Brooklyn College is proud to announce that two faculty members have been selected as 2023 Guggenheim Fellows by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation: Filmmaker and Adjunct Professor Todd Chandler, selected from the film and video category; and Professor of English Tanya Pollard, selected from the early modern studies category.

Also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship was Kelly Copper ’07, M.F.A. Playwriting. Copper and her husband, Pavol Liska, are the founders of the theater company Nature Theater of Oklahoma in New York and were selected from the drama and performing arts category.

“Brooklyn College is proud of the current faculty members, Todd Chandler and Tanya Pollard, and our alumna, Kelly Copper, who join this prestigious cohort of scholars and artists making a positive impact on the world. We congratulate them on this great honor,” said Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson.

Pollard joined Brooklyn College in Fall 2007 and mainly teaches Shakespeare, early modern literature, and the history of the English language. Her research is focused on Shakespeare and early modern playwrights. She was trained in classics, English, and comparative literature, at the University of Oxford and Yale University.

Pollard is the author of Greek Tragic Women on Shakespearean Stages (Oxford, 2017) and Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2005) and has edited or co-edited an additional five books, including most recently Reader in Tragedy: An Anthology of Classical Criticism to Contemporary Theory (Bloomsbury, 2019), co-edited with Marcus Nevitt. Awards include a Rhodes Scholarship, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship, and a Whiting Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching.

As for the Guggenheim Fellowship, Pollard plans to take some time off from teaching to work on a current book project, which she calls “a biography of a marriage between Shakespeare and his leading actor Richard Burbage.”

“I’m thrilled that, among other things, this award puts me in the wonderful company of other Brooklyn College English Department members who have had the same fellowship in recent years, including Ben Lerner [2013] and Helen Phillips [2020] and my CUNY Graduate Center English Department colleague Wayne Koestenbaum, who is also one of this year’s fellows. CUNY is an amazing place, and I am very grateful to be surrounded by so many creative, warm, and supportive colleagues and students,” Pollard said.

Pollard has also earned a Whiting Fellowship (2010), an NEH Fellowship (2006-7), a Frances Yates Fellowship (at the Warburg Institute, 1997-8), a Mellon Fellowship (1993), and a Rhodes Scholarship (1990).

Chandler, a filmmaker and Adjunct Associate Professor from the Film Department directed the documentary Bulletproof, which screened at over two dozen festivals worldwide and was called “dreamlike and startling,” by The New York Times and “a quiet gut punch of a film,” by The Guardian. He was one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2019, a fellow at the Sundance Non-Fiction Director’s Residency, and a Points North Fellow. In 2020 he received the Hot Docs International Emerging Filmmaker Award for Bulletproof.

Chandler’s work explores American rituals, landscapes, and systems of power, and his films and installations have been featured at True/False, IDFA, Doclisboa, the Hammer Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Mass MoCA.  Chandler has been supported by Creative Capital, Field of Vision, Sundance Institute, International Documentary Association, Doc Society, and ITVS, among others.

Chandler is also an accomplished film editor who was the lead editor and a human rights video advocacy trainer at WITNESS. He edited the Academy Award-nominated documentary short film, In the Absence, directed by Seung-jun Yi, and Reid Davenport’s feature documentary I Didn’t See You There, which won Davenport the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and the Truer Than Fiction Independent Spirit Award.

To learn more and see the full list of new Fellows, you can read the official Guggenheim press release here.

For 2023, the awards went to 48 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields and 72 different academic institutions. This year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 31 to 85, represent 24 states and the District of Columbia, as well as two Canadian provinces. Close to 50 Fellows have no current full-time college or university affiliation. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to issues like the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, democracy and policing, scientific innovation, climate change, and identity.

“Like Emerson, I believe that fullness in life comes from following our calling,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “The new class of Fellows has followed their calling to enhance all of our lives, to provide greater human knowledge and deeper understanding. We’re lucky to look to them to bring us into the future.”

About the Guggenheim Foundation 

Created and initially funded in 1925 by Senator Simon and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has sought since its inception to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions.”

Since its establishment, the Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel Prize laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. The great range of fields of study is a unique characteristic of the fellowship program.

The Foundation centers the talents and instincts of the Fellows, whose passions often have a broad and immediate impact. For example, Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1936 with the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship and dedicated it to the Foundation’s first president, Henry Allen Moe. Photographer Robert Frank’s seminal book, The Americans, was the product of a cross-country tour supported by two Guggenheim Fellowships. The accomplishments of other early Fellows like Jacob Lawrence, Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, Martha Graham, and Linus Pauling also demonstrate the strength of the Foundation’s core values and the power and impact of its approach.