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Boise State Names Three New Arts And Humanities Research Fellows

Boise State University has announced the 2011 honorees in its Arts and Humanities Research Fellows program, which recognizes and supports research efforts in subjects ranging from anthropology and literature to religion and music.

The fellowship program is part of the early programming in Boise State’s initiative to create a world-class Arts and Humanities Institute. Even as higher education institutions across the country downsize foundational disciplines, Boise State is investing in the proven connection between study of the arts and humanities and graduates who are imaginative creators, critical thinkers and engaged citizens.

“These three scholars epitomize the spirit of creativity, inquiry and critical thought central to the creation of our Arts and Humanities Institute,” said Bob Kustra, president of Boise State. “Their enterprising scholarship will help set the stage for a vital transformation in the way we research, teach and explore their areas of expertise on our campus.”

With the support of the Division of Research, the new class of Arts and Humanities Research Fellows has been granted dedicated research space, time away from teaching for one year and up to $15,000 each in funding. The 2011 honorees are:

Mitch Wieland, Department of English

Mitch Wieland, Department of English  — “Enka Men”
Wieland will complete a major restructuring of a 450-page novel draft called “Enka Men.” Set in Japan — where he lived and worked from 1986-1991 — the book follows an American family of four through a year in Tokyo as they restart their lives in the wake of personal financial collapse. Through multiple viewpoints and varied plotlines, the story explores cultural transcendence, social and political boundaries, generational misunderstandings, the changing institution of marriage, unique bonds of family and many other important existential themes. Already a successful novelist, Wieland will spend a month doing critical research in Japan to finalize “Enka Men” for publication.

Francis Fox, Department of Art

Francis Fox, Department of Art — “Art and Technology: Bridging the Gap”
Fox will research and integrate new 3D technologies in his own art practice as well as introduce them to the Department of Art. He believes 3D scanning and rapid prototyping could monumentally affect the field of sculpture, just as photography has affected the field of painting. Using this digital technology in conjunction with traditional sculpture processes, Fox will create a new exhibit for the Boise Art Museum in 2012, part of the 2010 Idaho Triennial grand prize win he shares with Caleb Chung and Joseph Coffland in their creative collaborative Bocolab (Boise Cooperative Laboratories). The exhibit will explore the nexus of art and technology, with a focus on interactivity.

Mike Samball, Department of Music

Mike Samball, Department of Music — “Global Perspectives in American Jazz”
Samball will use his knowledge of and passion for jazz to advance widespread understanding and appreciation. As director of the Boise Jazz Society and a lead organizer of the annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival, he plans to connect world-class artists to a new series of residencies that will enrich the jazz curriculum within the Department of Music. In completing a book project called “The Culture of Jazz” and arranging live demos, he hopes to express the distinctly American history, global interpretations and creative processes of the ever-evolving genre.

All projects supported through the Arts and Humanities Fellows Program will be shared with the campus and greater community through workshops and lectures, public exhibitions and performances, technical demonstrations and collaboration with community partners. Recipients will give back to the program by mentoring those who continue its legacy.


Media Contact: Erin Ryan, University Communications, (208) 426-4910,

About Boise State University
As an emerging metropolitan research university of distinction, Boise State University plays a crucial role in the region’s economic development and famed quality of life. Idaho’s largest institution of higher education offers nearly 200 degrees and certificates in seven colleges. While remaining committed to the strong teaching legacy that has resulted in 11 Idaho Professor of the Year awards since 1990, Boise State’s added emphasis on innovation and creativity is fueling the fastest growing research program in Idaho.

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