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I.B. HOPKINS, CANADA, 2016-2017
Fulbright Scholar I.B. Hopkins

Fulbright Year: 2016-2017
Country: Canada
Proposal Type: Research Grant
Field of Study: Creative Writing (Playwriting)
Proposal Title: "Grand River and the North American Story: Mapping Contested Spaces for Performance"
UGA Undergraduate Majors: Theatre and English
Graduation Date: Fall 2015
Hometown: Gainesville, Georgia

Although the 2006 demonstration by protestors representing the Six Nations of the Grand River in a land dispute in Ontario, Canada, failed to receive proper media coverage and is perhaps little remembered today outside of the immediate region, that event will provide the framework for I.B. Hopkins’s Fulbright year.

“I will be engaged in a multi-dimensional exploration of land and its relationship to performed narratives,” says I.B., a 2015 UGA graduate with degrees in theatre studies and English. “Specifically, I will investigate the 2006 protest on the Six Nations Native. In my work, I aim to further probe cross-cultural linkages, as well as those between historical embodiment and compelling drama. I will be creating a full-length play as a result of my research.”

I.B. is a founding member of the UGA Children’s Theatre Troupe, and was an active member of on-campus groups like the Thalian Blackfriars, Next Act, and the Athens Playwrights’ Workshop. He has written and produced dozens of plays and musicals since he began writing for the stage in high school.

He’s excited about to a return to Canada, which he last visited 10 years ago.

“I am most looking forward to travel around Canada,” he says. “There are vibrant communities of theater artists (many Indigenous-centered) around the county that I plan to visit. Spending only one academic year in the second largest country on earth means I won’t get to see everything, but I’m going to try.”

He’s also excited about engaging the local community as part of his research.

“A major component of compiling the resources needed to compose this script will derive from personal interviews, community dialogues, and attendance at local gatherings of people connected to and affected by the land dispute,” he says. “The fraught nature of these tensions demand clear modes of responsible ethnographic and indigenous research methodologies; my ‘outsider’ status requires respect and reciprocity for optimal engagement.”

When he returns from Canada, I.B. plans to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in playwriting, “in order to continue cultivating my dramatic voice and exploring embodied methods in the craft.

“My penchant for rigorous scholarly work draws me toward academia and—coupled with my enjoyment of teaching—has caused me to chart my course toward eventual professorship.”

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