Meet the 2017 MacArthur Fellows

"From transforming conditions for low-wage workers to identifying internet security vulnerabilities, from celebrating the African American string band tradition to designing resilient urban habitats, these new MacArthur Fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all."

—Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director, MacArthur Fellows Program

  • Profile portrait of Njideka Akunyili Crosby

    Njideka Akunyili Crosby


    Visualizing the complexities of globalization and transnational identity in works that layer paint, photographic imagery, prints, and collage elements.

  • Profile portrait of Sunil Amrith

    Sunil Amrith


    Illustrating the role of centuries of transnational migration in the present-day social and cultural dynamics of South and Southeast Asia.

  • Profile portrait of Greg Asbed

    Greg Asbed

    Human Rights Strategist

    Transforming conditions for low-wage workers with a visionary model of worker-driven social responsibility.

  • Profile portrait of Annie Baker

    Annie Baker


    Mining the minutiae of how we speak, act, and relate to one another and the absurdity and tragedy that result from the limitations of language.

  • Profile portrait of Regina Barzilay

    Regina Barzilay

    Computer Scientist

    Developing machine learning methods that enable computers to process and analyze vast amounts of human language data.

  • Profile portrait of Dawoud Bey

    Dawoud Bey

    Photographer and Educator

    Using an expansive approach to photography that creates new spaces of engagement within cultural institutions, making them more meaningful to and representative of the communities in which they are situated.

  • Profile portrait of Emmanuel Candès

    Emmanuel Candès

    Mathematician and Statistician

    Exploring the limits of signal recovery and matrix completion from incomplete data sets with implications for high-impact applications in multiple fields.

  • Profile portrait of Jason De León

    Jason De León


    Combining ethnographic, forensic, and archaeological evidence to bring to light the human consequences of immigration policy at the U.S.–Mexico border.

  • Profile portrait of Rhiannon Giddens

    Rhiannon Giddens

    Singer, Instrumentalist, and Songwriter

    Reclaiming African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present.

  • Profile portrait of Nikole Hannah-Jones

    Nikole Hannah-Jones


    Chronicling the persistence of racial segregation in American society, particularly in education, and reshaping national conversations around education reform.

  • Profile portrait of Cristina Jiménez Moreta

    Cristina Jiménez Moreta

    Social Justice Organizer

    Changing public perceptions of immigrant youth and playing a critical role in shaping the debate around immigration policy.

  • Profile portrait of Taylor Mac

    Taylor Mac

    Theater Artist

    Engaging audiences as active participants in works that dramatize the power of theater as a space for building community.

  • Profile portrait of Rami Nashashibi

    Rami Nashashibi

    Community Leader

    Confronting the challenges of poverty and disinvestment in urban communities through a Muslim-led civic engagement effort that bridges race, class, and religion.

  • Profile portrait of Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Fiction Writer and Cultural Critic

    Challenging popular depictions of the Vietnam War and exploring the myriad ways that war lives on for those it has displaced.

  • Profile portrait of Kate Orff

    Kate Orff

    Landscape Architect

    Designing adaptive and resilient urban habitats and encouraging residents to be active stewards of the ecological systems underlying our built environment.

  • Profile portrait of Trevor Paglen

    Trevor Paglen

    Artist and Geographer

    Documenting the hidden operations of covert government projects and examining the ways that human rights are threatened in an era of mass surveillance.

  • Profile portrait of Betsy Levy Paluck

    Betsy Levy Paluck


    Unraveling how social networks and norms influence our interactions with one another and identifying interventions that can change destructive behavior.

  • Profile portrait of Derek Peterson

    Derek Peterson


    Reshaping our understanding of African colonialism and nationalism in studies that foreground East African intellectual production.

  • Profile portrait of Damon Rich

    Damon Rich

    Designer and Urban Planner

    Creating vivid and witty strategies to design and build places that are more democratic and accountable to their residents.

  • Profile portrait of Stefan Savage

    Stefan Savage

    Computer Scientist

    Identifying and addressing the technological, economic, and social vulnerabilities underlying internet security challenges and cybercrime.

  • Profile portrait of Yuval Sharon

    Yuval Sharon

    Opera Director / Producer

    Expanding how opera is performed and experienced through immersive, multisensory, and mobile productions that are infusing a new vitality into the genre.

  • Profile portrait of Tyshawn Sorey

    Tyshawn Sorey

    Composer and Musician

    Assimilating and transforming ideas from a broad spectrum of musical idioms and defying distinctions between genres, composition, and improvisation in a singular expression of contemporary music.

  • Profile portrait of Gabriel Victora

    Gabriel Victora


    Investigating acquired, or adaptive, immunity and the mechanisms by which organisms’ antibody-based responses to infection are fine-tuned.

  • Profile portrait of Jesmyn Ward

    Jesmyn Ward

    Fiction Writer

    Exploring the enduring bonds of community and familial love among poor African Americans of the rural South against a landscape of circumscribed possibilities and lost potential.

Artists Selected for Fellows 40th Anniversary Exhibition thumbnail

Artists Selected for Fellows 40th Anniversary Exhibition

The Smart Museum of Art has announced 28 MacArthur Fellow artists who will take part in Toward Common Cause, an exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows program.
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