Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae wins Dorothy Killam Fellowship

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The National Killam Program announced that Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae (Communication Arts) has won a 2023 Dorothy Killam Fellowship that provides support for dedicated research time to scholars “whose superior, ground-breaking, best-in-class research stands to have significant impact on a national or global scale.”

Naila Keleta-Mae
Keleta-Mae, who is a Tier 2 SSHRC Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Race Gender and Performance, is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Black And Free research-creation program, a multi-year artistic and academic experience that explores what it means to be Black And Free in the 21st century. The Dorothy Killam Fellowship will contribute to this ongoing program.

“I believe in artists’ ability to connect, express and inspire” says Keleta-Mae “and I believe that if artists, academics and other people are engaging with the topic of blackness and freedom, then good will come of it for all society.” 

Black And Free research activities

Keleta-Mae’s five-year knowledge mobilization strategy aims to reach academic, artistic, and general audiences. The research summary to the National Research Council of Canada’s Killam Program states: “[Keleta-Mae]’s research establishes a theoretical foundation for interdisciplinary investigation that opens a new line of inquiry into the question of freedom across different forms of Black expressive culture. Freedom, as expressed in artistic practices, remains underexplored as a distinct theme within theatre, performance, feminist and Black studies. Research into transnational and transhistorical artistic expressions of Black freedom has the potential to orient the fields of theatre, performance, feminist and Black studies towards the ways in which Black artists use the idea, experience, and expression of freedom to imagine our world anew.

Drawing on theatre, performance, feminist, and critical race studies, Black And Free investigates the under-examined area of freedom in Black expressive culture and simultaneously creates and disseminates a body of academic and artistic work that contributes not only to the vitality of Black Studies and Black communities, but also to wider academic and public audiences.”

In addition to project activity and outcomes shared via @BlackAndFree social media handles, Keleta-Mae has published op-eds and media commentary for years, contributing to important cultural discussions around blackness and freedom in pop-culture and activist movements including Beyoncé and Black Lives Matter.

About the Dorothy Killam Fellowships

The Dorothy Killam Fellowships provide support to scholars of exceptional ability by granting them time to pursue research projects of broad significance and widespread interest within the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering or studies linking any of these disciplines. Five to eight fellowships are awarded annually.

Congratulations to Dr. Keleta-Mae!

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