Sharon Yavo Ayalon, a doctoral student at the Technion Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, has won first place in the President’s Scholarship
“The journey of a researcher is very personal and lonely. Most of the time we do and write things that we know that no one will read, and this moment of winning the President’s Scholarship is an extremely rare moment of applause, not only in the physical sense of the word but mainly in the knowledge that we have partners: that a very respectable group has read, understood and realized that what we do is important and relevant and valuable.”
These statements were made by Sharon Yavo Ayalon, a doctoral student at the Technion Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, at the President’s Scholarship award ceremony on February 13. This year, nine doctoral candidates – eight women and one man – received the President’s Scholarship awards. The title was the New Israeli Order: the Boundaries of Fraternity and Equality.
Yavo Ayalon, who received first prize in the sum of NIS 150,000, was born and raised on Kibbutz Hulata in the Hula Valley. She came to Haifa to attend the Technion and her three children were born here. Today, after completing her BSc and MSc at the Technion Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, she is working on her doctorate at the Faculty. In addition to her studies, she teaches Basic Design at the Faculty.
She began her undergraduate studies in 1996, after which she spent six years working at an architecture firm, “but my longing for academia brought me back to graduate school, during which I served as curator of the PeKA Gallery (Paul Konrad Hoenich Center for Art, Science and Technology) at the Faculty.” The subject of her MSc, under the guidance of Professor Nurit Lissovsky and Professor Michael Levin, was land art in Israel: a discussion of three local artists who strive in their work for the construction and understanding of the local Israeli identity and create art as a way to connect with the place.
In March 2015, loyal to the Technion Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Yavo Ayalon began her doctoral studies in town planning, under the guidance of Associate Professor Tal Alon-Mozes and Dr. Meirav Aharon Guttman. Topic: Presentation of Urbanism – the Relationship between Art, Space and the Public. “I came to architecture from art – first painting and sculpting and then performance art – and my academic work has always stemmed from the desire to link these worlds.”
Her case study in her doctoral thesis is the city of Acre. “My question is whether and how theater art, which plays a central role in Acre’s cultural activity, affects the intra-urban borders. Cities today are highly segregated and fragmented – each city is a mosaic of communities, and this is clearly evident, of course, in Acre, where there are diverse populations: Jews, Arabs, immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and others. In the main, I examine the soft borders, i.e. borders that are not made of fences and walls, but rather by people’s decisions – each community chooses the geographic area where it will not only live but also consume culture, raise its children and so on. My method combines spatial architectural research with social research. Therefore, in Acre, beyond archival research and architectural analyses of space, I carry out ethnographic field work. And since the relevant art is theater, as part of my participant observation I am studying drama.”
She submitted the President’s Pcholarship forms at the last minute and without high expectations, but it was clear to her that her research work on boundaries was very relevant to the theme of the scholarships this year – the boundaries of fraternity and equality. “I would like to tell doctoral students of both sexes that it’s worth their while to apply for grants and scholarships, because there are always pleasant surprises. For me this is a significant scholarship, which will help me devote my time to my doctoral research.”
The Israel President’s Scholarships for Scientific Excellence and Innovation are intended to “encourage quality academic research, foster groundbreaking scientific endeavors and promote scientific excellence and innovation in Israel.” The scholarships are funded through a special allocation of monies from the Estates Committee at the Ministry of Justice.