Current Students

Pepe ÁlvarezPepe Álvarez
Pepe Álvarez is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher in the theatre, dance, and performance art scenes in Puerto Rico. His solo performance works have been presented in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Puerto Rico. He holds and MA in Theatre and Live Arts from the National University of Colombia and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Puerto Rico. His research project examines the tension between performance art’s economy of the ephemeral and its historical documentation. His work can be located within the field of practice as research and critical performance ethnography with which he deploys creative practices as a framework for advancing the examination and compilation of Puerto Rico’s performance history. Focused on the history of experimental dance in Puerto Rico his research analyzes movement improvisation as an artistic form and a training technique that have been iconically central to the canon of Puerto Rico’s artistic experimentalism, political activism and social performances. He is interested in improvisation as both an object of study and as a methodology that can drive historical research and cultural critique. His areas of research include: dance studies, Latino’s studies queer performance, cultural anthropology critical race, feminist theories, institutional critique, art theory and practice.

Bobby BiedrzyckiBobby Biedrzycki
Bobby Biedrzycki is an interdisciplinary artist, scholar, and activist whose research focuses on intersections of performance and resistance within carceral spaces, particularly structures of incarceration and confinement. Areas of interest include: critical performance ethnography, performance pedagogy, Black performance theory, Marxist theory, legal studies and critical race studies. Bobby is committed to budrzyckiilding a world without prisons and is a member of the 96 Acres Project. He is also a company member with Free Street Theater, where he sustains a theater practice animated by methods of ensemble and social justice. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago (2012).

Rashayla Marie BrownRashayla Marie Brown
Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB) is an interdisciplinary artist working across an extensive list of cultural production modes, including photography, performance, writing, drawing, installation, and video art. Her research interests are decolonization of the art historical canon, religious studies, postcolonial theory, queer studies, cultural studies, the intersections of avant-garde performance art and popular culture, and modernism in visual art. As an artist, RMB's work has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and Yale University, New Haven, CT; and has shown at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, IL; INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, New York, NY; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Centro Cultural Costaricense Norteamericano, San Jose, Costa Rica; and other venues. She has received the Artadia Award, the City of Chicago's Artist Residency, and the Yale Mellon Research Grant. Her work and words have been featured and published in Art Forum, Blouin Modern Painters, Chicago Magazine, Hyperallergic, and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Her viral essay "Open Letter to My Fellow Young Artists and Scholars on the Margins" was shared over 9K times online as of 2017.

Ivan BujanIvan Bujan
Ivan’s research interests include performance theory, gender and sexuality studies, queer of color critique and AIDS-related cultural criticism. He holds a master’s degree in Performance Studies from New York University and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Kelly ChungKelly Chung
Kelly's dissertation examines contemporary visual art and performance that center alternative modes of action enacted by women of color within the confines of enslavement and immigrant labor. Her research interests include: critical race and ethnic studies, feminist and queer theory, Marxist Theory, and visual culture.

Misty De BerryMisty De Berry
Misty De Berry is a Ph.D. candidate and performance artist who works at the intersections of performance studies, Black feminist theory, Marxist theory, and art history. Her dissertation, Performance, Duration, and the Black Feminist Avant-garde examines the impact of avant-garde aesthetics taken up by Black queer women and women of color in the United States as a means of survival from everyday forms of structural violence. Specifically, she looks at the aesthetic use of time and duration that are central to an avant-garde tradition. With the contention that forms of structural violence, such as white supremacy and anti-black capitalist logics, are habituated and embodied, she questions how might we employ time as an aesthetic device in order to interrupt such processes of habituation on the body and within interpersonal dynamics?

Ali FarajAli Faraj
With a background in Computer and Audio Engineering, DJ-ing, English Literature and advertising copywriting/translation, Ali’s general (research) interests encompass the circulation, consumption and performance of culture across languages, genres and media.  More specifically, Ali is interested in comparing different performances of fandom and stardom of working class communities, and their depictions of anger, social mobility and racial identity. These performances include, but are not limited to: Northern Soul music, Kitchen Sink Drama and Egyptian popular culture post Suez Crisis.

Roy Gomez-CruzRoy Gomez-Cruz
Roy Gomez Cruz’s research examines the political economy of contemporary circus industries in North America under competing modes of transnationalism. Approaching performance ethnographically, his work illuminates how circus troupes perform across national borders by both resisting and reproducing tensions between the circus body imagined as a source of economic capital and circus performance as vessel of creative agency. His interests concerned the critical study of circus, transnational social movements, cultural industries, creative economies and urban spectacles, particularly through the lens of performance, critical race, and queer theory. Of particular interest is practicing a performance-centered pedagogy aimed to provide students with tools for critical thinking, empirical research and artistic expression. Roy’s pedagogical orientation aims to bridge gaps between theory and praxis. By drawing from his two areas of expertise: ethnography and circus studies, his pedagogy seeks to foster inclusive learning as an embodied, empowering and transformative experience.

Gervais MarshGervais Marsh
Gervais Marsh’s research project considers different forms of queer (non-normative) performance in the Anglophone Caribbean as sites that facilitate processes and modes of decolonization, particularly related to gender and sexuality. The project focuses on Dancehall and Carnival Culture, LGBTQ+ activism and theater performance artists as potential research sites, spaces and interlocutors. Research Interests: Black Feminisms, Caribbean Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Black Queer Studies, Critical Race Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Black Performance Theory.

