"I will never forget the weekend that my parents came to visit me here on campus," says Brandon Burrell, a doctoral Art History student. "When we got to the fountain in front of Westcott, they commented on how beautiful the campus is and how proud they were of me. I will always treasure that moment."
Two short years ago, Jacksonville University (JU) named Brandon its Student of the Year 2005. He was graduating with two degrees—a BFA in Computer Art and Design and a BA in Art History. "The Computer Art and Design is indicative of my initial interest to work in the field of computer animation," he says. "As I learned more about Art History, it developed into a passion, and I decided to get degrees in both fields."
To gain acceptance into the MA-to-PhD accelerated program offered by Florida State's Department of Art History, Brandon wrote, "Straying in the Lines: Walt Disney's Live-Action/Animation Film," a paper that related his fascination with computer animation. "My current work reveals traces from my background in computers; and the various technological apparatuses that facilitate the creation of art, whether they be computers, the camera obscura, the silhouette drawing machine, or the rotoscope, have all found their way into my research projects."
A University fellow for his first two years of study at FSU, Brandon has been awarded the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, the Florida Education Fund's support of African-American students in fields of study where they have historically not enrolled or completed degree programs.
As an undergraduate, Brandon took advantage of several study abroad programs offered. In Paris, he studied at the Sorbonne, and in Florence, he taught high school students alternative media processes. In Ecuador, as the cinematographer he documented JU's Alternative Spring Break Volunteer Program in Guayaquil, and the proceeds from the sale of his DVDs went to support one of the local orphanages. This past summer in Paris, he taught an Art and Architecture course, "meeting with students at various sites to study famous works and historic monuments firsthand."
Brandon has been selected by the Art History department to attend the 32nd International Congress of the History of Art being held in Melbourne, Australia. "The theme of the conference," he says, "is conflict, migration and convergence in the visual, symbolic and artistic exchanges between cultures throughout history. This focus on new media, in particular, fits perfectly within my art historical studies."[Close Button]