writer, artist, scholar
Gretchen Ernster Henderson writes across environmental arts, cultural histories, and integrated sciences through cross-pollinating creative and critical practices. The author of five books across genres, opera libretti and art media, her writings have been reviewed in The New Yorker, Guardian, TLS, and Literary Review, with interviews on NPR and BBC Radio. Her commitments have included being a 2020-22 Faculty Fellow at the Humanities Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, Associate Director for Research at the Harry Ransom Center, Co-Director of an NEH Institute on Museums: Humanities in the Public Sphere at Georgetown University, Annie Clark Tanner Fellow in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah, Distinguished Speaker in Art History at Rutgers University, Hodson Trust-JCB Fellow in Creative Arts at Brown University, and Visiting Artist in Music at MIT’s Center for Art, Science, and Technology. She has taught widely, and her work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and artist residencies, including the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing & Literature in Switzerland. Recent awards include a 2022 WISC Fellowship from the Women's International Studies Center, 2023 Aldo & Estella Leopold Writing Residency in New Mexico, and a Lucas Artists Program Fellowship at Montalvo Arts (2023-2026). Born and raised in California, she teaches at UT-Austin and at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia. Gretchen's book on Life in the Tar Seeps: A Spiraling Ecology from a Dying Sea (released in 2023) is just starting to seep into Dear Body of Water: a poetic water-harvesting project inviting people to write postcard-sized love letters to bodies of water to grow a chorus of care for watersheds across the globe.