Blair Ebony Smith is an Assistant Professor in Art Education and Gender and Women’s Studies. She was previously a 2019 DRIVE Postdoctoral Fellow in Art Education in the School of Art + Design. Smith comes with a PhD in Education from Syracuse University and extensive experience in the Champaign-Urbana community. She has pursued public engagement as part of the SOLHOT collective (Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths), a project that addresses Black girlhood, empowerment, and art making. Smith is also a sonic artist who performs as lovenloops, and this art practice informs her creative work, arts research, and community outreach.
Last year, she curated for the Krannert Art Museum an exhibition called Homemade, with Love: More Living Room, a multimedia installation that brought together interior design, audio and visual art made with Black girls. The exhibition sought to merge local, national and global critical arts engagement with Black girls to curate a homemade space that centers Black girls’ creativity, design, and lived experience. For more on Homemade, see here.
We are thrilled to welcome Prof. Smith to the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies! We asked Prof. Smith to give us an image or an object that helps to explain her research, and to describe her teaching philosophy.
[This is an] archival image/object of my parents (Clarence Orlando Smith and Beverly Boyd Smith/ RIP). Home and memory play a big role in my work. This image/object serves as a metaphysical support to my art/work and a source of contemplation/relation/love.
In my art/teaching, process and experimentation is important to me. Working from my own love for black girlhood studies and black art aesthetics to facilitate students’ specific interests, learning and (cultural) production keeps me most excited about teaching.