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Lori Barcliff Baptista, Ph.D., Director, African-American Cultural Center
Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Theatre & Music
Faculty Affiliate, Program in Museum and Exhibition Studies
An interdisciplinary scholar/artist, Dr. Baptista integrates arts, humanities and social science frameworks, practices and perspectives to examine cultural representations and their impact on marginalized communities. Her scholarly work and research interests reflect a long-standing preoccupation with how members of diverse communities transmit social knowledge and a sense of identity through seemingly mundane objects, materials and expressive formats. She brings to bear more than 18 years of experience researching, developing, and participating in cultural programs and initiatives that convene artists, civic leaders, students, faculty and staff, cultural institutions, and grassroots organizations to address pressing social concerns. Critical of the “heroes and holidays” approach towards diversity, she is especially interested in creative practices that individuals engage in to honor, validate and convey their sense of connectedness to multiple places or traditions, and has published a number of articles, working papers and book reviews on these topics. Dr. Baptista earned a Ph.D. in performance studies from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rutgers University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches film, literature, ethnography, museum studies and performance-based courses.
Kay McCrimon, Assistant Director-Museum Exhibits Curator
Ms. McCrimon comes to the Center from the DuSable Museum of African-American History where she created public programs and designed educational materials and publications for museum visitors. Ms. McCrimon also has extensive experience as a museum researcher/historian. Kay is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio/Television and a Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Arts. In addition, she is a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Marketing.
Brenda Pinkett-Little, Assistant Program Director
Ms. Little obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance from Roosevelt University. Through her long-standing connections with various community organizations, Brenda works to create programs that lead in community-building. She does so by establishing new connections, while still cultivating and enhancing existing community partnerships through various program initiatives.
Mario LaMothe is a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Illinois – Chicago’s African-American Cultural Center. He was a Postdoctoral Associate in Interdisciplinary Sexuality Studies at Duke University’s Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, and received a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Mario’s research interests focus on theories of Caribbean performance traditions and African diaspora health cultures. His book project, Giving Bodies: Dance, Memory, and Imagined Identities in Haiti, investigates what is at stake when performing and visual artists reframe Haiti’s embodied traditions to devise new images that counter internal and foreign negative representations of Haitians. Mario is also a performing artist, arts producer, curator, and LGBTQI activist.
Sandra Munoz, Student Marketing Assistant
Sandra is an undergraduate student currently enrolled in the University of Illinois Chicago. Ms. Munoz obtained her Associates degree in Biological Science at Prairie State College and will complete her undergraduate studies here at UIC in the spring of 2017. As a student marketing assistant here at the African American Cultural Center, Sandra aides in reaching the public through social media and also assists in general office work.
Tania Sosa, Student Marketing Assistant
Tania is an undergraduate student currently studying at the University of Illinois of Chicago. She is currently studying Psychology, with a minor in Spanish and she is Pre-Physician’s Assistant. Tania hopes to complete her undergraduate studies in the spring of 2017. As a student marketing assistant here at the African American Cultural Center, Tania aides in reaching the public through social media and also assists in general office work.