The Mellon Creative Residencies Program offers both curricular programming and events open to the wider public. Learn about this semester's Mellon Creative Residents below.

  • Riva Lehrer: The Listening Portrait

    September 15–19, October 13–17, November 17–21

    What stories do we tell about ourselves? What images do we create? How could we revise them? What limits and what possibilities emerge in the act of re-imagining ourselves? How can we ethically construct stories and images of marginalized others?

    In her residency, painter, writer, and teacher Riva Lehrer poses these questions to explore the intertwined concepts of identity and representation.

    Lehrer's residency will be incorporated into a 360 cluster of courses at Bryn Mawr and Haverford titled "Identity Matters," where she will enable students to make material the work of visual and textual self-representation.

    Riva Lehrer

    Kristin Lindgren (Director, Writing Center & Independent College Programs, Haverford)
    Anne Dalke (English, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Bryn Mawr)
    Sara Bressi Nath (Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research)


    About the Artist

    Riva Lehrer (b. Cincinnati 1958) has exhibited in museums and galleries across the country. Her work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body.

    Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in venues including the United Nations, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Smithsonian Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, the State of Illinois Museum, and the Elmhurst Museum. She has been a visiting artist and lecturer across the US and Europe.

    Lehrer’s work with graphic novelist Alison Bechdel is the subject of The Paper Mirror, a 2012 documentary by Charissa King-O’Brien, which is being screened in film festivals around the world. David Mitchell’s and Sharon Snyder’s award-winning 2005 documentary Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer is included in many university curricula. She is also featured in two upcoming documentaries: Variations by Laurie Little and Anuradha Rana and Code of the Freaks by Salome Chasnoff, Carrie Sandahl, and Susan Nussbaum.

    Awards include the 2009 Prairie Fellowship at the Ragdale Foundation, the 2009 Critical Fierceness Grant, the 2008 3Arts Foundation of Chicago grant for artistic achievement, and the 2006 Wynn Newhouse Award for Excellence, an unrestricted grant for $50,000. Other awards include those from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Ms. Lehrer’s writing and visual art are included in Sex and Disability, a 2011 anthology edited by Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow.

    Riva Lehrer is currently an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Drawing and Anatomy), a visiting artist in Medical Humanities at Northwestern University, and co-chair of the 2013 Chicago Bodies of Work Festival.

  • Chika Unigwe and Niq Mhlongo: (Ir)reverence

    October 5–10

    In 1964 Chinua Achebe published his novel Arrow of God. Joining with events around the world celebrating this anniversary, Haverford, Swarthmore, and Bryn Mawr Colleges are convening a conference to take place on October 6-10, 2014 in recognition of the 50th anniversary of this landmark text.

    There will be a weeklong series of events across the three campuses featuring participants from the sciences, humanities, and arts. Guests, students, and faculty will have the opportunity to engage in an extended dialogue, beginning with the significance of Achebe’s work in a variety of realms and extending to contemporary issues that reverberate through his writing’s influence more broadly.

    As a part of this conference, the Mellon Creative Residencies Program will welcome authors Chika Unigwe (On Black Sisters Street) and Niq Mhlongo (Dog Eat Dog and Way Back Home) for weeklong residencies, during which Unigwe and Mhlongo will lead a public literature workshop at Bryn Mawr College and meet with students across the Tri-Colleges.


    Jesse Weaver Shipley (Anthropology, Haverford)
    Zainab Saleh (Anthropology, Haverford)
    Linda Gerstein (History, Haverford)
    Zolani Ngwane (Anthropology, Haverford)
    Timothy Burke (History, Swarthmore)
    Carina Yervasi (French, Swarthmore)


    About the Artists

    Niq Mhlongo was born in 1973 in Soweto. He has a BA from the University of the Witwatersrand, with majors in African Literature and Political Studies. His first novel, Dog Eat Dog, was published by Kwela in 2004 and was translated into Spanish under the title Perro Come Perro in 2006. The Spanish translation was awarded the Mar de Letras prize in 2006.

