Humanizing Our Planet

October 24, 2023
Planet Texas 2050 + Humanities Institute Faculty Learning Community Awards

Congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural Planet Texas 2050 + Humanities Institute Faculty Learning Community awards. These awards are the result of a recent open call that Planet Texas 2050 (PT2050) — an interdisciplinary program focused on climate resilience, population growth, and adaptation — issued in partnership with the Humanities Institute to seed new collaborations with researchers from arts, design, and humanities.

The idea paid off. Despite planning to select only five awardees for the inaugural cohort, the organizers received dozens of impressive applications, compelling program leaders to select six recipients for the full award as well as funding ten additional microgrants. Most of the Faculty Learning Community awardees are assistant and associate professors in the early stages of their academic careers.

“We called it a ‘call for collaborators’ because we’re looking to bring in broader perspectives, recognizing that the methods and the skills from arts and humanities are as important as those that come from the sciences,” PT2050 director Heidi Schmalbach said in a recent interview with the Daily Texan.

In addition to the $8,000 grant, the cohort of recipients will participate in facilitated workshops with PT2050 and the Humanities Institute designed to help identify cross-cutting themes for exploration and encourage new collaborative research agendas.

“The Humanities Institute is thrilled to work with Planet Texas 2050 to recognize and support the amazing research of all of the awardees, and excited about the future of collaborative research models that center on humanities and arts methodologies,” said Samantha Pinto, director, and Jeff Meserve, assistant director of research development, Humanities Institute.


2023 Cohort

Rosemary Candelario – Associate Professor, Performance as Public Practice

Rosemary Candelario writes about and makes dances engaged with butoh, ecology, and site-specific performance. She is the recipient of the 2018 Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research for her book Flowers Cracking Concrete: Eiko & Koma's Asian/American Choreographies (Wesleyan University Press 2016). Her current book project examines performances about and in response to abortion by artists and activists in the U.S.

Aleksandra Jaeschke – Assistant Professor, Architecture + Sustainable Design

Aleksandra Jaeschke is an architect and an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Sustainable Design at The University of Texas at Austin. Born and raised in Poland, she holds a Doctor of Design degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association in London. Prior to joining the faculty at the UT School of Architecture, she taught at the Woodbury School of Architecture in Los Angeles.

Jiabao Li – Assistant Professor, School of Design and Creative Technologies

Jiabao Li creates works addressing climate change, interspecies world sharing, humane technology, and a just, sustainable future. Her mediums include wearable, robot, AR/VR, projection, performance, software, and installation. In Jiabao’s TED Talk, she uncovered how technology mediates the way we perceive reality.

Laurel Mei-Singh – Assistant Professor, Geography & the Environment

Laurel Mei-Singh serves as an Assistant Professor of Geography and Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include environmental justice, militarization, the relationship of race and indigeneity to histories of war, fences and self-determination, carceral geographies and abolition, racial capitalism, and the Pacific. Her current book project develops a genealogy of military fences and grassroots struggles for land and livelihood in Wai‘anae, a rural and heavily militarized region of the island of O'ahu in Hawai'i.

Donnie Sackey – Assistant Professor, Rhetoric & Writing

Donnie Sackey teaches courses in environmental communication, information design, user-experience design, and nonprofit writing. Previously, he was a founding member and senior researcher with Detroit Integrated Vision for Environmental Research through Science and Engagement (D•VERSE), an affiliated senior researcher with Michigan State University’s Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) center, and an executive board member for the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. His research centers on the dynamics of environmental public policy deliberation, environmental justice, and environmental community-based participatory research.

Januibe Tejera De Miranda – Assistant Professor, Butler School of Music

French-Brazilian artist Januibe Tejera is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of the UT Electronic Music Studio. His work connects contemporary music with oral music traditions, new technology, and theatrical elements, all with an eye toward music as a multi-sensory experience. Tejera holds advanced degrees from the Conservatoire de Paris and from IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique). He has been an artist-fellow with Casa de Velázquez (Madrid), Fundación Ibermúsica, Fondation Salabert, and the Sacatar Foundation.

Microgrant Recipients

Paul Adams

Christina Bain

Alex Beasley

Leah Cox

Kate Freer

EG Gionfriddo

Randy Lewis

Marina Peterson

Cathryn Phloen

Pavithra Vasudevan

Grand Challenge:
Planet Texas 2050