Faculty Highlights | Cinema and Photography | SIU

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College of Mass Communication and Media Arts

Cinema and Photography Faculty Highlights


Cade Bursell's Waveland screened on December 7 in a curated program entitled “Microcosm//Macrocosm” at Spectral Microcinema, an underground and experimental cinema in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. 


Jyotsna Kapur was an invited speaker, “When Time Pauses:  Patricio Guzman and Third Cinema’s Confrontation with Neoliberalism” at IU Sawyer Seminar Series, Pathways out of Neoliberalism:  Utopia and Dystopia in Contemporary Latin American Documentary.  Indiana University, Bloomington, October 26-27, 2017.

Michele Leigh was an invited speaker at “The Year that Shook the Arts: Literature and Cinema in the Russian Revolution,” Dartmouth College, October 26-27; also presented “Laughing Matter, Representing Femininity in the Thaw Films of El’dar Riazanov” at the Central Slavic Conference, St Louis, October 20-22, 2017;

Walter Metz presented "Racism, from Head to Home: Implicit Association and Jordan Peele's Get Out (2017)" at the Film and History Association annual conference in Milwaukee, WI. November 3, 2017; also “Science-Fiction as Misdirection: Ethics, Adaptation, and Passengers” at the Literature/Film Association annual conference in Missoula, MT. October 28, 2017

While researching her forthcoming book, Documentary and Social Change: An Investigation of Participatory Media Cultures, Angela Aguayo finds the civil rights documentary Nine From Little Rock (Charles Guggenheim, 1964), on the nine students who desegregated the schools in Little Rock. This two minute clip, follows one of these students to college at SIU, where she studied journalism. So proud of our history!

Rob Spahr's mixed media drawing, ‘Ecce Homo’ was part of Art Car Museum's (Houston, Texas) 12th Annual Open Call Exhibition: Trump THIS! Opening on September 9th

Michele Leigh, the 2016 recipient of the Joint UPWA and WGSS Research, Scholarly & Creative Activity Award will present her research at the Women Faculty Award Spotlight Series on March 9, 2017 from 12:30 - 1:30 in the Ohio Room, Student Center.  Her talk is titled, Archaeologies of Influence: An Exploration of Female Labour in the Russian Film Industry, 1908-1920 and Why it Matters.

Cade Bursell’s Wait, Wait Spring is one of the nine experimental films to be screened at the Manchester Film Festival, March 2017

Jyotsna Kapur and Soumik Pal’s chapter, “In the Morbid Interregnum:  Vishal Bharadwaj’s Realist Aesthetic and the Neoliberal Imaginary” was published in Aysha Iqbal Viswamohan and Vimal Mohan John (eds.) Contemporary Bollywood Directors. Delhi: Sage. 2017.

Walter Metz will be presenting “The Networked Melancholia of Mork” at Networks, Nodes, and New Approaches to Adaptation Studies Conference. Brigham Young University. Provo, UT. February 2017

Congratulations to Professor Cade Bursell on being awarded the Saluki Ally Award, given annually by the LGBTQ Resource Center for Outstanding Service to the LGBTQ comunity in 2016.


Michele Leigh has won a Fulbright Award to travel to Russia in Fall 2017 to research on women in early Russian cinema.

Antonio Martinez has had a busy summer with exhibitions: see



Michele Leigh is the winner of this year’s College Excellence Awards for teaching. The Awards Committee noted her considerable contributions to expanding our curriculum through multi-platform, hybrid studies and practice courses; and animating the history of media, when in the hands of independent makers, as invariably always new.

Cade Bursell’s new film, Wait Wait Spring is scheduled to screen at Experiments in Cinema Film Festival April 5th - 10th Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her community arts project, Beloved Puppetistas received a grant for a Here We Live Project (workshops and all species puppet parade) from the Carbondale Community Arts, Boys and Girls Club, and the NEA.

Michele Leigh will give the 10th Annual Paul Garcia Lecture in International Studies at Saint Louis University in March 2016.

Robert Spahr’s work features in Robert Sweeny’s Dysfunction and Decentralization in New Media Art and Education (Intellect; 2016). The book examines how digital artists have embraced the concept of the error or glitch as subversive act.

Alison Smith's photography is  part of Faux, an exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado and juried by Louise Clements, Artistic Director of QUAD, Derby UK and the FORMAT International Photography Festival. 

Photographs by Alison Smith (honorable mention), Antonio Martinez, and Patty Chandler (C&P alumni) were included in Cell Phone Photography IV: Moving Past the Camera, a competition held by the Texas Photographic Society and juried by Meri Aaron Walker.     

Michele Leigh has been selected to receive funding through the Joint Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and University Women’s Professional Advancement (UWPA) “Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity Awards” program for her research on women in early Russian cinema.  

