The Watson

From August 2015 to August 2016, I undertook a year of solo travel and ethnographic study through the Watson Foundation. The mission of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program is to offer college graduates of ‘unusual promise’ a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel in novel international settings to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.

The philosophy behind the Watson Fellowship is to remove oneself from the comfort and stability of home, wherever that is and whatever that means, exploring the world selectively in pursuit of one’s passion, and discovering along the way one’s potential for humane and effective participation in the world community. The Watson journey is a “solo” experience, to be lived independently but shared broadly with humanity. That will probably mean more than one thing over the course of the year.

Deep Water, Horizons: Artificial Reef Communities, Above and Below the Water Line

Lanzarote, Canary Islands (Spain), Thailand, Fiji, Brunei, China, Japan
From oil rigs to submerged eco-art to coral farms, coral growth occurs at the hands of humans with or without their intent. By exploring interactions between human and non-human communities above and below artificial coral habitats in four island nations, I will engage artificial or anthropogenic reef habitats and the humans who have (sometimes accidentally) created and lived with them. I hope to better understand the ways in which humans continue to alter the marine landscape, to photo document those landscapes, and to consult with the human communities responsible for these new habitats in the face of global climate change.

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