Irish awarded IAS Colston Research Fellowship

irish_croppedSharon Irish, project coordinator at the GSLIS Center for Digital Inclusion and lecturer at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been awarded a 2013-2014 Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Colston Research Fellowship from the University of Bristol in Bristol, England. The IAS Colston Research Fellowship is a multidisciplinary award that draws distinguished scholars from around the world to Bristol to enhance research at the university and collaborate on research projects specifically relevant to the Bristol area.

Irish will investigate the roles of historical research and community-based organizations in the engagement, production, and sharing of local knowledge in marginal communities. She will work closely with Productive Margins, a collaborative program between the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff and area residents, as well as the Knowle West Media Centre, a local media and technology center with which she has been working since 2010.

“I am thrilled to have the chance to continue working with the staff of the Knowle West Media Centre, and to have a formal connection to faculty at the University of Bristol,” Irish said. “In my previous work in Bristol, I began forming connections among cultural and educational institutions, like the Local Studies division of the Bristol Public Library. This time, I plan to delve into the Bristol Record Office, the first borough record office in the country, which holds local archives that I never have had time to explore.”


As a fellow, Irish will serve as an IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol’s Department of Drama: Film, Theatre and Television for two months. In addition to continuing her research, the award will allow Irish to share her current and previous work on publicly engaged artists Suzanne Lacy and Stephen Willats and others through a series of workshops, lectures, and film screenings.

“This appointment will support my collaborations with the community-based media centre, assist my research on art practices that emerge out of diverse partnerships, and give me the opportunity to learn from colleagues and archives in Bristol,” Irish said.

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