Welcome, New Faculty (2022-2023)
This fall, Bennington welcomes nine new full-time faculty members to the College.
After searching for new core faculty members, the College is thrilled to announce this new cohort beginning in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. These new faculty members include neurodiverse activists and change-makers, multiple trans* scholars, and women in traditionally underrepresented fields, among others. All members of this cohort are proven in their respective fields, in the Bennington classroom and as important members of our community.
“We are so thrilled to have been successful in hiring each and every one of these new faculty members, and can’t wait to welcome them to Bennington!” Said Sarah Harris, Dean of Faculty. “As a group of accomplished and skilled teacher-practitioners, they are poised to contribute to Bennington in substantive ways for years to come.
Faculty Member in Computer Science
Meltem Ballan is an accomplished technology executive and educator with a unique combination of analytical and business expertise developed over 20 years both in industry and academia. She is a pioneering woman data scientist (first woman neurodiversity fellow at GM) who has nurtured and mentored hundreds of budding analysts and scientists as a recognized leader and as an advisory board member. She is a technology M&A advisor and partner at Great-Orion Holding.
She co-founded a technology startup providing a big-data analytics and ML platform. Managed large multinational and multidisciplinary projects in automotive, aviation, healthcare, software and marketing. She established labs, worked on academic projects, authored over 30 publications on ML/AI implementation, analytics and neuroscience. She worked as a senior member of the Chief Data and Analytics Office at General Motors. She partnered with startup incubators (Global 500 and ERANYC) to evaluate their early seed company portfolio on tech stacks. During her career she has designed complex machine learning models and implemented AI projects including natural language processing (NLP), linear and logistic regression, supervised and unsupervised learning, neural network, deep learning algorithms and hybrid approaches of computer vision. Her passion for cognitive and biological bases of data prompted her to have a career in academia where she received a post graduate degree in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences with a minor in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. She implemented her knowledge of neuroscience and analytics while a professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical School.
She researches the effects of AI and studies Sustainable AI solutions on different disciplines, behavioral interventions and software tools as medical treatment, reducing the environmental effects of blockchain and fashion using AI. She is passionate about TRUE Diversity and Inclusion in the STEM domain, particularly AI and Data Science. She is a regular invited speaker for institutions and conferences including CES, UT Austin, UT Dallas, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford along with technology and data science conferences within the US and internationally.
In the Classroom
Ballan will teach three courses for the Fall 2022 term. A Technology Pathways Seminar will acclimate students to different branches of computer science, data science, software engineering and Artificial intelligence. Elements of Data Engineering is designed towards students who want to learn and pursue data analysis, database administration and data engineering. Elements of Computers and Programming will provide students with basic elements of computer architecture and software solutions. A high level language, Python, is selected to teach as this course doesn’t require any programming experience.
Faculty Member in Photography
Terry Boddie is a photographer and multi-disciplinary artist who explores historical and contemporary aspects of memory, migration and globalization refracted through his experience as a first-generation immigrant from the island of Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean. He experiments with different disciplines in search of a language that transcends our traditional notions of a photograph, blurring the distinctions between photography, drawing and painting.
Boddie earned his BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from Hunter College. He has exhibited his work in institutions including the Parc La Villette in Paris, Brooklyn Museum, Smithsonian, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art Museum of the Americas. Boddie’s awards and honors include artist residences at The Studio Museum of Harlem, The Center for Book Arts, The Brodsky Center, Marie Sharpe Walsh Foundation. He’s also received artist fellowships from Center for Photography at Woodstock, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Brodsky Center, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and from the George and Helen Segal Foundation. His work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum, Brandywine Workshop, The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
In the Classroom
For Fall 2022, Boddie will teach Photographs as Narratives, students will be guided through a series of assignments that explore the photograph as a narrative pictorial space using analog and digital cameras. He will also teach Bodies in Inner and Outer Space, a course that asks students to explore how the human body can transform interior and exterior space using available light. They will look at work by photographers who have examined these ideas in both formally aesthetic and symbolic ways.
Faculty Member in Drama
Shawtane Bowen is a writer, actor, and producer. He is a founding member of Astronomy Club, the first all-Black house team at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in New York. Their series, Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show, debuted in Fall 2019 on Netflix to much critical acclaim. Bowen also co-wrote one of the “50 Best Comedy Sketches of the Decade” according to New York Magazine’s Vulture. It was the only sketch his Aunt Frances didn’t like. Bowen holds an MFA in Acting from the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University and a BA in Theater and Performance Studies from the University of California, at Berkeley. Bowen was a recurring visiting faculty member at Bennington from Spring 2018-Spring 2022.
