Congratulations to Diego Villada! Grad Expo Winner

Last week the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences held its annual Grad Expo to spotlight the research of Pitt’s graduate students. The Grad Expo is an exciting opportunity for graduate students to present research and gain interdisciplinary exposure to the concepts and practices that comprise scholarship in the Arts & Sciences. To participate, graduate students must submit an abstract, present a paper or poster to cross-disciplinary audiences, and are judged by University of Pittsburgh faculty. The Department of Theatre Arts was proud to have doctoral candidate, Christiana Molldrem Harkulich, and PhD student, Diego Villada, participate in this year’s Grad Expo. In fact, Diego’s paper “Heartwarming Stories Make Refugees the Object of Spectacle” was one of the 2016 Grad Expo winners.

As a third-year doctoral student studying with Dr. Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, Diego’s research centers on Latin American theatre, global tourism, and transnational performance. His paper for the Grad Expo spotlights how migrants displaced by the Syrian conflict are objectified in the “spreadable media” that characterizes contemporary media consumption. Analyzing a particular ‘viral’ news video from the conflict, Diego critiques its “heartwarming” appeal and complicates the “hope and despair” it can elicit from viewers by situating the video’s scenario in a larger narrative of war, immigration, and identity. Diego’s research provides an important and relevant response to the current national and international climate. The Department of Theatre Arts extends its warmest congratulations to Diego on his campus-wide honor.