Current Year Guests-in-Residence
The Unit One/Allen Hall Guest-in-Residence Program consists of a series of visiting guests who have a diverse range of professions and interests. Guests live in Allen Hall, interacting with residents and the public in a variety of programs, performances, workshops, and informal discussions. Guests typically give introductory presentations on the first evening of their residency and hold nightly events thereafter in Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana.
Francisco Ramirez: September 9–13FRANCISCO RAMIREZ is an award-winning sexuality educator, tech founder, and TV and radio host. He holds a masters of public health with a concentration in sexuality from Columbia University. He has worked at the United Nations since 2005 where he’s led trainings in multiple languages in more than ten countries. Ramirez serves as a producer and on-air host of content on MTV and NPR, and he recently released okayso, a smartphone app aimed at giving young people free access to sexperts anytime. He served as vice president of education & training at Planned Parenthood of New York City, where he oversaw a team of more than fifty educators. Since 2008, he has spent weekends in New York City parks providing free advice about sex and dating to passersby using nothing more than two chairs and signage for “Free Sex Advice”. ERIEL TCHEKWIE DERANGER is a Denè indigenous rights advocate, activist, and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) of Northern Alberta, Canada, downstream of Alberta’s Tar Sands. Deranger is the executive director of Indigenous Climate Action (ICA), Canada’s only indigenous-led climate justice organization. ICA supports indigenous peoples as agents of change and leaders to build a climate stable future. Deranger has worked for her First Nation community and has held positions with the Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club Canada, Taking It Global, the United Nations Indigenous Youth Caucus, and various youth projects. She appears in ELEMENTAL, the award-winning documentary film about three eco-justice activists including Rajendra Singh of India and Jay Harman of Australia.
MOLDOVER designs and builds his own custom MIDI controllers which he uses to compose and perform music. Respected as much for forging new instruments as he is for creating new music, Moldover has worked with renowned artists including Bassnectar, DJ Shadow, and Will-i-am, as well as leading music tech companies Native Instruments, Ableton, and Livid Instruments to realize new designs. Moldover has re-conceptualized what it means to play an album with the invention of Playable Packaging. Each physical copy of a Moldover album combines a form of established media (CDs, USB thumb-drives, etc.) with a miniature electronic instrument. He has also developed a separate lineage of multiplayer instruments called Jamboxes that bundle current music technology into easily understandable and casually enjoyable devices.
ROBERT KARIMI is an artist, comedian, and cook who makes healthy messaging delicious with his ThePeoplesCook Project. Combining humor and food, he inspires audiences to share their cultural histories, connect with one another over food, and discover their own power towards personal balance. As a community engagement specialist, comedic storyteller, and creative developer, Karimi designs game-performances, interactive immersive theater experiences, and themed entertainment to engage players to share stories and discuss social issues of concern to their communities. A Pushcart Prize-nominated writer and a National Poetry Slam Champion, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, literary journals, and numerous anthologies. As a performer, filmmaker, and experience designer, Karimi’s work has been featured throughout the country at venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Café, Def Poetry Jam, The Smithsonian, and SXSW.
LaFrae Sci: January 27–February 7
LAFRAE SCI is an internationally sought composer, drummer, and educator who teaches at jazz at Lincoln Center and is a founding teaching member of the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in New York City. As a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, she has taught master classes and performed in more than thirty countries. This experience led Sci to develop and launch Groove Diplomacy, whose mission is to create youth engagement programs internationally using musical expression as a vehicle to empower, ignite, heal, and create mutual understanding. Groove Diplomacy has co-created programming in New York City, Guatemala, and Siberia, employing creative expression across modalities to explore issues pertaining to social justice, leadership, teacher-training, mindfulness, and finding one’s own voice.
Capital W: February 10–14CAPITAL W, a joint venture of Lauren Ludwig and Monica Miklas, is dedicated to exploring immersive theater and experiential events. Founded in 2015, Capital W has debuted four world-premiere works and garnered multiple awards, including the Immersive Critic's Circle Award for "Best Overall Immersive Work" at Hollywood Fringe 2017 and "Best Game Design" at IndieCade 2016. Lauren Ludwig is a multimedia director and writer whose immersive show Hamlet-Mobile, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet staged in a cargo van, was included in the anthology Best Plays from American Theater Festivals 2015. She regularly helms the award-winning Los Angeles comedy show Lost Moon Radio and is the executive director of the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women. Monica Miklas is a creative producer and dramaturg with a specialization in new work who has developed programming and events for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Invertigo Dance Theatre, and Lost Moon Radio. She co-founded The League of Experiential and Immersive Artists, a service organization for immersive producers.
Melanie Gillman: February 24–28
MELANIE GILLMAN is a cartoonist and colored pencil artist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They are the creator of the webcomic and graphic novel As the Crow Flies, published in 2017 by Iron Circus Comics. As the Crow Flies has been named a 2018 Stonewall Honor Book, won the 2018 Excellence in Graphic Literature Award for Best Middle Grade Graphic Novel, and has been nominated for an Ignatz, Eisner, and Dwayne McDuffie Award. They are also currently working on Stage Dreams, a queer western romance graphic novel, which will be published by Lerner/Graphic Universe in 2019. They are also a senior lecturer in the Comics MFA Program at the California College of the Arts, where they teach classes about making comics and professional practices.