MAY 2018

"Post Now and Post New: Afro-Futurist Themes in Contemporary Art Practice" Panel on In Their Own Form: Contemporary Photography + Afrofuturism exhibition curated by Sheridan Tucker

Museum of Contemporary Photography

600 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

May 3, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

This spring the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) will present the exhibition In Their Own Form which presents a collection of portraiture and fine art photography by thirteen artists.  This exhibition will include work by Zanele Muholi, Mary Sibande and Ayana V. Jackson among others.  Through a lens of Afro-Futurist aesthetics, In Their Own Form focuses on the re-imagining, re-purposing, mysticism, avant-gardism, spirituality, time travel and technology, ever present within the Afro-Futurist movement, expanding upon how these themes have functioned as a necessary escape from a fraught past and present. 

In Their Own Form opens on April 12 with a reception at 5:00 p.m.

Jennifer Scott will lead a discussion with D.Denenge Duyst-Akpem and Ingrid LaFleur on Afrofuturist themes in contemporary art and how they inform artistic practice in photography and other mediums. Jennifer Scott is director and chief curator of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at the University of Illinois at Chicago. D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem is an Afrofuturist space sculptor, performance artist, designer, writer, and educator. Artist and curator Ingrid LaFleur founded the Afrofuturist film and art program Afrotopia and was notably a former candidate for mayor of Detroit.


APRIL 2018


Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30-7:15 p.m.

"Afro-Futurism and Fashion: Constructing Future Forms"

Guest Lecture for Caroline Bellio's Fashion History: Global Perspective course in the Fashion Department at Columbia College Chicago, in connection and reference to the exhibition In Their Own Form: Contemporary Photography + Afrofuturism now on view

Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP)

600 S. Michigan Avenue

Open to all visitors; come on down!

Many thanks to Dr. Colbey Reid, Chair of Fashion Department, for support of this programming.


Tuesday, April 17 (closed session)

Guest Lecture "Osayin Commemorative Portrait and Camo Project: Protection and Activated Ecologies in Afro-Futurism" 

for Giovanni Aloi's "Post-Nature" course in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago




Saturday, February 24 at 4:00 p.m.

“Shape-shifting Across Disciplines: Sculpting Space and Afro-Futurism as Methodology”

"No Discipline" Panel at College Art Association Conference (CAA)

Los Angeles, CA 

I'm beyond thrilled to be presenting on the No Discipline panel developed and moderated by SAIC Dean Lisa Wainwright, AIADO Professor and Chair of Designed Objects Tim Parsons and Sculpture Department Chair Dan Price along with esteemed artists and practitioners including Eric Ellingsen of Trust Space and Washington University, Katherine Gillieson of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and J. Morgan Puett of Mildred's Lane.  We'll present our work in the field of education bridging the boundaries between art and design.  I'll be including tales of post-colonial, military-ruled Nigeria and national "discipline" campaigns alongside methodologies of Afro-Futurism to build the imagination muscles.




Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 4:30-7:00 p.m.

UNSETTLING THE CANON: Decentering Dominant Paradigms / Decolonizing Art Education


Pleased to announce that I have been invited to participate in the conference/forum UNSETTLING THE CANON: Decentering Dominant Paradigms / Decolonizing Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, organized by Lisa Vinebaum, PhD, SAIC Professor in Fiber and Material Studies and ARTHI Affiliate in collaboration with the Flaxman Library Bibliodérive and the Dean's Office featuring visiting artists/writers Eunsong Kim and Gelare Khoshgozaran from



October 19-21, 2016 

With/Out ¿Borders? II Conference

ARCUS Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo College 

Facilitator for Afro-Futurism panel break-out sessions for ARCUS Center for Social Justice Leadersip at Kalamazoo College featuring Adrienne Maree Brown of Octavia's Brood,  Stephanie Shonekan, and many more with keynote by Naomi Klein.


3Arts and 6018North present VIP: Very Important Performances
2nd Floor | 300 level


Rashayla Marie Brown discusses contracts and artistic value with lawyer Patrice Perkins and artist D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem, hosted by Tricia van Eck of 6018North in connection with Rashayla Marie Brown's installation and Thursday, September 22 Vernissage EXPO opening night performance featuring Fo Wilson and other special guest performers.



The Artists' Lifestyle

Presentation and Discussion with co-panelists Damon Locks and Matt Austin

Friday, June 24, 2016

3:45-5:30 p.m.

