classes and basically expand the project’s scope, both conceptually and materially,” Kumao says. “I am honored and truly grateful.” 

Since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $273 million in fellowships to more than 16,700 individuals in the United States and Canada.

The full list of 2009 fellows is available at