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Wintner awarded Fulbright-Nehru fellowship to teach in India

Published on October 18, 2023

Wintner awarded Fulbright-Nehru fellowship to teach in India

Julia Wintner
Julia Wintner

Julia Wintner, director of Eastern Connecticut State University’s Art Gallery, was recently awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Fellowship to teach in Bangalore, South India. In December 2023, she will teach a course at the Srishti Manipal Institute of Arts, Design and Technology (SMI) on “Responsible Curating: Contemporary Approaches.”   

Wintner lived in India from 1992 to 2000, where she worked with artisans and helped with the export of goods to Russia, where she was born. Through this experience she was able to see the globalization of Indian art. Now, more than 20 years later, she has been given the opportunity to reconnect with the country in a meaningful way. 

Wintner was born in Russia and has lived in many countries, such as Poland, India, New Zealand and, finally, the U.S. Her background as an immigrant inspired her interest in “diasporic art making.” Her work highlights the importance of the artist as “cultural ambassador,” connecting people in the “divided contemporary world.” 

“I have a deep knowledge of contemporary art movements acquired in Russia, New Zealand and America as well as India, and a cherished cultural empathy that I am eager to share with my colleagues and students,” Wintner said. “The ability to celebrate cultural difference and facilitate intercultural exchange is a unique contribution of the global curator.” 

In her proposal for the course, she outlined her intentions – to instruct students in the SMI Curatorial Master’s program regarding contemporary curatorial practices within U.S. cultural institutions and the multiple roles curators must play to successfully fulfill their responsibilities to artists, audiences and institutions. She will teach this through seminars, portfolio reviews, writing assignments, and hands-on curatorial opportunities. 

“My multifaceted exhibitions and my vocation for teaching will both be nurtured by the resources and experiences that the Fulbright Award will afford me,” said Wintner. “At ECSU, my Fulbright [experience] will further empower my international vision, which has been supported and esteemed by administration, faculty and students.” 

In addition to teaching, Wintner will also be researching contemporary curatorial practices in India, focusing on the history of curatorial practices in India and how the curator’s role there has evolved over the past 30 years. India’s contemporary curatorial and exhibition nexus exploded in the 1990s, when India entered the globalized marketplace of culture and commerce, Wintner noted, adding that worldwide interest in Indian art has demanded intercultural competency and the creation of a cohort of curators who could be intermediaries between countries, cultural policies and diverse audiences. 

Using the award, Wintner will be able to meet with Indian artists, “anchoring exhibition opportunities for these artists at Eastern Connecticut State University and other institutions.” As a global citizen devoted to the liberal arts core mission of cultural competency, Wintner hopes to expand not only her own international knowledge, but also the realm of possibilities for Eastern students. 

“The curatorial profession demands profound cultural sensitivity,” Wintner said. “[My research] will enrich curatorial practices through exploration of previously unknown local histories and experiences. 

“Upon my return from India, I will begin planning an exhibition showcasing the contemporary Indian artists that I have met and interviewed during my Fulbright award,” said Wintner. “A research symposium and an illustrated catalog will accompany this exhibition.” 

Written by Marcus Grant