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 8-12
FRANCISCO 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”.
Peace Paper Project: September 16-20
PEACE PAPER PROJECT is an international community-arts initiative that utilizes traditional papermaking as a vehicle for personal expression, trauma therapy, social engagement, and community activism. Through workshops that incorporate hand-papermaking and printmaking, participants collaborate to transform significant articles of clothing, invasive species, flags, currency, or waste material, into works of art that tell personal stories, facilitate mutual understanding, and address social issues. Since 2011, Peace Paper Project has conducted hundreds of workshops worldwide in conjunction with community leaders, mental health professionals, and art therapists. They have helped launch forty papermaking programs that use papermaking as a form of healing and community engagement.
Isra Allison: October 6-10
ISRA ALLISON is a former Executive Director at Brand New Congress, an organization that works to elect people to Congress who are committed to ending poverty, reversing climate change, and making US democracy represent everyone. She educates people on grassroots politics, how to start a political movement, how to change minds, and how to manage stress in politics. Allison provides strategic consulting to political candidates and campaigns, and has inspired numerous individuals to run for office, vote their conscience, and become leaders in their communities.
Tatsuya Nakatani: October 13 - October 17
TATSUYA NAKATANI is an avant-garde sound artist, composer, and master percussionist originally from Osaka, Japan who has released over eighty recordings since arriving in the United States in 1994. He has presented numerous solo concerts and collaborations with hundreds of artists in a wide range of venues. His Nakatani Gong Orchestra involves building community ensembles to perform on multiple bowed-gongs under his direction. His master classes and workshops at schools and universities emphasize a unique musical approach and philosophy in creating visceral, non-linear music that retains a sense of space and beauty found in traditional Japanese music. By creating a dynamic range of sounds from drums, gongs, cymbals, metal bowls, bells, and handcrafted sticks and bows, Nakatani has developed an expressive music that defies category or genre.
Kevin Reader: February 2-6
KEVIN READERis an improv comedy performer, game designer, and podcast producer. He earned his Master of Arts in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also performed with Inner Voices Social Issues Theater and the comedy troupes Spicy Clamato and Potted Meat. He now produces and performs shows, podcasts, events, and games in Chicago. Reader serves as the Artistic Director for Cards Against Humanity and is the founder of the comedy troupe The Nerdologues. He writes, directs, and produces for The Public House Theater. He has performed improv and sketch comedy with Second City, iO, UCB, San Fran Sketchfest, Chicago Sketchfest, PAX, the Annoyance Theater, and GenCon.
Mirabelle Jones: February 16-20MIRABELLE JONES is a queer non-binary maker, writer, performance artist, and visual artist. They serve as a Hybrid Designer / Developer for Meow Wolf with a specialization in sensors, soft robotics, and computer vision. They have exhibited their works at museums and galleries around the world. Jones is a contributor for Ms. Magazine as well as a freelance journalist, fiction writer, and poet. They are a sexual assault and domestic violence crisis counselor and founder of the grassroots organization Art Against Assault, a collective encouraging the development of creative works that promote awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence while raising funds for national and local survivor resources.
Shing Yin Khor: February 23-27
SHING YIN KHOR is a Malaysian-American cartoonist and installation artist who explores collections, immigrant identity and memory, new human rituals, and collaborative worldbuilding at the intersection of race, gender and immigration. A 2019 Kickstarter Thought Leader, they won an Ignatz Award with their minicomic Say It With Noodles. They are the author of the graphic novel, The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66, a road trip memoir about driving Route 66 and exploring nostalgic Americana in relation to immigrant identity. Their book, The Legend of Auntie Po, is a historical fiction graphic novel about early Chinese labor in logging camps. Khor co-founded the endurance art event Resistance Cranes, which raises money for low income refugee and immigrant causes. They lead the Three Eyed Rat, an immersive installation crew that builds small stories in large scale structures, and co-organize Wayward, a creative retreat and intentional community for womxn and genderqueer people.