John-Michael Warner Awarded Fellowship for U.S.-Mexico Border Research
Dr. John-Michael Warner, assistant professor of art history, was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon-Fronteridades Fellowship for U.S.-Mexico border research. The fellowship was awarded through the University of Arizona’s Confluence Center Creative Scholars program. The Mellon Foundation-Confluence Center initiative addresses gaps in knowledge such as the lived experiences of la frontera, or the borderlands, perceptions of the U.S.-Mexico border on regional, national, and international scales, and recognizes cross border and binational collaboration.
Warner was awarded this fellowship with artists Mary Jenea Sanchez and Gabriela Muñoz. Led by Sanchez, along with Muñoz and Warner, “DouglaPrieta Trabaja: Women of Color Leading Cross National Collaboration” will include engineering multiple binational U.S.-Mexico border projects hand-in-hand with DouglaPrieta Trabaja—a collective of women based in Sonora, Mexico, rooted in social justice and community organizing. DouglaPrieta Trabaja engages neighbors and fronterizas, or border residents, by teaching skills needed for social and economic independence. For example, DouglaPrieta Trabaja provides opportunities to gain experience with food preparation using desert-based permaculture techniques. With a focus on food insecurity in the U.S.-Mexico border city of Agua Prieta, la colectiva aims to foster a culture of economic security and community.
"DouglaPrieta Trabaja creates a political and cultural space of social aesthetics and consciousness-building. Through participation and social interaction, DouglaPrieta Trabaja brings race, gender, nation, and class—at the U.S.-Mexico border—to the discourses of sociality and participatory art,” said Warner.
While in residence, Warner will collect and preserve DouglaPrieta Trabaja oral histories as well as research and prepare Sonoran cultural histories of lived experience for exhibition and publication. Dr. Warner will also serve as a Visiting Scholar in the Public History Collaborative, Department of History, University of Arizona.
From “Dirt and Water” to “Nations and Borders,” Warner’s courses at Kent State focus on contemporary art history as well as gender and women’s studies. He is the co-editor of Border Spaces: Visualizing the U.S.-Mexico Frontera (University of Arizona Press, 2018), with Katherine Morrissey, and has published in Public Art Dialogue and the forthcoming collection Socially Engaged Art History and Beyond.
Mary Jenea Sanchez is faculty at Cochise College in the Digital Media Arts Program and the founder of Border Arts Corridor . Gabriela Muñoz is an arts administrator and artist at Arizona State University in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Image: (left top) women from Sonoran collective DouglaPrieta Trabaja, (left bottom, pictured left to right) Jenea Sanchez, Gabriela Muñoz, and John-Michael Warner (right) Installing The Border Tapestry of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 2009, here Jenea sits on John-Michael’s shoulders with Gabriela and Adriana Gallego steadying her.