Comfort Station, Logan Square


The Black Experience: Best Practices, Panel Discussion 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 

4:15-5:45 p.m.

Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State Street, 7th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60603

This program features SAIC faculty and staff as art professionals. Organized by Wisdom Baty (MAAP 2017), "The Black Experience: Panel Discussion" serves as a culminating event that will inform best practices in the art world from black art professionals to black graduating students. This dialogue will engaging personal insights, critical pedagogy and best practices in regards to what it means to successfully practice art after school.  Panelists include: D. Denenge Akpem, Rashayla M. Brown, Ross Jordan, Faheem Majeed, Felicia Mings, Jefferson Pinder, and Lavie Raven.

Musical performance by Ryan Blocker at 4:00pm

Co-moderated by Asha Iman Veal, Courtney Marie Cintron, and Wisdom Baty


2016 Annual Midwest Art History Society Conference

DePaul University

Presentation of paper on the "Women of AFRICOBRA" with highlights on the work of Jae Jarrell.

On panel with Rebecca Zorach and Marissa Baker.


D. Denenge Akpem

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism

 “Women of AFRICOBRA: Highlights and Reflections on Art, Motherhood, and Community”

This presentation revisits highlights from the “Women of AFRICOBRA” panel in October 2015 offered in conjunction with the course “Power to the People: Revolution and the Black Arts Movement” for the 50thAnniversary of the Black Arts Movement.  Akpem will look at the artistic practices of women in this legendary collective through the lens of  “process and product”, considering artistic concerns, motherhood, and visions of family in everyday life and as reflected within their work.  She will consider the roles that feminism, entrepreneurship, the collective process, and Chicago as site played on the development of their work as revolutionary artists, trailblazers, and renegades.


"Afro-Futurism: Pathways to Black Liberation"

Black History Month Guest Speaker

Wilbur Wright College

City College of Chicago

Spring 2016

I had a fantastic visit with WWC students, faculty, and administration at this dynamic talk and discussion.  Thank you to Myrna Favors, a former "Black Arts Movement" student and graduate of Columbia College, for the invitation and welcome, to the library faculty for organizing this event, and to the faculty who made this presentation a priority with inclusion in syllabi and student presence at the talk.  I really enjoyed the dialogue and the campus with its historic Bertrand Goldberg spaceship-esque architecture and newly-completed modern pyramid library, the perfect location for a conversation centered on Sun Ra and future vision.  Synchronistically, I felt set down in another land within Chicago, one I was pleased to discover, to a welcome space of Afro-Futurist possibility.

Thank you to President David Potash, PhD, and to Vice President Nicole Reaves, Ed.D for the warm welcome and for the invitation to return.  




Fashion Technology: The Tactile Life of Makers

Hyde Park Art Center

Saturday, November 21

1:00-4:00 p.m.

Join a panel of Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty artists in a discussion on the effect of touch, loss of tactility, and how it is evolving because of technology-in-the-making. Artists include: Taylor Hokanson and Dieter Kirkwood, Fo Wilson, D. Denenge Akpem, and Betsy Odom.

See more at:


"Sun Ra: Astro Black Mythology & Black Resistance"

Thursday and Friday, May 21 & 22, 2015

Logan Center for the Arts

915 East 60th Street

Chicago, IL

I was a panelist moderated by musician and symposium organizer David Boykin with Marvin X and Ytasha Womack for the symposium "Sun Ra: Astro Black Mythology & Black Resistance" hosted at the University of Chicago in honor of Sun Ra's 101st birthday!  It was an awesome group including a keynote from Thomas Stanley and interactive presentation from Greg Tate along with evening performance by the Arkestra's Marshall Allen and Danny Ray Thompson!




Monday, April 20, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

Blue 1647, 1647 S. Blue Island, Chicago, IL

I am a panelist for this symposium sponsored by Goodman Theatre and Regina Taylor as part of programming in support of her new play stop.reset. premiering in May.


.Panelist, "What Color Is Nude?: The Racial Future of Fashion" with panelists D. Denenge Akpem, Afro-Futurist artist, designer, and writer; Joy Bivins, Chicago History Museum curator of Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair; Karla Evans-Davis, Marketing Director for Fashion Fair Cosmetics; and moderator and Inspiring Beauty MAM guest curator, Camille Morgan.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 3 p.m.  

Lubar Auditorium

Milwaukee Art Museum




.Speaker, Afro-Futurism and Pedagogy Panel, "The MARS Project: Teaching Afro-Futurism as Methodology of Liberation."  Black to the Future Conference with keynote by Dr. Alondra Nelson.  Purdue University, IN.*

*This presentation was made possible by a Part-Time Faculty Development Grant from the Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence (CiTE), Columbia College Chicago.


.Panelist, "Voyaging the Fantastic: Afrosurrealism and Afrofuturism in Wangechi Mutu and Contemporary Black Art", Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey, Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

Image credit: Wangechi Mutu, Riding Death In My Sleep, 2002.


.Virtual Introduction to Space Is The Place for Watershed Art Centre Afro-Futurism film series. Bristol, UK, October 24, 2014.


Featured Speaker, WebVisions Chicago.


.National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, including presentation on Afro-Futurism as methodology of liberation and Osayin Photo Series, July-August 2014.

NEH Institute on "Black Aesthetics and African Centered Cultural Expressions: Sacred Systems in the Nexus between Cultural Studies, Religion and Philosophy" hosted by Paul Carter Harrison, Pellom McDaniels III, and Dr. Candy Tate at at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.


."Alter Destiny: Afro-Futurism and Black Radical Imagination as Engaged Creative Practice."  Freedom Dreams...Freedom Now!, panel and audience interactive performance art/ritual for 50th anniversary conference celebrating Freedom Summer 1964 with keynotes by Julian Bond, Angela Davis, Robin D.G. Kelley, and Barbara Ransby.  University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC).  Chicago, Illinois.  September 25, 2014.


."The MARS Project: Teaching Afro-Futurism as a Methodology of Liberation." WebVisions Portland 2014.  Portland, Oregon.  May 9, 2014.


.Dean's Here + Now Series: A Conversation with D. Denenge Akpem and Delinda Collier.  

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, April 7, 2014 at 4:15-5:45 p.m. in the SAIC LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash, first floor.  Chicago, Illinois.


.Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture.  Panel with author Ytasha Womack at Northwestern University(invited but appearance cancelled due to illness)  Evanston, Illinois.  January 9, 2014



.Intersectionality Critique on Afro-Futurism with Delinda Collier and D. Denenge Akpem.  School of the Art Institute of Chicago, curated by Rashayla Marie Brown, Associate Director for Institutional Diversity, SAIC.  Chicago, Illinois.  October 2013.



.Constructing Future Forms: Afro-Futurism and Fashion performance-lecture for Black Gossamer exhibition curated by Camille Morgan.  Glass Curtain Gallery. Chicago, Illinois.  February 2012.


."What Color is Nude?: The Racial Future of Fashion" panel for Black Gossamer exhibition curated by Camille Morgan.  Glass Curtain Gallery. Chicago, Illinois.  February 2012.

Panelists: D. Denenge Akpem (Artist, Studio Verto + Denenge Design; Adjunct Professor, HHSS, Columbia College Chicago), Joy Bivins (Curator, Chicago History Museum, Ebony Fashion Fair exhibition), Virginia Heaven (Professor, Fashion Department, Columbia College; Co-Curator, Ebony Fashion Fair exhibition); Monica Miller (Associate Professor of English, Barnard College)

Moderators: Annemarie Strassel (Fashion Studies Faculty) + Caren Oliver (Fashion Design Student)

A discussion of race, radicals, and revolutions in fashion with distinguished fashion history, race theorists, and artists. Using the exhibition Black Gossamer as a point of departure, the panelists will share their perspectives on the ways that identity influences style and consumerism past and present, and what that means for the future. This event is cosponsored with DEPS and the Departments of Fashion Studies and AEMM.



.Talking Point: Denenge Akpem, artist talk and discussion, Hyde Park Art Center.  Chicago, Illinois.



.Rapunzel Revisited: An Afri-sci-fi Space Sea Siren Tale exhibition talk at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 12 x 12 New Artists/New Work.  Chicago, Illinois.

.Featured artist interview with curator Alison Peters Quinn for inaugural exhibition Takeover at new Hyde Park Art Center, CAN-TV,, Chicago, Illinois.



.Mutatis Mutandis exhibition visiting artist talk, Dillard University.  New Orleans, Louisiana.



Home/Works exhibition panel with Dawoud Bey, Chido Johnson and other guests, Betty Rymer Gallery.  Chicago, Illinois.