UC Santa Cruz art professor Dee Hibbert-Jones wins 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship

UC Santa Cruz Associate Professor of Art Dee Hibbert-Jones
UC Santa Cruz Associate Professor of Art Dee Hibbert-Jones

UC Santa Cruz associate professor of art Dee Hibbert-Jones has been awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship in film and video.

She is one of 178 artists, scientists, and scholars selected this year by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation from a group of 3,000 applicants.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Hibbert-Jones’s most recent project was Last Day of Freedom, an animated documentary short film, created in collaboration with San Francisco artist Nomi Talisman. It was nominated for a 2016 Academy Award. Her new project will extend the reach of that film.

“The Guggenheim will help fund our animated documentary series that explores the crisis in our criminal justice system through the stories of families with a loved one accused of a capital crime,” said Hibbert-Jones. “The project unfolds through a trilogy of short films--Last Day of Freedom was the first in this series. We will now focus on a second story from the South.”

“We aim to raise questions about the criminal justice system,” she added, “and ask questions that lie at the heart of our democracy: What does it mean to ‘do the right thing’? Can we equate justice and safety with the police? What systems of protection, punishment and moral codes should exist? What’s race got to do with it? What about the kids, survivors and victims? Who has the right to take a life?”

Hibbert-Jones noted that the project is a multi-platform documentary trilogy for distribution on public television, in film festivals, on the Internet via webisodes, and as a video installation in museums.

“We are currently completing research and early-stage production on the second and third stories,” said Hibbert-Jones. “It’s so exciting and such an honor to be awarded the grant.”

“It is amazing to get support for this issue that is so critical at this time in the U.S.," she added. “We are at a crossroads in the criminal justice system, and I hope our work can call attention to a complexity of issues.”

Hibbert-Jones is one of 12 UC scholars who were awarded Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships for 2016.