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Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Announces Winners of 'Define Open Space'

ITHACA, NY -- Canadian scholar and artist Maria-Carolina Cambre won first place honors in “Define Open Space,” one of three social media contests sponsored by Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environment Film Festival (FLEFF). The judging panel of three prominent international experts also named entries by Jing Ting Kwong (Singapore), Kelly McKenna (USA) and Jasmine Ku Si Mun (Singapore) for honorable mention.

A component of FLEFF 2009–10’s yearlong rollout of blogs, screenings and online user-generated events, “Define Open Space” offered participants from around the globe the opportunity to explore open space, FLEFF’s 2009–10 program stream. Contestants were invited to submit one image and one sentence in order to expand the ways open space is seen and described. All winners received cash prizes.

Cambre’s winning entry was entitled “Beginnings.” Currently on faculty in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta, she is working on the final chapters of a dissertation on the global circulation of the image of Che Guevara and the ways this image is taken up and mobilized. Her scholarly interests include art practice as research, countercultural studies and coloniality of power and indigenous studies.

“As an emerging artist and scholar, I hope to present my dissertation as a conceptual and, at the same time, visual collage, since the policing of ‘borders’ between what is called art and what is known as research concern me greatly.”

“Beginnings” can be viewed at

The honorable mention awardees are:

  • Jing Ting Kwong for “Singapore Flyer.” A lifelong resident of Singapore, she is a second-year student in the Integrated Events and Project Management diploma at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at Singapore Polytechnic. “Singapore Flyer” can be viewed at
  • Kelly McKenna for “Freedom Regulated.” Currently a junior culture and communication major in the Ithaca College Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies, she plans to study in Amsterdam next semester. McKenna is interested in the use of art and media as a means to challenge cultural stereotypes. “Freedom Regulated” can be viewed at
  • Jasmine Ku Si Mun for “Little Minds, Big Creation.” A second-year student in the Diploma in Integrated Events and Project Management at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE) at Singapore Polytechnic, she cites photography as her passion and major interest. “Little Minds, Big Creation” can be viewed at

The judges for “Define Open Space” were novelist Sorayya Khan (USA), writer and activist Tim McCaskell (Canada), and poet and media theorist Kole Ade-Odutola (Nigeria).

Author of the novels “Noor” and her new “Five Queen’s Road,” Khan has published in such literary journals as “The Kenyon Review,” “North American Review” and “Asian American Pacific Journal.”

McCaskell is the author of “Race to Equity: Disrupting Educational Inequality Workshop,” an exploration of the experiments, successes and mistakes in the Toronto Board of Education’s quest to provide truly equitable education for a diverse student body.

A member of the Association of Nigerian Authors and a founding member of the Coalition of Nigerian Artists, Ade-Odutola has published several volumes of poetry and has coordinated the film forum for the Goethe Institute in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.

For more information on “Define Open Space” and FLEFF 2009–10, visit /fleff/. Major funding for FLEFF Open Space 2009–10 has been provided by Ithaca College’s Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies and the Park Foundation.

Launched in 1997, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival was an outreach project from the Center for the Environment at Cornell University. In 2005, the festival moved permanently to Ithaca College, where it is housed in the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies as a program to link intellectual inquiry and debate to larger global issues.