UCSB Ph.D. candidate named Luce Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies

by GradPost Staff
Thursday, May 31, 2018 10:04 AM

Ph.D. student Holly Gore Holly Gore brings a milestone honor to our UCSB campus as the only UC graduate student to be recognized this year with the 2018-2019 Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art. The prestigious award will support her ongoing research on contemporary and modern art as she explores the point at which fine art and skilled trade labor blur together and overlap.

Her prior experience working as a craftsman and woodworker helped inspire her current doctoral studies in the UCSB Department of History of Art and Architecture. We caught up with Holly to find out about her research interests, her future aspirations, and the impact the fellowship will have on her graduate school career.

What drew you to pursue your graduate studies here at UCSB?

After completing a master's program at Stanford University, for which I wrote a thesis on twentieth-century American studio furniture, I was looking to continue with researching and writing on modern craft. I came to UCSB to work with Jenni Sorkin, professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture. Another draw was the close tie between the Department and the Art, Design, and Architecture Museum on campus. It was important to me to have that connection for one, because I plan to work as a museum curator after I finish my degree, and secondly because I find that working directly with art objects is a particularly fruitful way to study histories of art and culture.

What inspires your research at UCSB?

I specialized in modern and contemporary art with a focus on American craft. I am currently researching and writing a dissertation on modernist woodworking in the United States from 1940-1970. I am drawn to modernist craft and design because they are areas where avant-garde ideas have come into contact with the things people want for their everyday lives. Twentieth-century woodworkers, for instance, made furniture pieces that are designed to channel people's interactions with one another and their environments in order to encourage particular kinds of community, domestic, and work settings. I find these histories fascinating because though these mid-century objects have retained their appeal for many people, the value systems under which they were created were often quite different from the ones that circulate today.

What was your reaction to winning the Fellowship?

I am incredibly grateful for this fellowship. It has given me confidence that I will be able to finish my research this coming year and then focus on writing full-time. It is an amazing privilege to be able to devote this kind of time to a single project.

What are your post-grad school plans?

After completing my degree, I plan to work as a curator in an art museum.