Dreaming Wide Awake ~ Announcing the 2018 Civita Institute’s Inaugural Drexler Diversity Fellow

At 9:33 p.m. last night, I received an email, announcing that I’d been afforded an awe inspiring opportunity by the Civita Institute.  One that has named me as the recipient of their inaugural Drexler Family Diversity Fellowship for 2018.

Knowing that, “The Drexler Family Diversity Fellowship is established to promote and encourage a more culturally and ethnically diverse participant base for The Civita Institute Fellowship Program and The Civita Institute.”, humbles & honors an array of emotional gratitude oozing out of every passionate pore I possess. Ones that have yet allowed me to fully begin to describe how grateful I am to be selected for this scholarly endeavor… –(DFDF)

During the length of this phenomenal fellowship, I have been awarded an opportunity to stay in a heavenly historic hillside town in central Italy; known as Civita di Bagnoregio.

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For a bit of context:

The Civita Institute Fellowships are open to architects, planners, designers, artists, writers and other arts professionals practicing in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and the province of British Columbia. They provide an unparalleled opportunity for the recipients to undertake a project of their own choosing related to current or anticipated professional work, in a highly unique setting, far from routine obligations. –(The Civita Institute| Fellowships)

That said, I am so looking forward to dispersing my time in areas such as: performing archival research in their immense collections, housed in their historic library. Meeting with and reviewing the intricate plans of the architects that drafted the specs for the pedestrian bridge connecting to the Civita di Bagnoregio. Which has greatly inspired plans that I would like to implement. Consisting of constructing environmentally friendly walkways along the various picturesque sites and meandering paths of the bayou; similar to those constructed at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, here in Olympia, Washington.

Additionally, whilst on location at the Civita Institute, my goal is to interview those involved in the UNESCO World Heritage proposal efforts for this gorgeous hillside town. Allowing me to gain further insight into this rigorously rewarding process for the project I’m undertaking.

As a Drexler Diversity Fellow:

The Drexler Family Diversity Fellowship (DFDF) provides sponsorship of a thirty day Civita Institute Fellowship for an applicant who self-identifies as a member of a historically underrepresented group. The DFDF will provide a stipend in the amount of $2,000.00 to one Drexler Family Diversity Fund Fellow each year. In addition to the fellowship stipend, lodging for one month at the Civita Institute facilities in Civita di Bagnoregio is included. –(DFDF)

Utilizing this month-long fellowship in Italy (collaborating with the entities that are key in this pursuit) allows me to lay the groundwork in what I hope to be a five year fully engrossing project. One, that will ultimately lead to me also obtaining my masters’ & doctoral degrees.

My proposals intended purpose is to conduct invaluable fieldwork, allowing for me to expand my scholarly reach in the endeavors of orchestrating the architecture of preserving a historic landmark and the establishment of a UNESCO World Heritage site in the United States.

Thusly, my scholarly pursuit and life-long passion, is to establish Bayou Bartholomew (located in my home state) as a historic landmark, and ultimately, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In doing so, my goal is to preserve the intangible fragility of North America’s longest and second most diverse, environmentally impactful & culturally captivating historic waterway. Which provides an essential natural habitat to over 100 aquatic species and nearly 200 classifications of birds. This once trafficked tributary starts in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and meanders 359 miles, all the way to Sterlington, Louisiana.

Protecting the historically abundant heritage of its fertile soil & streams is my mission.

Below, you’ll find a slideshow, allowing you to view focused moments in time through my lens of this breathtakingly beautiful bayou.

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Furthermore, my idea is to digitally map, photograph, catalog and document the course of this bayou from its origins in Arkansas – to its deluge in Louisiana.

That being expressed, I feel it necessary to pick up the torch and continue laying the necessary groundwork that, Dr. Curtis Merrill, began. He was a pioneer in preserving the cultural & ecological importance of the world’s longest bayou. Additionally, I feel called to protect the natural landscape of this environmental asset, which is something my ancestors are forging me to do…

One that encompasses me and continuously allows me to marvel at the vastness of its lush landscapes, from the glorious cavernous region of the Ozarks to its glimmering soil – filled with diamonds, Arkansas is a true natural wonder.

Lastly, whilst in Italy, I plan to extend my stay allowing me to meet with and thusly forge invaluable partnerships and collaborative relations with those at the ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) in Rome – located 72 miles from this picturesque site. In addition to scheduling appointments with the UNESCO Chair in Water Resources Management and Culture in Perugia along with scheduling time to meet with those that make up the Scientific Committee for the Master’s Program in World Heritage and Cultural Projects for Development, at the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin, of which I was previously accepted into as a candidate.

Here’s to history in the making, and the continuation of her-story…

Featured image of Civita di Bagnoregio by | roman-gp

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