Matthew Borden, MPP '16, is a native of nowhere in particular. He has carried “home” with him from the San Francisco Bay Area to Durham, from Mexico to Borneo and several scattered places in between. His sketchpad travels with him, and in its pages you'll find windows into daily life in Singapore, Jakarta and cities all over the world.
"[Sketching] encourages me to go outside and capture all the interesting people, shapes, and colors that make up my studio for the day."
Now based in Indonesia—a transcontinental country made up of Java, Sumatra, Bali, most of Borneo, half of New Guinea, and more or less 17,000 other islands scattered across Southeast Asia—Borden works at a poverty action lab called J-PAL. His goal is to translate scientific research into effective policies that will reduce the burden of poverty in the region.
To better understand the city where he lives and works, Borden captures his observations through art: watercolor paintings or drawings of town squares or famous landmarks.