June 22, 2021Dean Awarded Grant for Research in Materiality and Identity
Interior Architecture Assistant Professor Felicia Francine Dean was awarded a Research and Development Grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The award supports her research investigation of latent stone and fabric material identities as a method of reconciling space and place.
Dean’s creative scholarship examines hard and soft material configurations, identity, visual communication, and their correlated implications. She explores the design process through the lens of her socio-cultural experiences as a bi-racial individual by connecting stone and fabric material identities from Gramolazzo, Italy, and Knoxville, Tennessee. Her design approach carves out and stitches together an underrepresented perspective on space and place.
“My scholarship extends the idea of the relationship of space, place and race to include how individual experiences contribute to the making and design process,” said Dean. “In turn, the approach moves architectural concepts beyond what is believed to be perceived by revealing the cloaked identity of new ways in which space and place are experienced.”
Over the next year, the $10,000 grant will support her study, Perception of Misconceptions: Intersecting Stone and Fabric Material Identities. The project examines digital and hand fabrication processes, Italian stone carving and Appalachian and Italian quilting techniques. She will apply her findings to the fabrication of furniture designs. Dean’s research includes working with the Tennessee Marble Company and participation in the Digital Stone Project Residency in Italy. There, she will explore the merging of digital and hand-fabrication processes through 7-axis-robotic-arm stone carving and hand-machining and tooling processes as well as regional craft quilting techniques.
“I am honored to have my scholarship awarded a Research and Development Grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts,” she said. “The foundation and its mission opened the door for a thorough and physical realization of my research investigation.”
In all, 71 projects were awarded 2021 grants. According to the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts’s website, Research and Development Grants “assist individuals with seed money for research-related expenses such as travel, documentation, materials, supplies and other development costs.”