Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies

Photo-Essay Competition: “Reflections on Research” winners announced

Photo by Orel Beilinson
October 23, 2020

The Councils on Latin American & Iberian Studies (CLAIS) and European Studies (ESC) at the MacMillan Center are proud to announce the winners of the “Fall 2020 Photo-Essay Competition: Reflections on Research.” Yale undergraduate and graduate students were invited to submit photos with captions or brief essays that reflect on how they have adapted their research pursuits in light of the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Through their submissions, entrants shared their personal answers to the contest’s guiding question: Without access to the sites, archives, and communities that fuel our work, how can we continue to make contributions with our projects?    

First place prize was awarded to Orel Beilinson. Orel is a PhD candidate in History, and a social and cultural historian of modern Central and Eastern Europe. He submitted a personal essay and four photos, sharing how fresh intellectual exploration during the pandemic has been sparked by photos he took during his pre-pandemic travels in Belgrade, Thessaloniki, Bucharest, Moscow, Vienna, and Tirana.

Madeleine Muzdakis, a European & Russian Studies MA graduate (’20), received second place prize for her photo essay on academic travel conducted in summer 2019. Photo by Madeleine MuzdakisMadeleine reflected on the inimitable experience of in-person research expeditions and the powerful connections that can be made through informal observation of a location’s architecture and environment.

The third place prize was given to Hestia Zhang, a European & Russian Studies MA graduate (’20), focused on art, literature, and urbanization in 19th century France. Hestia submitted striking photos of protest, capturing the Yellow Vests Movement in Paris, France and a pro-Catalan independence demonstration outside Barcelona, Spain.

Photo by Hestia ZhangCLAIS and ESC offer hearty congratulations to the winners, and extend thanks and gratitude to all competition participants for sharing their creative and personal stories of what it has meant to persevere in the challenge of the pandemic.                                                                                                            

The photo competition was judged by a panel committee including Jana Krentz, Curator for the Latin American and Iberian Studies, and Ana Arrays, Librarian for Slavic & East European Studies. The winning submissions can be viewed on the ESC’s Student Grants & Fellowships blog, here.