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Research, Scholarship & Creative Work Accomplishments

Westphal faculty are actively engaged in creating new knowledge and impactful solutions by undertaking basic and applied research, fostering transdisciplinary collaborations, and creating works that address critical needs and design our future.

Below are recent faculty publications, awards, presentations, and creative works.

Research Awards and Publications

Tom Quinn (center), Assistant Professor and Program Director for Film & Television, was awarded a 2020 Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Pew Fellowships provide unrestricted awards of $75,000 to individual artists from all disciplines. 

Quinn’s 2019 feature film Colewell, starring Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal House) and Hannah Gross (Mindhunter, Joker), premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival and was nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards. His debut feature film The New Year Parade won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative at Slamdance Film Festival in 2008. Quinn says of his work, “By mixing reality and fiction, I hope to capture…the authentic people and landscapes that will someday disappear.” 

Performing Arts Department Head Miriam Giguere, PhD was awarded a $400,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to create a citywide music-based project, Rehearsing Philadelphia, which will be led by Berlin-based composer and artist Ari Benjamin Meyers. Through four performative modules—Solo, Duet, Ensemble, and Orchestra—the newly commissioned work will bring live performance encounters to a variety of public and private locations across Philadelphia and the digital space. 

Associate Teaching Professor John Avarese in the Department of Cinema & Television received a National Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Sound Mixing for the PBS show Articulate with Jim Cotter.

Associate Teaching Professor of Music Industry Ryan Schwabe was nominated for a Grammy for mixing Baauer’s fully animated second LP Planet’s Mad in the best dance/electronic album category.

Andrew Zitcer, PhD, Assistant Professor and Program Director for Urban Strategy, co-authored the report, Financing Creative Placemaking: Analyzing Data and Trends for a Field in Transition, which assesses the future of financing for creative placemaking projects throughout the United States. The report was funded by the Kresge Foundation and ArtPlace America.

Art & Art History Assistant Professor Delia Solomons, PhD research article, Marisol’s Antimonument: Masculinity, Pan-Americanism, and Other Imaginaries, was published in The Art Bulletin. Her research investigates how Marisol’s sculpture, The Generals (1961-1962), unleashed a critique of monuments, nationalism, bellicose masculinity, the lavender scare, and Cold War propaganda about hemispheric unity. 

Laura-Edythe Coleman, PhD, Assistant Teaching Professor of Arts Administration & Museum Leadership, co-authored a chapter in Museum Activism titled “From the Ground Up: Grassroots social justice activism in American Museums” with Porchia Moore.

Research Presentations

Art History Professor Pia Brancaccio, PhD delivered a three-part seminar entitled Spinning the Wheel of the Dharma: Early Buddhist Art in the Indian Subcontinent, at the Jnanapravaha Institute (Mumbai, India). The seminar examined the main artistic traditions associated with the practice of Buddhism in the ancient Indian Subcontinent. 

Fashion Design Professor Kathi Martin presented ObjectVR Fashion: The Drexel Digital Museum Project, co-authored by Nick Jushchyshyn, Program Director for Virtual Reality & Immersive Media, and Claire King, Research Assistant for the Drexel Digital Museum, at Archiving 2019: Digitization Preservation and Access, the annual conference of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology. The conference was held at the Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, Portugal.

Assistant Professor of Product Design Raja Schaar was an invited speaker at the Black Activists, Artist, and Designers (BAAD) Juneteeth Panel Discussion and Public Forum: “How does Black Lives Matter Factor into your Creative Expression or Practice?”

Creative Works

Art & Art History ProfessorJen Blazina exhibits a new body of work at the Glass Art Fair, which opened November 1, represented by Habatat Galleries. Jen’s new work on display is a series based on toy irons she had as a child—each piece life-sized. The work is made of cast glass, cast bronze and cast aluminum. 

Associate Professor Lewis Colburn of the Department of Art & Art History was selected as one of 18 finalists for the Taouyan International Art Award at the Taouyan Museum of Fine Arts in Taouyan, Taiwan. In March of 2021, Lewis will exhibit a new sculpture at the TMoFA, along with the other finalists for the award.