A student looks through a camera, a second student stands in the background

In the 2019–20 academic year, VCUarts awarded $28,026 in grants to 12 undergraduate teams to support research, innovation, and entrepreneurship projects.

First established in 2006 with the purpose of encouraging curiosity, creativity, risk-taking and scholarly investigation, the Undergraduate Research and Innovation Grants program allows students to dive into a project or subject of interest. These grants fund a wide range of collaborative, interdisciplinary projects that draw on the expertise of a faculty or community mentors.

Undergraduate Research and Innovation Grants

Performativity vs. Performance: Understanding the Difference in Contemporary Performance Art

The team is researching the inaccessibility of the language surrounding critique and discussion of performance art. The project will culminate in a curated exhibition that conveys the findings of the team’s research, along with a free risograph-printed booklet for attendees.

Primary student: Abigail Umphlet
Faculty mentor: Kathleen Chapman
Award: $650

Stories You Never Told Me

A multidisciplinary exhibition that will draw from family archive images to create new, untold memories through the combination of text, photography and screen printing.

Primary student: Brienna Kane
Faculty mentor: Jon-Phillip Sheridan
Award: $747

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

Using the contemporary drama The Last Days of Judas Iscariot to explore how modern society views organized religion and how that view is changed with the casting of diverse actors playing symbolic biblical roles.

Primary student: Drewe Goldstein
Faculty mentor: Erica Hughes
Award: $4,000

What Lies in Your Reflection

A publication that explores the severity of lying, its gravity and consequence, and examines the desensitization and normalization of this compulsive behavior in society.

Primary student: Isabelle Scheerer
Faculty mentor: Sandra Wheeler
Award: $4,000

Three Kilometers East

Three film seniors will travel to Northern Sweden to film a short documentary about one of the largest urban transformations of our time, the relocation of the Arctic city of Kiruna due to land deformation from iron ore extraction on the city’s western border.

Primary student: Jonah Wilder
Faculty mentor: Sarah Midkiff
Award: $1,920

Contemporary Asian Ceremonial Vessels

An interdisciplinary collective of Asian artists will explore ideas of Asian representation, dislocation, and racial identity formation while creating a connection to their cultural heritage through material, labor and the re-performance of traditional skills.

Primary student: Julianne Cobb
Faculty mentor: Vivian Chiu
Award: $2,600

Flight School

Animated film about a young demon who wants to apply for admittance into a prestigious flight academy; however, the demon doesn’t have wings and must figure out how to construct their own prosthetics in order to attend.

Primary student: Logan “Lake” Mannikko
Faculty mentor: Mark Boulos
Award: $600

It Came from the Sea

An animated short film that will focus on two LGBT characters in a setting that melds Scottish folklore with modern fantasy.

Primary student: Megan Rogers
Faculty mentor: Orla McHardy
Award: $1,934

Depot Acoustics

This project will solve acoustic problems in the first-floor classroom space at the Depot.

Primary student: Mohamed Shanab
Faculty mentor: Camden Whitehead
Award: $1,710

The Beast in the Cave

The team will produce a short film, shot in a Virginia cave, using a script that is an adapted and modernized version of a short story by H.P. Lovecraft titled The Beast in the Cave.

Primary student: Jesslyn McCartney
Faculty mentor: Nikita Moyer
Award: $4,600

“L’homme avec Deux Chiens”

A short narrative drama follows a recently widowed retired fisherman as a grapples with feelings of grief and loneliness while surrounded by his wife’s belongings and memory.

Primary student: Victoria Lowry
Faculty mentor: Sarah Midkiff
Award: $1,525

James R. Gregory Prize for Creative Entrepreneurship

Accessible “Pop-up” Shop and Reading Room

Responding to the lack of an accessible and permanent space to display and sell student work, the team will develop a highly curated “pop-up” shop and reading room, featuring zines, posters, art objects, apparel, totes, and other items with potential commercial value.

Primary student: Rebecca Renton
Faculty mentor: Justin James Reed
Award: $3,740


January 24, 2020