Baltimore is well-represented in this year’s group of Guggenheim Fellows. Filmmaker and Hopkins professor Matt Porterfield, Hopkins professor Lawrence P. Jackson and Loyola professor David Carey Jr. all took home the prestigious prize awarded to scholars to aide in research or the creation of art.
The grants vary by amount and are awarded over a minimum period of six months or a maximum of a year, giving awardees “blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible.”
Best known for his independent films set in and around Baltimore, 2006’s “Hamilton,” 2011’s “Putty Hill,” 2013’s “I Used to Be Darker” and 2018’s “Sollers Point,” Porterfield has received praise in The New York Times, The A.V. Club and The Los Angeles Times for his naturalistic character studies, which he has directed and either written or co-written.
He also teaches film production and theory at Johns Hopkins University.
According to his page on the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation site, Porterfield will use the money to develop a feature film in Tijuana, Mexico.
Jackson, another recipient representing Johns Hopkins University, is the founder of the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts, an initiative to research and celebrate the local culture of black Baltimore residents. Recent projects have included maps on abolitionist Frederick Douglass‘ time in Maryland and an interactive digital map of the landmarks in the life of Holiday, a Jazz Age singer who called Baltimore home.
The Baltimore native is also the author of a biography on Chester B. Himes, an early 20th century African American novelist.
Carey Jr. is the Doehler chair in History at Loyola University and has conducted extensive research on the history of Latin America. After meeting with working-class people in Mexico, Chile, Peru and Guatemala, he decided to pursue work through a social justice lens and studied how some marginalized people “developed strategies to minimize disadvantages and to repurpose oppressive structures to advance their own agendas,” according to a bio on the awards page.
The author of three books, including one in Mayan, Carey will use the grant to finish will complete a new title, “Pandemic Politics: Race, Healing, and Public Health in Guatemala and Ecuador, 1900-1950,” examining the differing public health outcomes in those two countries, which both have large indigenous populations.