Antonio Martinez will be exhibiting photos from his Cagefighting series in the Darkroom Gallery, juried by Aline Smithson; on the cover of The Hand magazine and in their New Mexico gallery this month; and at the ph21 gallery, Budapest, Hungary.  

Rob Spahr’s Sabot Cruft (Nine Quilts for MOVE) was selected to be included in Art2Code, an exhibit and catalog that will exhibit the work of artists who use computer programming and code to create work that manifests as screen imagery, sculptural objects, installation environments, or time-based performance. The College Art Association and the artists collective, v1b3, will distribute the printable PDF catalog.


Congratulations to our colleagues for their years of service to SIUC: Dan Overturf (25 years), Rhonda Rothrock (20 years), Bill Rowley (15 years), and Antonio Martinez (10 years).

Angela Aguayo presented her documentary Essay on Social Justice at the National Communication Association Conference, Las Vegas, November 2015. She was also invited to direct the social justice film festival at next year's conference.

Part of Rob Spahr’s series of cruft videos were screened at the Bronx Arts Space.

Jyotsna Kapur gave the keynote address at Exploring Moral Interfaces: Private Worlds and Public Systems, a conference organized by English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad from October 7th-9th, 2015. Her talk was titled, “Annihilation of the present and the artistic response: Poetry, documentary and the neoliberal politics of time.”

Alison Smith was one of the featured artists in the Photo Biennial held by the Society for Photographic Education at the University of Louisville, October 1st-31st, 2015. This year’s theme, On Fruited Plains, centered on the lived experience and culture of the American Midwest.

Michele Leigh’s chapter on early Russian cinema, Reading between the Lines: History and the Studio Owner’s Wife was published in Christine Gledhill and Julia Knight (eds.) Doing Women's History: Reframing Cinemas, Past and Future (University of Illinois Press, 2015).  

We are pleased to announce that MCMA faculty member Angela Aguayo is a recipient of the SIU Judge William Holmes Cook Endowed Professorship for the next three years. Read more.

Antonio Martinez is exhibiting 25 of 75 photos from his series, How to Hug and Other Sublimations of Men, at the Lied's Center for Fine and Performing Arts at Creighton University through October 16. Over a span of three years, Antonio immersed himself in local cage fighting culture to understand the emotional and physical intimacy inherent in the sport, in which fear and vulnerability is exchanged for fleeting moments of power and praise.   
Creighton grads bring art to celebration 
of 50 years

Congratulations to our William Minor Grant (MCMA) awardees for their creative projects: Cade Bursell for Paint the Garden as it isHong Zhou for A Clear Dream; and Jennida Chase and Hassan Pitts for The Richmond Reclamation Project.

Kudos to our award-winning teachers: Rob Spahr (Undergraduate Mentor Award, SIUC) and Walter Metz (College teaching excellence award, MCMA).

Rob Spahr was featured in TELEPHONE: An International Arts Experiment, which is catching the public imagination.
Over 300 Artists Link Up in an International Game of Telephone
‘Telephone: An International Arts Experiment’ by Nathan Langston
“Pass it on” takes on a whole new meaning in the hands of artists

Angela J. Aguayo was invited to screen 778 Bullets(2011) at the African American Film Festival at Community College of Baltimore County Essex Campus, April 17, 2015

Angela Aguayo’s Deathwork (2013) was screened at the Carnival of e-Creativity - Shillong/Meghalaya/India - 1-3 May 2015 - under the motto of "TOTAL ART".

Alison Smith will be part of a group photographic exhibition, "Regarding Leisure"(work that explores entertainment, recreation, and/or escapism in contemporary American culture) taking place at the University of North Florida Gallery of Art (March 5th - May 5th) 

Angela J. Aguayo's chapter “Oral History as Counter Memory: Archiving and Documenting Rural Civil Rights History as a Means to Social Change” was published in William Novotny Lawrence (ed.)  Documenting the Black Experience. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Press. 2014. Dr. Lawrence also teaches in MCMA and is the Chair of the Department of Radio TV and Digotal Media.

Angela Aguayo’s essay “Activist street tapes and protest pornography: participatory media culture in the age of digital reproduction” was published in Jump Cut as part of a series of essays celebrating the 40th anniversary of the journal and counter-cinema.


Cade Bursell won, the second time in a row, the highest award in the experimental category at the UFVA (University Film and Video Association) for Waveland (2014).  Last year she had won the same award for Salt Lines (2013).

Rob Spahr was awarded the inaugural Unknown Territory Fellowship by the Hacktory (Philadelphia) and his Data Loss Cruft (Corruption) received special mention at Viral Dissonance, FLEFF (Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival 2014). 

Alison Smith’s photograph, “Fire, Laveen, AZ” was selected for juried exhibition at The Human-Altered Landscape, PhotoPlace Gallery Middlebury, VT, July 29 - Aug. 22, 2014.