Andreea Micu
Andreea S. Micu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and a Program Fellow at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Her research examines performance and aesthetic practice across a variety of contemporary activist initiatives and social movements in the South of Europe in the aftermath of the 2008 European economic crisis. Her dissertation, Performing the Commons: Urban Insurrection, Aesthetics, and the European Economic Crisis looks at how the urban working class and immigrants use performance and aesthetic production to imagine alternatives to neoliberalism and (re)build the urban commons in Madrid, Rome, and Athens, where she has conducted extended ethnographic research. Andreea holds a degree in Journalism and Communication from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain, and a masters degree in Performance Studies from Texas A&M University. Andreea’s research interests more broadly include Marxist feminism, performance art, political philosophy, affect theory, critical urban studies, and performance pedagogy.

Michell MillerMichell Nicole Miller
Michell Nicole Miler holds an A.M. in Theater and Performance Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She received a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a concentration in Poetry Writing from the University of Virginia. Michell’s research interests include: the black female body, birth justice, traditional birthing practices, black midwifery, Afro-Diasporic ritual and performances of the feminine divine.

Didier Morelli
Didier Morelli is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar who combines practice and research in both his academic and performative explorations. His research interests include the history of performance and conceptual art, spatial and urban theory, institutional critique, pedagogy within the arts, media, as well as athletics and the culture of sport. His dissertation investigates the relationship between the body of the artist and the infrastructure of the city in Los Angeles and New York City between 1970 and 1985, with specific attention to how performance art resists, renegotiates, and responds to architectural and urban functionalism. It addresses performance works that engaged with, enacted, and translated everyday acts of kinesthetic protest into aesthetic events.

Patricia Nguyen
Research Interests: concepts of freedom and development, political economy, home and healing in diasporic oral histories and performances, black feminisms, postcolonial feminisms, critical performance ethnography, social justice and human rights.

Shoniqua Roach
Research Interests: Black Performance Theory, Black Feminisms, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Visual Culture, Media and Popular Culture.

Danielle RossDanielle Ross
Danielle Ross is a performer, dancer, choreographer, and curator. Her research looks at the intersections of feminist approaches, gender, embodied agency, and performance practices in sites of political protest. Her interests explore feminist choreographic works, and include feminist theory, gender studies, sexuality studies, and dance studies.

Ashlie SandovalAshlie Sandoval
Ashlie Sandoval is a PhD candidate and a Graduate Writing Fellow. Her dissertation interrogates how twenty-first century urban design in the space of the home, the office, and the street stages capitalist work as innately beneficial and design itself as capable of attending to capitalism’s negative effects, such as diminishing wages, housing insecurity, and the disappearance of work. Her research and teaching interests include performance theory, Marxist theory, urban design, feminist theory, queer theory and visual culture. She holds a BA in Japanese and political science from San Francisco State University and an MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Cincinnati.

Chaunesti WebbChaunesti Webb
Chaunesti Webb is an interdisciplinary theater artist and scholar with a background in collaborative and ensemble-based performance, contemplative arts, devised theater, and physical approaches to performance to include somatics, psychophysical acting, and extended voice techniques. Her research interests include black feminist avant-garde performance, aesthetics of Afrosurrealism and Afrofuturism, adaptation, experimental theater, and contemporary performance practices. Chaunesti holds a BA in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an MFA in Theater and Contemporary Performance from Naropa University.

Bejamin ZenderBenjamin Zender
Benjamin Zender considers practices of hoarding and abject object management in relationship to the labor of minoritarian archives. He is interested in how normative conceptions of household management help to demarcate whose lives and objects are worthy of documentation and communal memory. His research areas include queer and trans theory, feminist theory, affect studies, new materialisms, critical race theory, disability studies, and critical university studies. Zender received an M.A. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from Syracuse University.)

Mlonolozi Zondi
Mlondolozi “Mlondi” Zondi is a movement artist with an interest in dance dramaturgy, curatorial practice, and pedagogy. Mlondi’s dissertation focuses on contemporary Black performance and visual art engagements with death and corporeal integrity. Using Afro-Pessimism and other aspects of the Black radical tradition, the research probes the relationship between black ontology and the ontology of performance. Mlondi received an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine and a BA (Hons) in Cultural Studies and Performance Studies from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Justin Zullo
Justin Zullo is a PhD candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and a sound designer, musician, and teaching artist. His doctoral research explores how Chicago-based artists and organizations use hip-hop performance as a tool for grassroots education and communal dissent. Since 2012, he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in two specific sites: (1) Kuumba Lynx, a local hip-hop arts organization; and (2) the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, an institution for incarcerated adolescents, where he teaches digital music production. His fieldwork reveals the varying movements—both social and physical—that Chicago hip-hop engenders, and how these choreographies of resistance operate in relationship to youth-of-color criminalization and structural violence. By fusing ethnographic methods with theories of performance, race, and sound, Justin’s work seeks to expand studies of hip-hop pedagogy by centralizing the body as a mobilizing force through which critical thought and action coalesce.