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Joel Nichols artwork

Art installation by Joel Nichols.

Celebrating UM’s 100th Rhodes Scholar

November 23, 2023 — 

UM School of Art alum Joel Nichols (he/they) is one of eleven exceptional students who have just been announced as the 2024 Rhodes Scholars for Canada; Joel is UM’s 100th Rhodes Scholar and the first from the School of Art. The University of Manitoba has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other university in western Canada. Considered one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world, the Rhodes Scholarship provides funding for post-graduate studies at the University of Oxford in England.

Joel Nichols

Joel Nichols.

Nichols holds a fine arts undergraduate degree with honours from the University of Manitoba. Born in England and raised in Winnipeg, and of biracial Jamaican descent, he is an interdisciplinary artist who connects various themes within his work, many stemming back to his roots. Their work tackles topics pertaining to identity, queer theory, bodily autonomy and the soul, and his practice incorporates ceramics, drawing, painting and printmaking.

During his undergrad he volunteered with a wide range of organizations and facilitated artist talks discussing subjects such as decolonization and marketing. They will continue to create work that he hopes humanizes and celebrates our differences and hopes to deepen his understanding of art history, intending to pursue an MFA and an Master of Studies in History of Art and Visual Culture at Oxford.

Nichols believes that artwork can act as a bridge between peoples as it incites conversation and empathy. Earlier this year, his work was awarded the 2023 BFA Honours Graduating Exhibition People’s Choice Award at UM School of Art. His artwork was described this way: “Captivating audiences with their delicate and immersive ceramic installations alongside bold and towering oil paintings, we are thrilled to announce that the incredibly talented BFA Honours Grad has been voted in for the annual award and eagerly anticipate the work they will create in the years to come.”

The Rhodes Scholarship has launched the careers of hundreds of prominent Canadians in fields as diverse as medicine, law, academia and politics. The awards are granted on a regional basis, with one winner from B.C, three from the Prairies, two from each of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, and one from Newfoundland. The Rhodes selection process aims to choose young people with proven academic excellence who also show exceptional character, leadership, the energy to use their talents to the full and a commitment to solving humanity’s challenges. The selection process includes a rigorous review prior to an interview with a selection committee composed of subject matter experts and leaders in the community.

Read the Rhodes Scholarships for Canada – 2024 press release.


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