In the Classroom
Bowen will teach two courses for Fall 2022. Theater Games and Improvisation will explore the basic elements of improvisation. Through short and long form theater games, pattern and rhythm exercises, students will aim to heighten observation, listening skills, and ensemble building. Bowen will also lead Faculty Performance Production: That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her by Jen Silverman, a performance that will take place at the end of November. This course is for the cast, or others assigned production responsibilities, and represents work both in and out of rehearsals necessary to build a successful performance and/or collaboration in production. Rehearsals, tech, and performance constitute each students’ commitment.
Faculty Member in Literature
Franny Choi is a queer, Korean American poet and essayist who works at the intersections of race, gender, technology, history, and the speculative imagination. They are the author of three books: The World Keeps Ending, and The World Goes On (Ecco, 2022), Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019), and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014). Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Nation, and elsewhere. She has been awarded the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship, a Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University, the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Elgin Award, and a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship. In 2016, Franny founded Brew & Forge, a project to build connections between writers and movement workers. They are currently at work on an essay collection about race, feminism, and robots.
In the Classroom
For Fall 2022, Choi will teach a poetry workshop, Reading and Writing Poetry: The Speculative Lyric, where students will draw upon elements of science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism to understand how stoking a speculative impulse might help open up new directions for students’ poems.
Faculty Member in Literature
Anaïs Duplan '14 is a trans* poet, curator, and artist. He is the author of upcoming book I NEED MUSIC (Action Books, 2021), a book of essays, Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (Black Ocean, 2020), a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016), and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017). He has taught poetry at the University of Iowa, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and St. Joseph’s College. His video works have been exhibited by Flux Factory, Daata Editions, the 13th Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, Mathew Gallery, NeueHouse, the Paseo Project, and it was exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in L.A in 2021.
As an independent curator, Duplan has facilitated curatorial projects in St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, Santa Fe, and Reykjavík. He was a 2017-2019 joint Public Programs fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2016, he founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, based at Iowa City’s artist-run organization Public Space One. He works as Program Manager at Recess. Duplan received his BA from Bennington College and was a visiting faculty member at Bennington for Fall 2021 and a Ben Belitt Visiting Faculty Fellow for Spring 2022.
In the Classroom
Duplan will be teaching two courses for Fall 2022, the first, The Right to Opacity: Reading Fred Moten and Édouard Glissant, will be a reading- and discussion-intensive course, culminating in final, critical essays, about the works of Caribbean author-theorist Édouard Glissant and poet-scholar Fred Moten. Students will practice engagement without understanding, generative frustration, mind-boggling patience, a sense of humor, rage, and finally, hopefully, an opening.
Duplan will also teach Racialized Chronologies: Alternative Temporal Structures in Contemporary Poetry. Through a survey of Black contemporary poetry and theoretical writings on Black temporality, this course seeks to articulate the temporally-based strategies of refusal emanant in Black poetry.
Faculty Member in Ceramics
Anina Major is a visual artist from the Bahamas. Her decision to voluntarily establish a home contrary to the location in which she was born and raised motivates her to investigate the relationship between self and place as a site of negotiation. By utilizing the vernacular of craft to reclaim experiences and relocate displaced objects, her practice exists at the intersection of nostalgia, and identity. She holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including the Socrates Sculpture Park Fellowship and serving as a mentor for the Saint Heron Ceramics Residency Program. Her work has been exhibited in The Bahamas, across the United States, and Europe and featured in permanent collections that include the National Gallery of The Bahamas, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Major was a visiting faculty member at Bennington for the spring 2020 term and returned for the 2021-2023 academic years.
In the Classroom
Major will teach three ceramics classes for Fall 2022. The Hand as a Tool will introduce students to a variety of hand-building techniques to construct sculptural and/or utilitarian forms. Students will develop their skills by practicing techniques demonstrated in class. Through making, students' skills will increase, granting more confidence, and allowing more control over the objects they wish to realize. She will also teach two courses on Kilns and Firing Techniques, which will look into the use of the kiln as an integral tool and part of the creative process in ceramic art.
