The University of Sunderland is home to the National Glass Centre in the UK, as well as the Institute for International Research in Glass (IIRG). As a glass artist, this was exactly where I wanted to do my Fulbright Fellowship. Artist and studio mate Tim Tate was also a recipient of a Fulbright Specialist award, and with some finagling, we were able to both complete our Fulbright Mission together.
Working with the University, we worked in different techniques in glass, and were able to work with Fulbright Scholar Jeffery Sarmiento – who was then appointed Reader in Glass at the National Glass Centre.
Besides working with the University students and faculty, we also were able to create informal workshops on how technology and social media is changing the art world. These talks were extremely popular – with the standing room only audiences that came from the student body of the University as well as working artists from Sunderland, Newcastle, and as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland. The audience stayed long after the talk, and topics from the discussions continued to come up during our entire Fulbright program stay (and indeed, afterwards via the internet) showing the strong relevance of the concepts.
Since our mission, we were invited to show as artists at galleries in London and at the Sunderland Museum, and we had the Sunderland artists featured in an international exhibit held in Washington, DC the following year.
While our mission as Fulbright Scholars was to impart information, we left having learned many lessons.
Michael Janis – Fulbright to United Kingdom 2012