This year continues to be the year of Questlove. Coming off of some major wins including an Oscar and Grammy award for his Summer of Soul documentary, the Philadelphia native is giving back to the city of Brotherly Love.
Born, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the multifaceted creative has partnered with the University of the Arts in Philadelphia to launch a scholarship fund for an all-new Ph.D. program. The Balvenie Fellowship is “a fully funded three-year program in the Ph.D. program of Creativity that begins in June of 2022.”
It all began when the program director, Dr. Jonathan Fineberg purchased a home from Shawn Gee who just so happens to be Questlove’s manager. Together they will now spearhead the creative futures of people in Philly starting with the first recipient of the program, James Brandon Lewis.
Lewis,who is an acclaimed saxophonist, composer, and writer is based in Brooklyn.
“We’re honored to be granting this scholarship to James Brandon Lewis, who is already a well-established and incredible saxophonist,” said Questlove. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he achieves while honing his craft in my hometown of Philadelphia, and the impact he will have on the music community.”
Dr. Fineberg has been a fan of Questlove for quite sometime and even notes assigning his book, “Creative Quest” to his students at the University of the Arts.
“‘Creative Quest’ is one of the most interesting books about creativity that I’ve ever read,” he shared. “He’s so honest and smart about what he is doing. I thought my students really needed to read this.”
With a low-residency, dissertation-only course of study, the Ph.D. program stands apart from other programs which generally take an average of six to seven years to complete. The program is centered around exploring the arts, humanities, science, and social sciences.
Besides a summer immersion for the duration of two weeks, The Balvenie Fellowship is fully remote.