2024-25 Fulbright: Laura Cobb

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2024-25 Fulbright: Laura Cobb

Color portrait of Laura Cobb on a red campus background
Laura Cobb

Laura Cobb, who earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in May 2023, has received a 2024-25 Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to work on a photography project in Germany.

An Overland Park, Kansas, native, Cobb currently lives in Lincoln. In her work, Cobb combines various narratives as she explores humanity’s connections to one another and the land. Her Fulbright photography project, “Traces: An Investigation of Heritage, Time and Memory as the Child of Donor Conception,” will be conducted under the mentorship of Professor Heidi Specker at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Germany.

“Throughout history, storytelling has played a strong role in sharing language, culture and heritage,” Cobb said. “As a donor-conceived person, I grew up without the familial tales of my biological father. For my Fulbright fellowship, I hope to explore my paternal heritage as a German Ashkenazi Jew whose family fled pre-World War II persecution.”

After researching the history and construction of book art, Cobb plans to create a series of handmade books that explore heritage, place, time and memory.

“As I search for traces of my biological father’s family, I will question what it means to be Jewish,” she said. “By returning to my ancestral home, I hope to remember the past and reimagine lost futures. Through the combination of portraits, landscape imagery, still-life photography and text, I will weave together a narrative of the past and present.”

While in Germany, Cobb plans to participate in art events and festivals and attend gallery openings.

“This will allow me to connect with the German people and create opportunities to observe, learn and interact with local artists as we celebrate their work and ideas,” she said.

Cobb has served as a graduate fellow with the Center for Great Plains Studies at Nebraska and has been an artist in residence at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming; Jentel Artist Residency in Banner, Wyoming; and Brush Creek Foundation in Saratoga, Wyoming. Last May, she was one of five recipients nationally of an Innovations in Imaging student award from the Society of Photographic Education.

Cobb has also given artist talks for the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City; the Volland Foundation gallery in Alma, Kansas; the Bard College Student-Run Darkroom in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; and the Society of Photographic Education. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

“After I return from Germany, I plan to share what I have learned and how I have grown as an artist,” she said. “Through public talks, workshops and art exhibitions, I will highlight my experience and encourage others to pursue their dreams.”

The Fulbright program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, is supported by an annual appropriation made by Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as partner countries around the world. Fulbright recipients are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

At Nebraska, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships advises and nominates undergraduate candidates for 30 supported scholarships and fellowships. To learn more, students and campus community members should contact Courtney Santos, director of undergraduate research and fellowships, at courtney.santos@unl.edu.

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