First Place: Ana Cristina Vallejo



My name is Ana and I am a love addict. All my life, I have been consumed by anxiety and trapped in a loop of rejecting the partners who want me and obsessing over the ones who don’t.

In march 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic severely hit NY and I was suddenly trapped in my apartment with myself. This ignited a process of looking inward and creating a visual language to cope with my anxiety and pain.

I exhaustively researched neuro scientific and psychological journals to understand connections between trauma, emotion regulation, addictions and attachment styles and how these factors affect our intimacy. https://readymag.com/u632244703/science/

Humans need meaningful social bonds in order to survive. Some of us developed coping mechanisms where we learned to suppress our emotional needs (avoidant) or over activate them (anxious). Anxious and avoidant individuals attract and clash at the same time, enhancing they’re insecurities when conflict arises.

In 2020 I launched a survey where I asked people to describe how their emotions around romantic love felt. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RusfAcMVsv4t3uMYJZ5LxRslHyY-rZrU7KaNhRcV2c8/edit

I am currently collaborating with a data scientist and together we are designing an anonymous survey. I want to map the data collected into an interactive archive of anecdotes and experiences around romantic intimate relationships. The data will be mapped out according to the attachment styles assessment that we do in the survey. The survey will provide an anonymous and safe space of expression for the participant. Likewise, it will bring insight to the public by showing our collective patterns but also our intricate similarities and differences.

Through this interdisciplinary scrutinization of relationships, Neuromantic delves into relationships to ultimately highlight why healthy bonds are essential for our wellbeing.


Cosima Amelang

Senior Producer, Mobile Storytelling, National Geographic Partners

As I reviewed the submissions for the CENTER Excellence in Multimedia Storytelling Award, I was struck by the many innovative ways artists are using multimedia to put us in conversation with the past. This year’s projects draw on a wide range of techniques—from photopolymer gravures to A.I. renderings, gelatin emulsion on fabric to video installations—as they explore layers of experience across time and geographies. Used with intention, these tools help artists knit stories together from fragments, capturing elusive memories and interrogating urgent social issues.

This year’s winner, Ana Cristina Vallejo, shared work that is intensely personal but resonates on a much larger scale. Her project, Neuromantic, is an investigation into the need for meaningful human connection in the wake of trauma. At a time of isolation during quarantine, Vallejo turned inward to examine addiction and anxieties in intimate relationships. Her vibrant photo collages question the boundary between the self and others, stirring up the human impulse to touch at the same time as they communicate distance. The work also takes the shape of a web experience, combining stills with annotated excerpts from academic journals to create a visual diary of her research. And as her project continues to evolve, Vallejo looks to the web as a space for building relationships and interacting with her audience. She envisions an interactive archive of anecdotes collected from public surveys, making the experience as much of a two-way exchange as a meticulous self-analysis.