Engaged in a broad spectrum of fields, from the visual arts, literature, theater, and music to computer science, history, human rights, immunology, journalism, and social justice, the twenty-four fellows will each receive $625,000 over five years. Popularly known as the MacArthur "genius awards," the fellowships provide recipients with maximum freedom to follow their own creative vision, with no stipulations or reporting requirements.
This year's fellows include painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose works explore the complexities of globalization and transnational identity; human rights strategist Greg Asbed, who is working to improve conditions for low-wage workers through worker-driven social responsibility; computer scientist Regina Barzilay, who is developing machine-learning methods that enable computers to process and analyze vast amounts of human language data; and musician Rhiannon Giddens, who is reclaiming African-American contributions to folk and country music.
Other recipients include journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who is chronicling the persistence of racial segregation in American society, with a focus on education; United We Dream executive director Cristina Jiménez Moreta, who is helping to shape the debate around immigration policy; urban planner Damon Rich, who develops strategies to design and build places that are democratic and accountable to residents; and Yuval Sharon, who produces and directs immersive, multisensory, and mobile opera productions.
"From transforming conditions for low-wage workers to identifying Internet security vulnerabilities, from celebrating the African-American string band tradition to designing resilient urban habitats, these new MacArthur Fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges," said Cecilia A. Conrad, managing director of the MacArthur Fellows Program. "Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all."
For a complete list of the 2017 MacArthur Fellows, see the MacArthur Foundation website.
(Photo credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)