Photo alum to travel to Trinidad and Tobago on Fulbright Scholarship

Photography by Jesse Clark.
Detail of Jesse Clark, Liberty, 2023. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Photo alum to travel to Trinidad and Tobago on Fulbright Scholarship

Photography by Jesse Clark.
Detail of Jesse Clark, Liberty, 2023. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Recent Ringling College of Art and Design grad Jesse Clark ’23, Photography and Imaging, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to conduct research in the field of photography in Trinidad and Tobago for the 2024-2025 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. 

Clark will be researching and documenting the creative practices of Trinidadian and Tobagonian artists who play a critical role in the evolution of the Carnival tradition. With his photography, Clark hopes to bring visibility to their stories and contributions to preserving cultural identities during the globalization and commercialization of the tradition. His research will highlight aspects of Afro-Caribbean identity and expression that are often underrepresented or misrepresented. 

As a student at Ringling College, Clark focused his photography on providing positive representations of Black identity in the United States. Through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, his upcoming photography project will contribute to providing authentic representations of Afro-Caribbean culture in global contemporary art as well as encourage mutual understanding of the diversity of Black expression and identity in Trinidad and Tobago and the United States. 

Detail of Jesse Clark, Transcendence. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Clark said, “A lot of my work has centered around providing Black expression and experience that exists more locally in the United States. I am excited to highlight more stories that contribute to cross-cultural understanding and make images that have an international impact with my Fulbright project and research in Trinidad and Tobago. It is such an honor to be able to represent the Photography and Imaging department at Ringling College as the first alumni from that major to receive the Fulbright Award. My instruction at the College prepared me to take on this project, and I look forward to being a role model for more students and alumni to come.”

Liberal Arts faculty and Fulbright Program Advisor Genevieve Hill-Thomas, Ph.D. said of Clark’s award and plans, “Jesse’s project is well aligned with the goal of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to build mutual understanding and advance knowledge across communities. By working with Trinidadian and Tobagonian artists as well as scholars at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Jesse has the potential to substantially contribute to the study and celebration of Carnival and its related arts. It’s very exciting!”

More than 2,000 Fulbright U.S. Students—recent college graduates, graduate students, and early career professionals from all backgrounds—pursue graduate study, conduct research, or teach English in schools abroad each year. They are recognized alongside more than 800 faculty, researchers, administrators, and established professionals who teach or conduct research in affiliation with institutes abroad annually through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Fulbrighters form ongoing research collaborations and lay the groundwork for future partnerships between institutions. Ringling College has been recognized as a Top-Producing Fulbright Institution.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad. Notable Fulbrighters include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, 41 heads of state or government, and thousands of leaders across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. 

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