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West Virginia University College of Creative Arts

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MORGANTOWN, WV -

Two faculty members conducting unique research in the arts have been named endowed professors in the College of Creative Arts.

Joshua Blackmer Williamson, associate professor of lighting and sound design, will hold the Mabel DeVries Tanner Endowed Professorship in Theatre, and Eve Faulkes, professor of graphic design, will hold the J. Bernard Schultz Endowed Professorship in Art.

The three-year professorships provide support for research and creative activity by faculty members.

Appointees to endowed positions must have a record of distinguished academic or professional work, as compared with colleagues in peer institutions.

Williamson is developing an iPad/iBook/eBook that documents the equipment displayed at an exhibition titled "50 Years of Lighting," that he directed and curated at a conference of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology in 2010. 

He plans to expand the scope of the project beyond the 1960-2010 period of the exhibition. Additionally, he will explore the lighting design implications of the new generation of LED lighting fixtures.

This work would involve testing LED lighting equipment in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre of the Creative Arts Center in "real world" conditions.

Williamson has served as director of the School of Theatre & Dance since 2007, after serving as the director of the design and technology program for four years. He has a bachelor of fine arts from Ithaca College and a master of fine arts from the University of Wisconsin — Madison. 

He has extensive professional credits as a freelance lighting designer and, prior to joining the WVU faculty in 2001, taught lighting design and technical production at Bates College.

His current research builds on his background in designing for dance, and explores the integration of moving lights, choreography, and dancers into a symbiotic performance medium.

Faulkes is conducting research in the area of social design and is examining the roles design can play in projects to help communities with complex problems such as poverty, disparity in education and nutrition.

Her research for the past six years has promoted the mixing of social psychology theories and visual communication to craft messages for audiences that may be predisposed to reject them — for example, a diabetic reluctant to begin an exercise program or one political party affiliate being unable to hear the viewpoint of the other long enough to sustain conversation.

Her research focuses on West Virginia and seeks to improve the connectedness within and between communities. Her projects often involve her students, positioning them as citizen designers to let them experience design created for social value. 

Current projects include helping a coal mining community create a museum/history caching trail in Scott's Run that can act as a community gathering place and storytelling venue, an exhibit in Weston that will seek to give the community a voice in the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and a community-building/green-building conference that will bring unlikely partners to discuss common goals for communities.

She also seeks to provide opportunities to bring disciplines together in this emerging field and conceived last spring's conference, "Designing for the Divide: A Conference on Community Action Across Lines of Difference." 

Faulkes earned her master's of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and has been teaching graphic design and book arts at WVU since 1979. Her design and artist's books have appeared in "Print," AIGA's "Graphic Design USA" and "Graphis" annuals as well as the "50 Books of the Year" international travelling show of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Her work has been exhibited in shows in China, Italy, Germany, Canada and many universities and galleries in the United States