December 3, 2013 by: Natalie Fleming
This month, Joshua Unikel (MFA ’14) will take a brief hiatus from his studio in the CFA to become a research fellow at The Strong National Museum of Play.
Unikel’s research fellowship will support his current writing project, a work of creative nonfiction about Sesame Street, Muppets, and American childhood.
“It’s not a history but a personal account, an absurd odyssey I’m on,” Unikel explained. “It’s subjective, personal but sometimes more ruminative, more meditative.”
During his fellowship, Unikel will focus his research on Elmo as a character, on the play-objects related to Sesame Street, and on American toys with the iconic status held by Tickle Me Elmo and a select group of others.
“The Strong Research Fellowships provide financial support for scholarly play research conducted on site at The Strong in Rochester, New York, home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of dolls, toys, games, electronic games, and play-related records, publications, and historical archives,” the museum’s website explains.
Unikel is an MFA candidate and Dean’s Fellow in the Department of Art. He also has an MFA in creative writing from The University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. He currently serves as the assistant editor of the Seneca Review. His writing has appeared recently in Sonora Review, [PANK], Drunken Boat, The Normal School, TriQuarterly Online, and Booth.