    In addition to novels and short stories, Niq has written a screenplay for the animated children’s TV series Magic Cellar and scripts for a comic magazine called Mshana, the first issue of which appeared in February 2007. After Tears is his second novel.

    Niq Mhlongo

    Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1974. She has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a Ph.D in Literature from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her debut novel, De Feniks, was published in 2005 by Meulenhoff and Manteau; it was the first novel written by a Flemish author of African origin. De Feniks was shortlisted for the Vrouw & Kultuur Debuutprijs for the best first novel by a female writer. She has also written two children's books published by Macmillan, London.

    Unigwe's novel On Black Sisters' Street tells the stories of four African sex workers living and working in Belgium; it was first published in 2009 by Jonathan Cape. On Black Sisters' Street won the 2012 NLNG Prize for Literature, Nigeria’s biggest literary prize.

    The Black Messiah, Unigwe’s newest novel, was launched in 2014 in Antwerp and is about Olaudah Equiano.

    Chika Unigwe
  • Marcel Khalifé: Chants of the East

    November 12–15

    Internationally acclaimed composer, oud master, singer, and peace activist Marcel Khalifé will join the Chamber Singers of Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges and the Philadelphia-based Arabic Music ensemble/organization Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture for the premiere of his new work "Chants of the East."

    Khalifé will perform as oud and vocal soloist with the Tahkt Ensemble of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, the Chamber Singers of Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, the Keystone Boys Choir, and a 23-piece chamber orchestra, conducted by Haverford College’s Thomas Lloyd.

    Additionally, Khalife will meet with students in Professor Zainab Saleh's "Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa" course.


    Thomas Lloyd (Music, Haverford)
    Zainab Saleh (Anthropology, Haverford)

    Marcel Khalifé

    About the Artist

    Marcel Khalifé is an internationally accomplished composer, oud master, and singer. Born in Lebanon in 1950, he studied the oud (the Arabic lute) at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music and graduated in 1971 and has been injecting a new life into the oud ever since.

    From 1972 to 1975, Khalifé taught at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music, public universities, and private music institutions. During those years, he toured the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the United States giving solo performances on the Oud.

    Khalifé has performed in such prestigious halls as the Place des Arts in Montreal, Symphony Space and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Berklee Performance Center and New England Conservatory in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Cairo Opera House in Egypt, Centro Dionysia in Rome, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Sydney Opera House and The Arts Centre Melbourne in Australia, Théâtre des Champs-élysées in Paris, and the Teatro alla Scalla in Milan. He has also composed several purely instrumental works like "The Symphony of Return," "Sharq," "Concerto Al Andalus- Suite for Oud and Orchestra," "Mouda'aba (Caress)," "Diwan Al Oud," "Jadal Oud duo," "Oud Quartet," "Al Samaa" in the traditional Arabic forms, and "Taqasim," duo for oud and double bass, which was awarded the grand prize of the prestigious Charles Cros Academy in France in November 2007. His latest work, "Arabian Concerto," premiered at the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s inaugural concert and was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Théâtre des Champs-élysées in Paris.

    Marcel Khalifé's compositions have been performed by several orchestras, notably the Kiev Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Boulogne-Billancourt Orchestra, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Tunisian Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Italian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, and the Absolute Ensemble.

    Khalifé's works have been critically acclaimed both in the Arab world and internationally. His creativity, his educational and humanitarian concerns, and his contributions to the promotion of arts and culture in the Arab world have earned him numerous awards. After winning the National Palestine Medal for Arts and Culture in 2001, Khalifé chose to donate his prize money to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine. The Conservatory has since established an annual music competition called the Marcel Khalifé National Music Competition, which grants gifted young musicians financial support for their continued education.

  • Stephanie Syjuco: American Rubble

    December 1–7

    Mixed-media conceptual artist Stephanie Syjuco will fashion a set of “micro-monuments” to commemorate the post-industrial landscape of Philadelphia, as epitomized by sites along Lancaster Avenue.

