Julia Drake is a writer living in San Francisco. She studied Spanish at Williams College, and then went on to receive her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she also served as a teaching fellow. Her work has appeared in Esopus, The Gettysburg Review and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and she has held positions at The New Yorker and Us Weekly magazine.
While in Sitka, Julia will continue working on a collection of short stories that explores the intersection of the wondrous and the mundane in the lives of young women, and she will also begin work on her second young adult novel.
Muira McCammon is a freelance journalist, war crimes researcher, and incoming Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication. Her writings focus on the intersection of digital culture, Guantánamo, information policy, including the U.S. laws governing the deletion and disappearance of federal records and archives. She previously worked as a research assistant at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and was later a summer 2016 fellow at the Harvard Law Library Innovation Lab. Muira has written for Slate, How We Get to Next, Atlas Obscura, Waypoint by VICE, The Massachusetts Review, Paste Magazine, and others. A Beinecke Scholar, she wrote her M.A. thesis at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on the history of the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library and received her B.A. in French and International Relations from Carleton College. Muira is addicted to web archiving tools, podcasts, C-SPAN, and smoked salmon.
This summer at Sitka, through narrative nonfiction and experimental techniques, Muira is going to create a digital resource for freelance journalists writing about various aspects of GiTMO; it will draw on lessons she has learned and interviews she has conducted over the past 2.5 years, while researching the detention facility and arranging her first trip there. She will continue to grapple with a question that has long fascinated her: how can we educate the next generation of war crimes researchers in emerging technologies, investigative reporting techniques, and digital ethics, so that they can probe detention centers from afar and combat logistical, legal, and political constraints?
Lauren Wimmer is the author of several plays including Divorce Party, which has been developed at Sewanee Writers Conference after a reading at Theater For The New City. The play was produced at New York City’s Cave Theatre Co. this past Spring. Lauren was a playwriting apprentice at New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College where her play, Vocation Vacation, received its first reading. Her play, Stream, was developed at Swarm Artist Residency. In addition, Lauren was a finalist for The Ingram New Works Project at Nashville Repertory Theater. The Annoyance produced her one-act play, Do As I Say. Her short play, Everything You’ll Miss In Minutes, was selected for the 2017 Theater Masters’ National MFA Playwrights Festival with performances in both Aspen and New York. Samuel French will publish the play in the Fall. Lauren’s short story, My Time With Lennifer Jawrence, was published on the blog “Fictitious.” She has worked in various capacities with Upright Citizens Brigade, York Theatre Company, The New Group, New Dramatists, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Chicago Shakespeare, Writers Theatre, and Soho Rep. Lauren is a graduate of The Second City's Conservatory & Writing Programs. She earned her B.A. with a concentration in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College and is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing at Carnegie Mellon University.
Project Description: When Iris arrives home from college, she discovers her father is trying to replace her with a baby doll also named Iris. Montana did not want to become a mom, abandoning her daughter when she was born. Now Montana is a nomad, driving across the country, picking up hitchhikers when she can. When the women cross paths, their connection is unlike anything they’ve ever known. A dark comedy about parental responsibility and possibilities.
Hannah Brinkmann is a comic artist from Hamburg, Germany. Growing up in this rainy city she found herself very early in life sitting at her desk for hours on end creating her own worlds on paper. While studying Illustration at HAW Hamburg she discovered the world of comics and the possibilities of it - combining her love to draw and the urge to tell stories. For her latest comic project she was nominated for the Comic Book Prize by the Berthold Leibinger Foundation. Hannah has studied in Tel Aviv and Angoulême before continuing her Masters Degree at HAW Hamburg. She is the Co-Founder of the Magazine ODRADEK that is embracing the concepts of online comics and comic journalism. Since 2016 she is part of the team organizing the Comic Festival Hamburg.
So naturally during the Sitka Fellowship she will work on her own graphic novel. It will be a personal project – a family story. She is hoping that by examining her families past she will be able to make sense of her own present.
Sylvia Ryerson is a radio producer and musician. After graduating from Wesleyan University, Sylvia moved to Eastern Kentucky to work at Appalshop, a renowned documentary arts center and home to WMMT-FM community radio. She worked as a reporter for WMMT, directed Appalshop’s Traditional Music Program and produced Calls from Home, a weekly radio program that sends messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated in Central Appalachia. Sylvia is now based in Brooklyn. Her work has been featured on Here and Now, The Takeaway, The Marshall Project, Transom.org, The Third Coast Festival and the BBC.
In Sitka, Sylvia will be editing Restorative Radio, a radio series that broadcasts “audio postcards” from family members to their loved ones in prison. The project aims to transcend prison walls and change public perceptions of who is behind them.
Madeleine Welsch is an illustrator and motion graphics artist currently based in New York. Her rural upbringing in Massachusetts fostered a consciousness of her surroundings and an insatiable call to answer the question, “what impact do I have here?” Madeleine believes art can be a catalyst for change: a way to make sense of the complex environmental and social issues she struggles to digest. She has found that visuals make tough questions tangible, or at least worth talking about. Madeleine credits her interest in environmental advocacy and education to Project Green Challenge, an international research and engagement competition held in San Francisco, which she won in 2013 (as has been involved with since). Madeleine has worked for Brooklyn-based artist Lesley Dill and in the graphic design department at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 2016, she completed her first residency at the Center at Eagle Hill in Hardwick, Massachusetts and will spend time as a resident at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California following her time in Sitka.
Jumping off her recent undergraduate thesis (a three-screen animation loosely-based on the environmental economic theory The Tragedy of the Commons), Madeleine will continue to explore experimental narrative motion as a Sitka Fellow. Her next piece, which she plans to begin as a fellow at the Storytellers’ Institute at Skidmore College (her alma mater), focuses on translating the soundscape “Forest to Desert” by audio artist & collaborator Sarah Boothroyd. The audio, which won a 2008 ShortDocs award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival, was created around this phrase: “Humankind is preceded by forest and followed by desert.” Forest versus city / tree versus car / then versus now. Madeleine looks forward to working while surrounded by the Alaskan landscape, as her first expedition to Alaska (specifically Prince William Sound and the Talkeetna Mountains) was a significant turning point for both her art and her life.