Liliya Yakymechko Named Inaugural CARe Research Scholar

Authored by: 
GTU Communications

BERKELEY, CA – September 2, 2021 – The Center for the Arts & Religion (CARe) at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is delighted to announce its first CARe Research Scholar, Liliya Yakymechko. The CARe Research Scholarship offers $10,000 in tuition funds per year for two consecutive years to a PhD student focusing on the visual and material cultures of religion and/or a project at the intersection of religion and literature.

Originally from Ukraine, Liliya conducted doctoral work in Art History at Lviv National Academy of Arts, Ukraine, focusing on Ukrainian folk art of the twentieth century. She holds a Master of Arts in Interior Design, and her professional experience is primarily in graphic and interior design. Liliya moved to California nine years ago, where she earned her most recent master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University, with a concentration on modern art history, theory, and criticism. This work gave Liliya the opportunity to refine her professional practice in modern and contemporary art history. 

“It is an honor for me to become a CARe Research Scholar and to begin my PhD program at the GTU this fall,” writes Liliya Yakymechko.

“It is a true blessing for me to do my scholarly work in such prolific ground, among the GTU’s prominent leaders in theological and religious education. I am also joyful about my connection to the Center for the Arts & Religion, to connect relevant questions that originated in art and culture with religious wisdom.”

Liliya’s research interests are in abstract art, along with the tradition of landscape painting and more complex, multidisciplinary concepts of the landscape. In her research at the GTU, Liliya seeks to incorporate an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on philosophy, analytical psychology, cultural studies, and anthropology influenced by environmental and ecological studies. She recognizes the contradictions and ambiguities of modern and contemporary works of art as being in an implicit way connected with the spheres of spirituality, religion, and sacredness, just as much as they belie social, cultural, political, and environmental agendas. 

“Liliya’s research interests in landscape, environment, and psychology fit well within the expertise of our Art and Religion faculty,” said CARe Director and Interim Dean Dr. Elizabeth S. Peña. “We are very much looking forward to welcoming Liliya to the GTU this fall.”

The CARe Research Scholarship is open to admitted PhD students at the GTU who demonstrate academic excellence, robust interdisciplinarity, and the ability to formulate and express ideas in a lucid and organized way. Applications for next year’s CARe Research Scholarship are due by January 5, 2022. More information can be found at


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