You are here

UW Arts Division welcomes ten new faculty members

June 2020

After a series of successful faculty searches, the University of Washington will welcome ten new faculty members into the Division of the Arts during the 2020-21 academic year. The hires will join colleagues in the School of Art + Art History + Design, School of Drama and School of Music, and departments of Dance and DXARTS.

“The College of Arts and Sciences weathered the last great recession in 2008 by downsizing our faculty—that is, by not replacing faculty who retired or separated,” says Divisional Dean of the Arts Catherine Cole. “But one can only downsize for so long. The arts endured proportionally greater faculty losses in recent years than other divisions of the College. Now is the time to reinvest in the future of the arts at UW.”                                                                                                                             

Cole is the guiding force behind the UW Arts and Creativity Initiative, which seeks to make arts experiences foundational to all students’ time at UW, regardless of their major. “To achieve this vision, we need all hands on deck,” says Cole. “These ten new faculty are the future of the arts at the University of Washington. They bring new voices, innovative visions, and fresh perspectives both to our art forms and to our tumultuous contemporary times.”

These new faculty appointments, made possible by the generous support of Dean Robert Stacey and Provost Mark Richards, are a testament to the value UW leadership places on the arts.  “In many ways, the arts stand at the pinnacle of the human aspirations that make for a great university — the intersection of mind and spirit, heart and imagination, body and soul,” says Richards. “Through the visual and performing arts students explore both their commonalities and differences, and become deeply enriched as citizens and as human beings.”

Short biographies on the new faculty members are included below.


School of Art + Art History + Design

James Pierce Art

James Pierce, Assistant Professor, Interaction Design
Pierce’s current research focuses on addressing privacy, security, and ethical challenges related to interactive, networked, and data-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Pierce is particularly concerned with engaging the political, social, cultural, and personal dimensions of design and technology. His interdisciplinary research practice combines methods from design, engineering, social sciences, art, and the humanities. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in journals and conference proceedings, and has taught at the University of California, Berkeley and California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Pierce received an MS in Human-Computer Interaction/Design from Indiana University and a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.

Robert Rhee School of Art

Robert Rhee, Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts
Rhee’s work encompasses sculpture, performance, and critical writing. Rhee has exhibited at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, the Hunterdon Art Museum in New Jersey, White Columns in New York, Fort Worth Contemporary Arts in Texas, the Korean Cultural Center in California, the 10th Berlin Biennale, and the Ilmin Museum of Art in South Korea. Rhee’s work was recently featured in Subspontaneous, a two person exhibit at Frye Art Museum in Seattle. He has been an Assistant Professor at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle since 2014. Rhee received a BA in Art from Yale University and an MFA in Sculpture/New Genres from Columbia University.

Julie Sperling School of Art

Juliet Sperling, Assistant Professor, Kollar Endowed Chair in American Art
Sperling currently has a book manuscript in progress entitled Tactile Encounter and the Moving Image in American Visual Culture. In addition to her interest in moving images, she has broadly studied American material and visual culture as well as book history. Most recently, Sperling has been a Faculty Fellow in American Art at Colby College in Maine, teaching survey classes on American art as well as classes on race and representation in American art and the history of photography and moving images. Sperling earned her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received two teaching awards while a graduate student. The Kollar Endowed Chair in American Art has been generously supported by Allan and Mary Kollar.


Department of Dance

Rujeko Dumbutshena Dance

Rujeko Dumbutshena, Assistant Professor of Dance
Dumbutshena is a Zimbabwean-born dancer, pedagogue, and performer who specializes in neo-traditional and contemporary African dance. She conducts her scholarly research on the interplay of gender and power in ritual performances of communities in southern Africa. She will be the first full-time faculty member in the Department of Dance’s history to be versed in dances of the African Diaspora, helping to advance the department’s continued efforts to increase diversity within the dance curriculum.

Dumbutshena was an original ensemble member in Bill T. Jones’ Off-Broadway and Broadway musical production of FELA! She was commissioned to produce a choreo-poem for the Smithsonian African Art Museum’s African Cosmos exhibit, and has directed and been a guest artist at African drum and dance conferences across the country. She has been on faculty at the Central New Mexico Community College, the University of New Mexico, and Sarah Lawrence College, and an artist in residence at Williams College, the University of Rochester, and Duke University. Dumbutshena holds an MFA in dance from the University of New Mexico.