    In addition to producing small artifacts to be displayed on campus during residency, she will create an archive of images to document the process. Syjuco will conduct joint sessions with Haverford and Bryn Mawr students, including those enrolled in Paul Farber’s courses “Memory, Monuments and Urban Space in Philadelphia” and “Divided Cities”; Andrew Friedman’s course "Walter Benjamin on Lancaster Avenue"; and open-ended sessions with Sharon Ullman’s students at Bryn Mawr. Her intention is to enhance, connect, and remix student work and course offerings across the three colleges.


    Paul Farber (Writing Program, Haverford)
    Andrew Friedman (History, Haverford)
    Sharon Ullman (History, Bryn Mawr)

    Stephanie Syjuco

    About the Artist

    Stephanie Syjuco creates large-scale spectacles of collected cultural objects, cumulative archives, and temporary vending installations, often with an active public component that invites viewers to participate directly as producers or distributors. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital in order to investigate issues of economies and empire. This has included starting a global collaborative project with crochet crafters to counterfeit high-end consumer goods; presenting a parasitic art counterfeiting event, "COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone" for Frieze Projects, London (2009); and “Shadowshop,” an alternative vending outlet embedded at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work (2010-11). She is currently collaborating with the FLACC workplace for visual artists in Genk, Belgium on a new body of works utilizing 3-D scanning of Belgian and Congolese antiquities to produce hybrid ceramic objects addressing the legacy of colonialism, empire, and trade routes.

    Born in the Philippines, she received her MFA from Stanford University and BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is the recipient of a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship Award and a 2009 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1; the Whitney Museum of American Art; SFMOMA; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Germany; Z33 House of Contemporary Art, Belgium; Universal Studios Gallery Beijing; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, among others. In 2007 she led counterfeiting workshops in Istanbul and in 2009 contributed proxy sculptures for MOMA P.S. 1's joint exhibition 1969. Recently, she has expanded into the curatorial field with the exhibition Lossy at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and has essays included in the forthcoming Journal of Design Strategies published by Parsons The New School for Design and within a book on alternative art education to be published by Phaidon Press.

    A long-time educator, she has taught at Stanford University, California College of the Arts, the San Francisco Art Institute, Mills College, Carnegie Mellon University, and she has most recently joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, in January 2014 as an Assistant Professor in Sculpture. At Berkeley she is working to expand a conceptual and materials-based pedagogy, combining methods of the handcrafted with digital technologies and social engagement in order to speak of the frictions within late-capitalist society. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Headlands Center for the Arts and lives and works in San Francisco.

  • jesikah maria ross: Troubled Waters II

    Throughout Fall 2014

    Following her successful residency in Spring 2014, jesikah maria ross will return to the Tri-Colleges this fall, continuing to lead the “Troubled Waters” project, which brought together students and faculty working in political science, chemistry, and documentary film.

    In this second iteration of the project, participants from Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges will continue to examine the impact of waste on the region’s waterways through the lenses of the sciences and the arts. To watch the project as it develops, visit


    Vicky Funari (Documentary Film, Independent College Programs, Bryn Mawr & Haverford)
    Helen White (Chemistry, Haverford)
    Craig Borowiak (Political Science, Haverford)

    jesikah maria ross

    About the Artist

    jesikah maria ross is a community mediamaker who facilitates collaborative documentary projects that help residents identify issues and advocate solutions for the places they live. For the past 20 years she has worked with schools, non-governmental organizations, social action groups, and public media stations to create participatory projects that generate citizen storytelling, public dialogue, and community change. She is the founding director of the UC Davis Art of Regional Change, a university-community engagement initiative that brings students, scholars, artists, and activists together to produce place-based storytelling projects that catalyze social change. She is also the Creative Director for Praxis Projects, a group dedicated to crafting multiplatform and “open space” documentaries that bring community voices into public media. jesikah co-directed Saving The Sierra: Voices of Conservation In Action, a regional media project that documents community efforts to conserve the culture, economy, and environment of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California through public radio broadcasts, online forums, and citizen storytelling activities. jesikah has served as a board member for the Alliance for Community Media, co-founded KDRT LPFM, launched the Bioneers Reel Change Youth Media Program, co-created the annual national Media Arts Leadership Institute and consults with community media organizations in Europe, Africa, and the United States.