Define American Immigrant Creative Fellowship - Define American

Define American Immigrant Creative Fellowship

Supporting immigrant creatives in developing their practices and connecting with their local communities.

About the Fellowship

The world is moved by stories and storytellers. Culture is changed by compelling narratives.

This fellowship supports immigrant creatives working in narrative art forms as they build their professional practice and network. Recognizing the unique hurdles that immigrant creatives in these fields may face, the six fellows selected for the Define American Creative Fellowship will participate in workshops and conversations around furthering their network and impact, be connected with additional resources, and supported in their community engagement efforts.

The Define American Creative Fellowship is open to creatives in narrative-oriented art forms (writing, filmmaking, visual storytelling, theater, illustration, spoken word, digital journalism, etc.) with at least some experience (professional or amateur) in their chosen medium. This program is uniquely suited to supporting artists who have a deep commitment to their local communities and further developing their creative practice as they shape narratives of American identity.

Applications are now closed for the 2021 fellowship. We hope to open applications for the next cohort in January 2022.

For further information or questions, please contact the Creative Programs Manager Bethany Wearden ([email protected]).

The Define American Creative Fellowship is made possible through a grant from the Kresge Foundation.

2021 Define American Creative Fellows

Ash Goh Hua headshot

Ash Goh Hua

Filmmaker, New York, NY

Ash Goh Hua is a filmmaker and cultural worker from Singapore, based in New York. She creates documentary and experimental based work informed by the politics of abolition and autonomy; their filmmaking practice imagines future acts of collective liberation. Ash is a Jacob Burns Creative Culture Fellow, a NeXtDoc Fellow, a Points North Institute North Star Fellow, and a Common Notions collective member. (Any pronouns.)


Charlotte Abotsi

Writer and filmmaker, Providence, RI

Charlotte Abotsi is an interdisciplinary writer, educator, and filmmaker who lives in Providence, Rhode Island. As a spoken word poet, she has competed in several international slams, placing in the top 20 poets at the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam, and winning the 2017 Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam competition. Her poems have been written about in The Huffington Post and As a filmmaker, Charlotte has focused on documentary film, debuting her experimental short documentary Process at the 2018 Ocean State Film Festival. She is a 2014 Pink Door fellow, a 2019 Poetry Foundation Incubator fellow, a 2020 Tin House Writer’s Workshop Fellow, a 2020 DreamYard Radical Poetry Consortium Fellow, and a 2021 AIR Serenbe Focus Fellow. Her work seeks to discuss and disrupt the complexities of Black womanhood by bringing to Black immigrant stories to the forefront. (She/her.)

Instagram / Twitter / Website

Daveed Baptiste

Designer and photographer, New York, NY

Daveed is a multidisciplinary maker working in fashion design, photography, and textiles. His migration from Haiti to America inspires most of his work. As an immigrant and queer person, his work exaimes the multidimensional identities of the Caribbean diaspora living in the United States. Through collaborative projects and various mediums, his work aims to decolonize notions of race, gender, and class within the Haitian community and greater Caribbean diaspora. He is a recent Parsons graduate, with a BFA in Fashion Design. His photographs have been published in The New Yorker, American Vogue, and has exhibited at Red Hook Labs and Aperture. (He/him.)

Instagram / Website

féi hernandez

Writer, Los Angeles, CA

féi hernandez (b.1993 Chihuahua, México) was raised in Inglewood, CA. They are a trans non-binary visual artist, writer, and healer.

féi is the author of Hood Criatura, published by Sundress Publications, 2020. Their writing has been featured in Poetry, Oxford Review of Books, Frontier, NPR’s Code Switch, Immigrant Report, Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity (Columbia University Press, 2019), Hayden’s Ferry Review Issue 64, BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT, and PANK Magazine among others.

féi is a certified Reiki and Akashic Records practitioner who utilizes a decolonial approach to celestial ancestral energetic healing. They collect Pokémon plushies. féi is the Board President of Gender Justice Los Angeles and is a Co-Founder of the ING Fellowship. (They/them.)

Instagram / Twitter / Website

Kenia R. Guillen

Filmmaker, New York, NY

Kenia R. Guillen (b. 1994, El Salvador) is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist based in New York. She was born in Los Achiotes, a rural town of Chalatenango, where she was raised before migrating to Long Island, New York. Her cinematic practice is in conversation with processes for personal integration, using narrative to acknowledge intergenerational trauma. Inspired by myths and legends, she’s interested in the power of personal memory as archive, how to write rural life and peoples into cinematic memory, and how to honor the mystical and supernatural as reality.

A 2019 Open Society Fellow, her work has been exhibited in Tragame Luz Festival, Galería de La Raza, El Museo de Los Sures, Open Society Foundations, Icaro Film Festival, and by QKED Media and NYU APA Institute. Guillen is also a co-founder and producer at Tierra Narrative, a Central American multi-media production house, creating spaces for transnational conversations and collaborations between the Central American diaspora and the homelands. (She/her.)

Instagram / Website

Yao Xiao

Cartoonist and illustrator, New York, NY

Yao Xiao is a cartoonist and illustrator living in New York. Yao was born in China and emigrated to the United States in 2006. After graduation with a degree in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts, Yao documented her experiences as a queer immigrant in and developed a series of comics incorporating illustration and writing. As an illustrator, her work has been featured in TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, and the Wall Street Journal among others. Yao has shown her work at galleries in New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Her debut graphic novel, Everything Is Beautiful, And I’m Not Afraid was published by Andrews McMeel in 2020. Her debut children’s book How To Solve A Problem, written by Ashima Shiraishi, was published by Penguin Random House. Her work has been nominated for the Ignatz Award and recognized by the Society of Illustrators. (She/her.)

Instagram / Twitter / Website

2020 Define American Artist Fellows

2019 Define American Artist Fellows