Faculty Member in Digital Arts
Farhad Mirza '12 grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. He is interested in how work in the studio can become a model for living and being in the world. He explores this as he reconciles his training in architecture with his work as an artist. Recent group and solo shows include Sensing Place at the University of New England Art Gallery (2022), Having and Ending at New System, stay where you are until something else happens (2020) at Significant Other, and a low storey between two others (2019) at Anthony Greaney (both with Katarina Burin). He also worked on Another Room (2019) with Hilary Clark as a performer, and on Bouchra Khalili’s film Twenty-Two Hours (2018) as assistant director. His previous teaching includes workshops at the Boston Society for Architecture’s BSA Space and Project Link (now Design Discovery: YA) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Mirza received his Master of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and his Bachelor of Arts at Bennington College. He was a Technical Instructor in 3D Technology at Bennington for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years and returned as a visiting faculty member for the 2020-2022 academic years.
In the Classroom
For Fall 2022, he is teaching Tessellation. This drawing and modeling course is an introduction to tessellation, also known as space filling, or packing. Through drawing exercises on various grids (which also happen to be tessellations), students will learn about edges and vertices, moving to regular and semi-regular tessellation, and edge tessellation among others, eventually proceeding from planar tiling to packing in three dimensions. Farhad will also be teaching Doll House, Diorama – Created Worlds, where students will be working at ‘dollhouse scale’ (1:12 or 1:24) to create dollhouses or dioramas and turn them into sites, surfaces and containers for animated and projected worlds. Students will use a variety of digital modeling and animation software in combination with a number of analog building and animation techniques to express their ideas.
Faculty Member in Media Studies
Teddy Pozo is a nonbinary trans* scholar and artist studying haptic media: touch, intimacy, and bodies in video games, media history, and virtual worlds. Pozo’s work on haptic media—from electricity and vibration to feminist aesthetic strategies of intersubjective embodiment—focuses in particular on queer and trans* digital artistry and hybrid installations. Born and raised in Raleigh, NC, Pozo studied at Swarthmore College and the University of California, Santa Barbara before living in the San Francisco Bay Area and becoming one of the organizers of the Queerness and Games Conference from 2015-2018. They previously taught in the Modern Culture and Media department at Brown University and the Computer Science and Media Arts and Culture departments at Occidental College.
Pozo’s writing on gender and sexuality in digital culture has appeared in such publications as the international journal Game Studies, and Camera Obscura journal of feminism, culture, and media studies, the anthologies Digital Love and Rated M for Mature: Sex and Sexuality in Video Games, the Encyclopedia of Video Games and the Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory. Their current book project is titled Haptic Media: Video Games and Other Touchy Objects.
Pozo’s teaching combines technology and art, theory and practice, reaching from the early history of electricity and pre-cinematic toys, to cinema, television, popular culture, and video games, to virtual reality and the metaverse. Their students have presented projects made using accessible game design tools such as Twine, Bitsy, and Ren’Py in public physical and virtual exhibits, created alternate reality games and digital archives, and written works at the intersection of queer theory and computing, among other projects. Their mentorship style is collaborative, focused on supporting students to discover their unique creativity, passion, and goals. They love collaborative and narrative tabletop and role-playing games, humorous games, art games, JRPGs, visual novels, fumblecore, racing games, and hearing about whatever game, show, movie, or meme has you excited right now.
In the Classroom
For Fall 2022, Pozo will teach a course in Electronic Media, which will explore the development and effects of popular and mass media forms from the introduction of electricity to the digital age, from the new to the cyber to the haunted, from physical infrastructures to imagined identities, from affect and technologized bodies, to virtual reality immersion and the metaverse. They will also teach Queerness and Games, an advanced seminar introducing students to the intersection of LGBTQ issues, queer theory, and video games, a growing area of interest for scholars, game developers, critics, and artists.
Faculty Member in Film/Video
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is an artist whose expanded moving image work is entangled with Boalian theater, expanded cinema and feminist practices. She tends to work with non-actors, and incorporates improvisation into her process. Her recent work is on the sensorial unconscious of anti-colonial movements and feminist experiments with language and narrative. Recent exhibitions include: the 34th Sao Paulo Biennial, the Momenta Biennale in Montreal and Art of the Real at Lincoln Center, among others. Her work is part of public and private collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim and Kadist. She has received a Creative Capital grant, a USA Fellowship, a Herb Alpert Award in the Arts and the 2021 Artes Mundi Prize which was shared among all 7 nominees. Santiago Muñoz joins the Bennington faculty in Spring 2023.