05-21-2022  6:06 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By BOTWC staff
Published: 13 May 2022

Questlove has partnered with a Philadelphia based PhD program to create a scholarship for creatives, The Philadelphia Tribune reports.

Dr. Jonathan Fineberg is the creator and director of the PhD Program in Creativity for the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The program is a unique model, allowing students who are already accomplished in their fields to enter into a low-residency, dissertation only program that explores creativity through the lens of arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Students are tasked with researching how creativity is honed in each field and deep dive into the process of being creative. There are no required tests throughout the program and while most PhD programs are six or seven years in total, this is only three, focusing on recruiting those who already have tapped into their craft and are looking to enhance or master it. 

“We start with accomplished people who are already professional researchers and very good at doing something creative. We use group critique and other ideas from art school practice. We try to break down the hierarchy of conventional thinking of whatever their field happens to be and create a committee for them from all over the world,” said Fineberg.

Quest for craft

Fineberg is a staunch advocate for the program which he feels is an improvement upon a centuries old academic model. Recently while purchasing a house, he met with the seller, Shawn Gee, who happened to be the manager of Oscar award-winning musician Questlove. The two began talking about how inspired Fineberg was by Questlove’s own creative journey and an unlikely partnership grew, the musician seeing an opportunity to merge Fineberg’s PhD program in Creativity with his existing partnership with The Balvenie, a single malt scotch whisky distillery.

“Quest for Craft,” is a joint effort between Questlove and The Balvenie that highlights how creativity can be applied across all sectors, from music to distilling whisky. Now Questlove is extending that partnership to the PhD program creating “The Balvenie Fellowship,” a fully funded scholarship for the three-year PhD program of Creativity that begins in June 2022. Not only will students undergo intensive two-week summer immersions and weekend visits, they will also be responsible for completing all of their course work via remote learning. 

“As the union between The Balvenie and Questlove is centered around the creative process and the many forms it takes, we’re always looking to uplift others who are refining their own craft in new and exciting ways,” said VP of Marketing for The Balvenie USA, Greg Levine. 

First recipient

Questlove recently announced the first recipient of “The Balvenie Fellowship,” Brooklyn saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, a musician, composer and writer who plans to pursue his studies at the intersection of molecular biology and music, utilizing the lenses of art, life and philosophy. 

“We’re honored to be granting this scholarship to James Brandon Lewis, who is already a well-established and incredible saxophonist. I’m looking forward to seeing what he achieves, while honing his craft in my hometown of Philadelphia, and the impact he will have on the music community,” said Questlove. 

To learn more about the program and fellowship, visit the University of the Arts website here.

This article was origianlly posted on BOTWC

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