Ceramics and Illustration graduate Emma Herz Thakur travels to France as a Fulbright awardee

Emma Herz Thakur ’24 (ceramics and illustration) aims to form connections between the creative, museum, and scientific communities

Zelig Goodman-Hoffman

Emma Herz Thakur ’24 (ceramics and illustration) will travel to France to complete her Fulbright scholarship.

Emma Herz Thakur ’24 (ceramics and illustration) feels fortunate that at RIT she met people who have won major grants, had their work featured in museums, and are connected with scholars from around the world. Now, she is one of them.

Herz Thakur will travel to France to complete a Fulbright scholarship. She is one of a record six Fulbright U.S. Student awardees this year from RIT.

Herz Thakur, from Millerton, N.Y., will split her time between Paris and Neuilly-en-Sancerre to complete her work, which has an overarching goal of creating connections between practicing artisans and museum collections. She explains that forming these connections can bring new life to museum collections and open doors for culturally responsive conversations regarding museum collecting, colonization, and the repatriation of artifacts.

Specifically, she will study collections sourced from former French colonies at the National Museum of Natural History to build a new body of ceramic work inspired by the collections and traditional French craftsmanship.

“This area of study is incredibly important. For me personally, my experience in a bi-cultural marriage with someone who is from a formerly colonized country gives me a unique perspective on the nuances around repatriation and cultural exchange,” said Herz Thakur. “Looking at how creatives can enhance and complement natural sciences and history collections can expand our minds in terms of what community interaction with these collections can look like.”

Herz Thakur is grateful or the support she received from her mentors at RIT, including Associate Professor Rebecca Scales, Professor Juilee Decker, Ann Mowris Mulligan Endowed Professor Jane Shellenbarger, and Assistant Professor Peter Pincus.

As she anticipates traveling to France, Herz Thakur is hopeful as she faces the world of possibilities that being a Fulbright Scholar will bring to her life.

“I don’t know where this is all going to lead me. That’s the other thing about the Fulbright that's so daunting: the different avenues and the networking available to me is so broad. While I'm focused on this project, other doors might open for me that I don't know about yet,” said Herz. “All of these potential opportunities are both terrifying and exciting.”

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