Hand Papermaking, Inc. is pleased to announce its two inaugural Black Writers Fellows: Cheryl D. Edwards, the winner of the Black Writers Fellowship: Reporter; and Keren Alfred, the winner of the Black Writers Fellowship: Researcher. The two fellows were chosen by a panel of experts in the field after responding to our national call for proposals this fall.
Hand Papermaking launched its Black Writers Fellowship program in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives as a concrete step to counteract social inequities and to fulfill our role as a journal of record that truly reflects the full breadth of work in our field. The Black Writers Fellowship: Reporter is an opportunity for a Black writer to engage with “Celebrating #BlackPapermakers,” Hand Papermaking’s curated social-media series, to uplift and center Black artists and papermakers. The Reporter will write an original short-form profile on an artist of their choice for potential publication in the Summer 2021 issue of Hand Papermaking magazine. The Black Writers Fellowship: Researcher is a research-based opportunity for a Black writer that will result in the publication of an original, long-form article in the Winter 2021 issue of Hand Papermaking magazine.
Cheryl D. Edwards began her studies in art in 1987 at the Art Student League and was taught by Ernest Crichlow. She lives in Washington, D.C. and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Edwards’ practice is a creative investigative inquiry inspired by familiar sources: human and political condition, spirituality and mythology, cultural custom and patterns; and place. In the absence of the former (manifestations of energy), the physical aspects of place remain. She describes herself as, “a product of my genetic and biological foundation, and as such (an African American Woman) I live my life as a witness and sometimes a victim and I find myself in the current state of healing the agency of my vacancies.”
Keren Alfred is an artist and an environmentalist. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, she is fascinated with learning about the land and often says that her interest in the environment is in her blood. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Book Arts at the University of Iowa’s Center for the Book. Her artwork builds on her environmental background to show the ways plants influence culture — particularly in the Caribbean — and she hopes to get more people to pay attention to the land around them.