"From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts."
—John Palfrey, President
2019 MacArthur Fellows
Employing pragmatist methods to examine the ways that various institutions, policies, and social practices serve to promote or hinder conditions of democratic equality
Expanding access to survivor-centered restorative justice strategies that interrupt the criminalization of people of color and break cycles of recidivism and violence.
Inspiring creative engagement through original graphic works and a teaching practice centered on the role of image making in communication.
Harnessing the power of art to raise awareness of social concerns through a practice that defies categorization.
Addressing the scourge of cyber harassment by raising awareness of the toll it takes on victims and proposing reforms to combat the most extreme forms of online abuse.
Developing alternative approaches to policing and law enforcement practices to improve outcomes for those struggling with substance use disorder and mental illness.
Pioneering a new genre of theater that dramatizes the ways in which nonhuman intelligence is profoundly changing the nature of work, culture, and social relationships.
Furthering current understanding of sea level dynamics by reconstructing the extent and rate of sea level rise in the ancient past.
Melding indigenous North American materials and forms with those of Western contemporary art to create a new hybrid visual vocabulary and prompting a shift in how Native American art is perceived and historicized.
Experimenting at the intersection of jazz and rock with a signature sound on her instrument and an aesthetic that evolves and surprises with each new album and configuration of bandmates.
Tracing the afterlife of slavery in modern American life and rescuing from oblivion stories of sparsely documented lives that have been systematically excluded from historical archives.
Creating ecologically sustainable urban spaces that resonate with and enrich the lives of current residents while also honoring communal histories.
Integrating local cultural practices with field research to design conservation strategies that protect ecosystem biodiversity and the well-being of coastal communities.
Investigating the genetic mechanisms determining flowering and flower production and developing tools for breeding hardier, higher-yielding crops.
Challenging conventional notions of authorship in fiction, essays, and inventive hybrids of the two that pose profound questions about the various ways we piece together stories and document the lives of others.
Challenging long-held beliefs about the origins, ideology, and evolution of incarceration and immigrant detention practices in the United States.
Expanding the scope of contemporary dance in works that extend and subvert classical, modern, and postmodern traditions and make evident the physical realities of dancers’ performance.
Shedding light on how the writing practices of Renaissance scholars shaped foundational texts of modern Christianity, philosophy, and literature.
Revising our understanding of the dynamics and structure of Earth’s interior and developing models to better predict the geometry and sources of sea level change in the modern world and the geological past.
Integrating agriculture, education, and design in a resident-driven approach to community development and turning neglected urban neighborhoods into places of growth and vitality.
Using physical objects and contractual relations—such as items seized in civil forfeiture or furniture made by prison labor—to make visible the mechanisms through which systemic racism is perpetuated.
Investigating how stimuli in the physical world shape the function of neural circuits and are translated into innate and learned behaviors.
Combining computational models with behavioral experiments to shed light on human learning, reasoning, and perception, and exploring how to bring artificial intelligence closer to the capabilities of human thinking.
Revealing links between social environmental factors—such as social status and social integration—and genomic variation and how these connections impact health, well-being, and longevity.
Marrying folkloric traditions with linguistic experimentation in works that explore the effects of intergenerational trauma, the refugee experience, and the complexities of identity and desire with eloquence and clarity.
Bringing classical literature to new audiences in works that convey ancient texts’ relevance to our time and highlight the assumptions about social relations that underlie translation decisions.