PNCA MA in Critical Studies Candidate Awarded Fulbright

May 01, 2019


May 1, 2019

Contact: Lisa Radon,

Portland, OR— May 1, 2019—Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is thrilled to announce that Ellena Basada, currently a candidate in the MA in Critical Studies program, has been awarded a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship to teach and conduct research in Germany.

The Fulbright Program is devoted to increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries as the world's largest international educational exchange program. Fulbright alumni are a distinguished group, including 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 72 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

Basada will be teaching English in an urban school with a large immigrant and refugee population.

“Although I am critical of globalized language, I understand that English in Berlin is a lingua franca,” says Basada. “Teaching these students English is important for boosting their confidence and potential for employment. I am excited to implement what I have learned about decolonized pedagogy in the Critical Studies program.”

In addition, Basada will be undertaking a research project on club culture in Berlin, identifying the space of the club as a commons, where differences dissolve, and people who are generally separated in their daily lives can come together and have a very similar experience. “Clubbing formed after the fall of the Berlin Wall as a space where Germans from East and West could gather and also forget,” says Basada. “This is happening again, but this time instead of East/West Berliners, with native Germans and the huge and still growing immigrant/refugee population.”

“Throughout her time in the Critical Studies program, Ellena has been thoughtful, curious- and generous with her peers,” says Dr. Shawna Lipton, Chair of PNCA’s MA in Critical Studies. The MA in Critical Studies program is one of eight programs in the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies at PNCA. The program takes an expansive view of critical theory to include critical race theory, feminist theory, post-colonial theory, queer theory, and other emancipatory projects.

“Ellena is passionate about critical theory and applies a sophisticated intellectual framework to the world around her. I have been fortunate to watch Ellena grow as a writer and as a teacher throughout her time at PNCA. I could not be more excited that Ellena will be bringing her talents and gifts as a researcher and educator to the Fulbright Program, and I am sure she will make the most of this intercultural opportunity.”

At PNCA, Basada is the founding editor-in-chief of Discursive Impulse, an online platform for critical art and writing. She received her BA in English Literature from Pomona College in 2016.

“I’m delighted to welcome Ellena to the Fulbright family,” says Kate Copeland, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs at PNCA as well as PNCA’s Fulbright Program Advisor. Copeland herself was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant in 2013 to teach and pursue a creative project in Baroda, India. “I know firsthand that the experience is transformative. As much as Ellena will bring to these students, I know she will also gain experience that will be life-changing.”

About Pacific Northwest College of Art
Pacific Northwest College of Art is the only college of art and design in the heart of Portland, Oregon. Founded in 1909 as the Museum Art School in Portland, PNCA offers 11 art and design Bachelor of Fine Art programs, eight graduate programs including Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs within the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, a Post-Baccalaureate program, and Community Education courses for artists and designers of all ages. More information is available at