RICHMOND, Va. (August 15, 2019) — This fall, 11 new faculty members with expertise in areas ranging from design and choreography to inclusive creative practices and sound design will join the VCUarts faculty on both the Richmond and Qatar campuses.
Assistant professors Filipe Leitão, Jonathon Molina-Garcia and Yiwen Wei will teach in the departments of Music, Photography + Film and Art Education, respectively, and represent the school’s commitment to cross-disciplinary collaboration and creative use of technology. Philip Duane Coston will serve in a joint position between Music and VCU Athletics, as both an assistant professor and the associate director of bands/athletic bands. Four new hires are joining the Department of Dance + Choreography, including assistant professors Sinclair Ogaga Emoghene and Trebien Pollard, iCubed fellow Julian Kevon Glover, and lighting designer and production stage manager Carrie Cox. At VCUarts Qatar, Amir Berbić has stepped into the role of dean, while Aissa H. Deebi is leading the painting and printmaking department and Christopher Fink is the new chair of fashion design.
“At VCUarts, we integrate artistic rigor with interdisciplinary innovation,” says Acting Dean Nancy Scott. “Many of these new faculty positions are intentionally designed to foster collaboration across VCUarts departments, with VCUarts Qatar and with other disciplines at the university. These artists are leading global practices and bring exciting perspectives to creative students and our community.”
Amir Berbić (dean, VCUarts Qatar) is a design expert who has worked in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Berbić has worked in collaboration with cultural organizations, arts institutions and publishers. His scholarly and creative work examines the role design can have in shaping identities of places. Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Berbić immigrated to the United States in the 1990s where he completed his studies and worked in editorial design and publishing. He holds an MFA in visual communication from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in graphic design from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Philip Duane Coston (associate director of bands) directs the University Band and the VCU “Peppas” Pep Band. He also teaches secondary methods, and techniques for rehearsal and marching band. Coston earned his bachelor degree in music education, with a concentration in instrumental music for grades K-12, from VCU. He completed his master of music degree in euphonium performance at James Madison University. In addition to his work as an educator, Coston is active as guest clinician, conductor, and adjudicator.
Carrie Cox (instructor, lighting designer and production stage manager, Dance + Choreography), has supported a diverse spectrum of touring theatre artists, including Lynn Dally’s Jazz Tap Ensemble, BalletMet Columbus, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Carlota Santana Spanish Dance Company, Robert Post Comedy Theatre, Momix, David Dorfman Dance, Roxane Butterfly, Karl Rogers’ Red Dirt Dance, RythMEK, Yin Mei, and Vincent Mantsoe.
Aissa H. Deebi (director, Painting and Printmaking, VCUarts Qatar) is an artist, writer, curator and academic whose continent-spanning work has fostered a global and cross-cultural perspective on art and learning that has transformed institutions. His prints and paintings explore themes of immigration, alienation and diaspora. He earned his MFA at the University of Liverpool and his doctorate in art and design from the University of Southampton.
Sinclair Ogaga Emoghene (assistant professor, Dance + Choreography) investigates and creates original dances, with a practice of daily dance making, minimalism, physical and theoretical dance practices, and curiosity about the unknown. He earned his BA in theatre arts from the University of Benin and an MFA in dance performance and choreography from the University of Maryland.
Christopher Fink (chair, Fashion Design, VCUarts Qatar), is a senior-level executive creative director in the international fashion apparel market with more than 30 years of international design and merchandising leadership experience. He has directed some of the largest and most prestigious fashion companies in the world. From Hunter College, he earned a Master of Social Work focused on the empowerment of marginalized communities.
Julian Kevon Glover (iCubed Visiting Scholar, Dance + Choreography) is an academic, activist and performer. Glover will join a diverse team exploring intersections in the lives of LGBTQIA+ communities, and promoting empowerment, inclusion, and equity for LGBTQIA+ people with multiple marginalized identities in Richmond. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, an MPA from Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and is a PhD candidate in African American studies at Northwestern University.
Filipe Leitão (assistant professor, Music) is an award-winning Brazilian-born composer, music producer, sound designer and orchestrator, who will focus his teaching on composition and sound design for cinema, games and motion media. Leitão earned a DMA in music composition from the University of Alabama and an MFA in music production and sound design for visual media from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California.
Jonathan Molina-Garcia (assistant professor, Photography + Film) is a Salvadoran American photo-based media artist whose work looks at topical and social themes in national and sexual identity. He holds an MFA in photography from the California Institute of the Arts, and graduated with dual degrees in photography and art history from the University of North Texas.
Trebien Pollard (assistant professor, Dance + Choreography) has performed with RIOULT, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Bebe Miller Company, Urban Bush Women and Pilobolus. Pollard is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a BS in mathematics education and the New York University Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Dance.
Yiwen Wei (assistant professor, Art Education) has taught in both Taipei and the U.S., incorporating research, community service and museum-school collaborative art projects. Wei received her bachelor’s degree in arts and arts education from the National Taipei University of Education in Taiwan, and her MS and PhD in art education from Florida State University.