Gaines Fellows' Projects Focus on Video Games and Theater

By Weston Loyd

(April 28, 2016) — Two current University of Kentucky Gaines Fellows, David Cole and Abby Schroering, have successfully completed their jury projects, a requirement to complete the first year of their fellowship, by creating podcasts on two culture fields with experts from right here in Lexington.

Cole, a junior English major from Monticello, Kentucky, has created a series of “Zen podcasts” that explore the world of video games. The podcasts, which are not heavily edited, lets the conversation of his interviews with local video game developers flow naturally. The goal for these podcasts is to showcase the developers and their video games to a larger audience and prove that Lexington is producing both high quantity and quality artistic work that very few cities of its size can claim.

“This Week in Video Games,” Cole's  series, is produced through the Gaines Center for the Humanities and his own website for critical writing about video games, “The Year 200X.” In the first season of the podcast, Cole entrenched himself into a community of game developers local to Lexington who have begun to make a real name for themselves. The series uses personal one-on-one interviews to explore how each of these developers got into their field and the steps they are taking to succeed without having to leave the city.

Schroering, a junior theatre and English major from Louisville, Kentucky, has also created a podcast series with the aim of making classical theater more accessible and entertaining to the general public. It is currently available on iTunes and Stitcher. A new episode is released every month.

"'Theater Classics of the World,’ or 'Theater Cow,' for short, focuses on a different classical play each episode. The first season investigates ‘Oedipus Rex,’ ‘Macbeth,’ ‘Tartuffe,’ ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and ‘The Cherry Orchard’ through plot summaries, dramatic readings and expert interviews. The first season features several professors and performers from UK,” Schroering said.

Cole’s and Schroering’s jury projects are part of the John R. and Joan B. Gaines Fellowship in the Humanities. The focus of a Gaines Fellow's jury project is local and immediate: the conception and presentation of a project that might enhance the civic culture of Lexington or the fellow's hometown. Junior Fellows work on their jury projects for several months, making final proposals in the middle of their spring semester.

The Gaines Fellowship in the Humanities, part of the UK Academy for Undergraduate Excellence in the UK Division of Undergraduate Education, is a one-of-a-kind undergraduate program designed to enrich the undergraduate experience in the humanities in a culture where science and technology are increasingly dominating. The fellowships are awarded in recognition of an outstanding academic performance, a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities.

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