Current Year Guests-in-Residence

2016-2017 Unit One/Allen Hall 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.

FALL 2016

Drew Matott and Jana Schumacher: September 11, 2016 – September 15, 2016

Drew Matott is a master papermaker with an expertise in using traditional papermaking as trauma therapy, social engagement, and community activism. He directs the vision and strategy of Peace Paper Project, which designs community-based papermaking studios that utilize paper arts for healing and community empowerment. Since 2011, Peace Paper Project has helped launch thirty-three studios across the globe including Australia, India, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Spain, the UK, and throughout the USA. Jana Schumacher is a fine artist based in Hamburg, Germany. She joined the Peace Paper team in 2016 and directs St. Pauli Paper, where she conducts workshops for artists and healing populations. Recent workshops have focused on developing programs for Syrian immigrants.

Tristan Taormino: September 18, 2016 – September 22, 2016

Tristan Taormino is an award-winning author, columnist, editor, sex educator, and adult filmmaker. She has lectured at over seventy-five colleges and universities on sex education, gender and sexuality, gay and lesbian issues, pornography, and feminism. She is the author of eight books and editor of twenty-five anthologies, and for nearly ten years was a columnist for The Village Voice. Taormino and her work have been featured in hundreds of publications including O: The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Entertainment Weekly, Details, New York Magazine, and Men's Health.

Magdalena Gómez: September 25, 2016 – September 29, 2016

Magdalena Gómez is the author of Shameless Woman, a memoir in poems. She is a cultural organizer, vanguard performance poet, playwright, and the co-founder and artistic director of Teatro V!da, the first Latin@ theater in Springfield, Massachusetts. Gómez is a commentator with New England Public Radio and a columnist with the Point of View newspaper. A selection of her poems and monologues, Dancing in My Cockroach Killers, received audience and critical acclaim off-Broadway and in Los Angeles. Her bilingual play with music, Perfectamente Loca/Perfectly Insane, was one of eight winning plays in the 2015 National Latino Theater Commons Carnaval Competition. Her poetry will be set to music and performed by the sixteen-member Eco-Music Big Band this October at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. 

Kevin Reader: October 23, 2016 – October 27, 2016

Kevin Reader 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. For the past seven years he has been producing and performing shows, podcasts, events and games in Chicago. He serves as the Artistic Director for Cards Against Humanity and is the founder of the comedy troupe, The Nerdologues. He has performed improv and sketch comedy with Second City, iO, UCB, San Fran Sketchfest, Chicago Sketchfest, PAX and GenCon.


The Andrew Alden Ensemble: January 22, 2017 – January 26, 2017

The Andrew Alden Ensemble is a contemporary and electronic chamber music group from Detroit, Michigan. Their goal is to compose new multimedia works for chamber ensemble, dance, magic and film. They utilize a fascinating collaboration of rock music and contemporary classical composition including percussion, synthesizer, piano, violin, viola, and electronic production. The ensemble produces textual scores for film which they perform at screenings to transform the audience’s film experience with new sounds. They  have produced and performed scores of the films Nosferatu (1922), The Lost World (1925), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925), Vampyr (1932) and Night of the Living Dead (Silenced with Subtitles) (1968).

N’Jelle Gage-Thorne: February 5, 2017 – February 9, 2017

N’Jelle Gage-Thorne is a dancer and educator who has worked extensively throughout the United States, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Gage-Thorne is co-founder, president, and choreographer of FuturPointe Dance, a genre-bending dance theater company based in Rochester, New York. She teaches master classes in Caribbean contemporary dance techniques (Tecnica Cubana, L’Antech™, Reggae ballet, Jamaican urban jazz) at college residencies, festivals, and studios across the country. She studied modern technique and folklore/Orisha dance with the renowned Cuban ballet and contemporary dance faculty at Instituto Superior/Escuela Nacional de Artes in Havana, Cuba where she earned a teaching and performance degree.

Meredith Scheff-King: February 19, 2017 – February 23, 2017

Meredith Scheff-King is a writer, hardware hacker, cartoonist, sculptor, and kinetic artist. She has extensive experience working with diverse materials and kinetic and hardware technologies, most notably in interactive museum exhibits and wearable tech. Scheff-King utilizes skills in hardware, illustrative, and visual design, as well as transmedia storytelling; she exploits every possible medium at her disposal to create immersive environments. Scheff-King is adept at interlacing modern technologies with traditional methods of creation; these fusions produce objects and systems that neither process is able to create alone. She has worked with many museums, fabrication studios, and interactive projects including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Exploratorium, Popular Mechanics, MAKE:Magazine, and Wiley Media.       

Valarie Kaur: March 5, 2017 – March 9, 2017

Valarie Kaur is a national interfaith leader, award-winning filmmaker, and civil rights advocate who centers her work around the power of storytelling.  A third-generation Sikh American, she is founding director of Groundswell, America’s largest multifaith online organizing community. She has led national programs and campaigns responding to hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, LGBTQI equality, and net neutrality. Kaur’s first film Divided We Fall (2008) with director Sharat Raju toured in 200 U.S. cities, won a dozen international awards, and became known as the definitive documentary on post-9/11 hate crimes. She has been invited to speak on her work in 250 U.S. cities and major media outlets including CNN, the Rachel Maddow Show, NPR, BBC, and The New York Times.