Alana Isiguen Dance

Alana Isiguen, Artist in Residence
Isiguen has presented her choreography at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in New York, and her performance credits include works by George Balanchine, Ohad Naharin, Mark Morris, and William Forsythe. She has served on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine, the Dance Academy of North Jersey, Santa Ana College, the School of the Sacramento Ballet, and most recently Cornish College of the Arts. Isiguen received her formative training as a student apprentice with the Charlotte Ballet, formerly the North Carolina Dance Theater. She furthered her training at Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and other dance programs. Isiguen has a BFA from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and a MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine.


School of Drama

Libby King School of Drama

Libby King, Assistant Professor of Acting, Directing and Devising
King has been a member of the acclaimed theatre company the TEAM (helmed by Tony award winner Rachel Chavkin) since 2006, where she has helped author and perform in four award-winning published works: Particularly in the Heartland, Architecting, Mission Drift, and Roosevelvis. She is currently creating a role in the TEAM’s upcoming show, RECONSTRUCTION (Still Working but the Devil Might be Inside). King has worked on productions elsewhere as well,  including Men on Boats; The Laramie Project Cycle27 by Abi Morgan; Death of a Salesman with Siti Company; Theatre of the Mind with 600 Highwaymen and David Byrne; Uncle Vanya; and Patti & the Kid. King has taught at New York University, the New School, PACE, Sarah Lawrence College, Vassar College, Louisiana State University, and Vanderbilt University. King played NCAA Division 1 soccer at Clemson University and received her MFA from Louisiana State University.

Adrienne Mackey School of Drama

Adrienne Mackey, Assistant Professor of Acting, Directing and Devising
Mackey is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the potential of performance and play. With her company, Swim Pony, she’s created works including SURVIVE! - a 22,000 square foot interactive science installation; The Ballad of Joe Hill at Eastern State Penitentiary; War of the Worlds with Drexel's Entrepreneurial Game Studio; and The End – a month-long mixed reality game exploring fears about mortality. She’s the originator of Cross Pollination, a residency program in which 32 artists took part in documented interdisciplinary collaborations. She’s now developing TrailOff – a mobile app using GPS to embed stories on nature trails; Water Logged!, a wildlife card game with the Alliance for Watershed Education; and an ecological table-top role-play for Fairmount Waterworks. She is also a classically trained soprano, former chemist, faculty member of Pig Iron's Devised Theatre MFA, and sings funk and soul backup vocals as "The Truth" for Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket. Mackey holds an MFA in game/theater from Goddard College.



Tivon Rice DXARTS

Tivon Rice, Assistant Professor, Data-Drive
With recent films, installations, and AI generated narratives, Rice examines the ways contemporary digital culture creates images, language, and histories around communities and the physical environment. He was a Fulbright scholar to Korea and one of the first individuals to collaborate with Google Artists + Machine Intelligence. His projects have been included in exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, Taipei, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, and São Paulo. Since 2017, Rice has lived and worked in the Netherlands where he was an Artistic Researcher at the Delft University of Technology, and an instructor of Photography and Film at the Breda Academy of Art and Design. Rice received a BFA in Electronic Media from the University of Colorado, and both an MFA in sculpture and PhD in DXARTS from the University of Washington.


School of Music

Anne Searcy School of Music

Anne Searcy, Assistant Professor, Music History
Searcy is a musicologist who researches the intersections of music, politics, and dance. Searcy’s first book, Ballet in the Cold War: A Soviet-American Exchange, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in fall 2020. The book analyzes the American and Soviet cultural diplomacy programs, focusing on tours by the Bolshoi Ballet in the United States and by American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet in the Soviet Union. Searcy has also published articles on the ballet Spartacus and the musical Hamilton. She was awarded an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship by the American Musicological Society. She previously taught at the University of Miami. Searcy holds BA in history from Swarthmore College and a PhD in music from Harvard University.

Carrie Henneman Shaw School of Music

Carrie Henneman Shaw, Artist in Residence, Vocal Performance
As a singer, Shaw engages in a wide variety of musical projects, but she focuses on early and contemporary music. A sample of her work includes an upcoming solo recording on Naxos Records of early 18th-century French song; creating music for a live-music-for-dance project with James Sewell Ballet; and collaborating on a recording with the band Deerhoof. She is a two-time winner of a McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, and she is a member of two groups that focus on music by living composers: Ensemble Dal Niente, a mixed chamber collective, and Quince Ensemble, a treble voice quartet. She appears in numerous recordings ranging from medieval sacred music to a video-game soundtrack. Shaw has been maintaining a full university studio for the past six years and participating in educational residencies for composers and performers around the country, including at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, New York University, University of Chicago, and beyond. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and voice performance from Lawrence University and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.