April 20, 2021

Kailah Johnson ’23, of Towson, Maryland, has been selected to participate in the Fulbright Summer Institute, one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide.

Johnson, a creative writing major with a minor in publishing and editing, was selected from a strong applicant pool to study through the Fulbright University of Bristol Summer Institute, England.

Bristol played a major role in the transatlantic slave-trade and colonialism. The Fulbright University of Bristol Summer Institute explores how movements for social justice around the world, and more specifically in Bristol, have shaped cultures, with a focus on how racial justice and the legacy of slavery have impacted the world. Coursework surrounds the intersection of arts, activism and social justice, and includes classes on racial injustice, health and wellness, global feminism, colonialism and more.

“I’ve always gravitated toward the subjects of literature, music, poetry and visual arts, and the work I’ve created has always been in relation to social issues,” Johnson said. “In the past, I’ve spoken at protests, created sculptures, written poetry, all on subjects like gun violence, sustainability and race. When I found a program that is centered on the intersection of arts and activism, I knew I had to apply because it’s everything I’ve ever been interested in.”

The three-week cultural and academic program will be held virtually this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Storytelling is embedded in the foundation of our lives and it’s such a powerful vessel to advocate for change,” Johnson said. “I’m so excited to learn more about the topics that really interest me like feminism, race and wellness, and bring them into my work.”

The US-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bilateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field, at any accredited U.S. or U.K. university. The commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by Sen. J. William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange.