Co-Sponsored Events

Kitchen Conversations: Food Stories for Change (with Seitu Jones and Dawn Blackman)

Thursday, October 15th, 2020
Seitu Jones
Dawn Blackman
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM


Event Description


Listen in online to one-on-one sharing of stories at kitchen tables in Champaign-Urbana and St. Paul. Artist Seitu Jones will visit virtually with Champaign-Urbana food and environmental justice activists (Dawn Blackman and Jennifer Monson) to discuss local issues related to access and affordability of food, as well as caring for the earth that nurtures us.

Seitu Jones is a George A. Miller Visiting Scholar for 2020-21. These virtual events launch a hybrid residency that will extend beyond the pandemic (hopefully) and include visits to the University of Illinois when it is safe to do so. In addition to the Center for Advanced Study/George A. Miller Committee, co-sponsors of these events include: Dance, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, College of Fine and Applied Arts, African American Studies, Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences, Extension, Human Development and Family Studies, Inner Voices Social Issues Theatre, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, Krannert Art Museum, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Landscape Architecture, Siebel Center for Design, Theatre, and Urban and Regional Planning.

Seitu Jones

Seitu Ken Jones | a George A. Miller Visiting Scholar (2020-21)

Seitu Jones is a Saint Paul (MN) based artist whose interdisciplinary practice considers the historical construct of race and the desire to restore our Beloved communities through food, conversation and beauty. His practice aspires to create environmental and public artwork that honors and inspires communities. Seitu Jones Studio engages, advises and produces work that advances food and environmental justice through the arts and public sphere.



Dawn Blackman

Dawn Blackman | Randolph St. Community Garden

Ms. Dawn Blackman is a former military wife, mother of one, a storyteller and dressmaker. In 2006, she took on the stewardship of what is now the Randolph Street Community Garden in Champaign, IL. Located on property owned by Champaign public schools, the garden has increased over the last 14 years from eight beds, one of which was tended by Ms. Blackman and neighborhood youth, to more than 2 acres in production now, tended by a vibrant community of more than 300 children and 150 adults. The garden is located in an area of north Champaign that has largely rental properties and many immigrant groups. The area is a food desert with few options for fresh and affordable food. More than 2,600 people grew, bought, or received fresh produce in 2019. She has long  been an advocate for those facing food insecurity and, in addition to the garden, manages the food pantry, the Youth Snack Program, and the Senior Nutrition Program at the Champaign Church of the Brethren where she serves as Outreach Pastor.