Sonia received the great honor of being a 2019 Fellow for the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy.
The Obermann Graduate Institute “is a 3 1/2-day interdisciplinary institute in which UI graduate students from across campus and at any point in their graduate studies explore how public engagement can enhance teaching, research, and creative work.
By the end of the Institute, participants will be familiar with the history of public engagement, current trends, and be able to both differentiate between and apply various modes of engagement to teaching and research projects.”
The Institute tackled ideas and provided resources around engaged outreach, engaged research, and engaged teaching, helping Sonia to connect her various identities and practices around narrative ownership in the Caribbean space:
“I am the only Bahamian pursuing higher education and training in book arts to build a hub of creative and educational opportunities in the field within the Caribbean space, and my time in the University of Iowa has helped me to expand my ambitions for community outreach through my career path. However, limitations abound in this part of the world. As I think about life after university at home, some questions I often revisit include: How can collaborations within Poinciana Paper Press contribute to the rich literary and visual culture of the Caribbean? How can those narratives resist conventional and problematic characterizations of paradise by providing a platform for marginalized, forgotten, or “difficult” narratives? How can I improve access to these narratives? How can I work within the physical and economic constraints of small island nations? How can I best utilize our natural resources? How can I best utilize local and international connections? How can my press contribute to the cultural economy and cultural tourism of the Caribbean? I hope that my background can contribute cultural awareness to the Institute, and opportunities for creative exchange with like-minded individuals who want to make a difference in their chosen careers.”