Arts and Social Justice Fellows

The new Emory Arts and Social Justice Fellows program allows Emory faculty and students to collaborate with Atlanta artists to explore racial injustice and other inequities. 

Launched in fall 2020, the ASJ fellows program is a partnership between the Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts and the Ethics & the Arts program at the Emory University Center for Ethics.

Contact us for more information.

Olivia Dawson

Olivia DawsonOlivia Dawson is an actor, a writer, a producer and an AOC (Artist of Color).  Dawson’s  work focuses not on expanding what it means to be Black in America, but continuing to expand the visibility of it.  The former is an explanation of her humanity.  The latter, simply because of her existence, states that She is.  Being an Artist of Color is to risk.  Being Black in America is to be at risk. Dawson has performed onstage with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Horizon Theatre, Aurora Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theater (Chicago), among others. Dawson’s film and TV credits include Greenleaf (OWN), The Resident (FOX), Chicago Med (NBC), and Empire (FOX).

Course & Faculty Pairing

Social Justice: Zoning, Contracts, and Environmental Racism
with Allison Burdette, professor of practice, Business Law, Goizueta Business School


Shanequa Gay

Olivia Dawsonan Atlanta native, Shanequa Gay received her AA in Graphic Design and Fashion Marketing from the Art Institute of Atlanta (1999), a BA in Painting from The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), summa cum laude (2015), and an MFA at Georgia State University. Gay was one of ten selected artists for OFF THE WALL a city-wide Mural initiative led by WonderRoot and the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee (2018). In 2013, Gay was chosen by The Congressional Club to be the illustrator for the First Lady's Luncheon hostess gift for First Lady Michelle Obama. Gay's work includes features in the Lions Gate film Addicted, the BET television series Being Mary Jane and Zoe Ever After, and the OWN series Greenleaf. Solo exhibitions include the Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta, GA (2015); Anne O Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA (2016); Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC (2017); Mary S. Byrd Gallery, Augusta University, Augusta, GA (2018); Sumter Gallery of Art, Sumter, SC (2018); and Milliken Gallery, Converse College, Spartanburg, SC (2018). Group exhibitions include Xhibiting Blackness, Evolve the Gallery, Sacramento, CA (2014); WonderRoot CSA: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA (2015); Personal Politics: Artist as Witness, Memory Keepers, & Social Conscience, Hudgens Center for the Arts, Duluth, GA (2016); New Painting, The Southern Gallery, Charleston, SC (2016); 5 Perspectives, Steffen Thomas Museum, Buckhead, GA (2018). Residencies include Independent Study, Iwakuni, Japan (2014); The Creatives Project Artist-in-Studio Program, The Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta, GA (2015-2017); and Baldwin's Room Artist in Residence, Johannesburg, South Africa (2017). Public Collections include The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong; The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, Augusta, GA; The Chattanooga African American Museum, Chattanooga, TN; and Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta, GA; and Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. 

Course & Faculty Pairing

Feminist Art(s) of Activism
with Alix Olson, assistant professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), Oxford College

Okorie Johnson

Olivia DawsonOkorie “OkCello” Johnson’s new album Resolve proffers a healing balm of hope. He invites listeners to move through and beyond their pain into a new perspective. The American cellist-songwriter’s sophomore album marks his evolution as a communicator and a storyteller who reveals personal truths: of time travel, of the African Diaspora, of a deep love for women and of unspoken prayers. Though dealing with grave matters, Resolve is an uplifting album which builds on the musical rebirth that began with OkCello’s debut album, 2015’s Liminal, which established him as a pioneer of electronic and experimental string music in the United States. OkCello has balanced musical pursuits – which include performing and recording with major label artists such as De La Soul, India.Arie and Big Boi - with a career as an educator. In 2015, he launched “Epi.phony,” a multi-city, 12-show, concert series which produced the track list for Liminal. He is a recipient of the Alliance Theatre’s 2018 Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab grant.  

Course & Faculty Pairing

Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders
with Elizabeth Walker, Research assistant professor of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education (BSHE), Rollins School of Public Health

Ash Nash

Olivia DawsonAsh Nash is more than just the founder and CEO of Power Haus Creative, she is a community leader who mentors local artists, and helps them to develop sustainable careers. She has immersed herself in the local arts economy, and empowers visual artists to utilize their influence for change in underserved communities, and to build capital for the creative class. Recognized for her impassioned work ethic, Ash has led several highly successful campaigns for a multitude of global brands such as Papa John's, Coca-Cola, and Nike. She gained international attention in 2019 for her strategic work coordinating #Kaeperbowl, a public art/activism initiative centered around muralist Fabian Williams and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick. Her work has been recognized by Creative Loafing, and she has been featured in Visionary Artistry MagazineThe Atlanta Podcast, and the Our Voices. Our Lives. docu-series. In her partnership with Remerge Community Museum, Ash serves as a Creative Community & Cultural Strategist. Ash is also an active board member for MINT Art Gallery, and W.A.G.E Certified Gallery in Historic Southwest Atlanta. In her role as principle of Power Haus Creative, Ash serves as a liaison and accountability partner to both visual artists and the brands that hire them.

Course & Faculty Pairing

Film, Media, and the Art of Social Change
with Carlton Mackey, director, Ethics & the Arts Program, Emory Center for Ethics and Edward Queen, director, Ethics and Servant Leadership Program

Fahamu Pecou

Olivia DawsonFahamu Pecou is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou’s paintings, performance art, and academic work addresses concerns around contemporary representations of Black masculinity and how these images impact both the reading and performance of Black masculinity. Fahamu received his BFA at the Atlanta College of Art in 1997 and a Ph.D. from Emory University in 2018. Dr. Pecou exhibits his art worldwide in addition to lectures and speaking engagements at colleges and universities. As an educator, Dr. Pecou has developed (ad)Vantage Point, a narrative-based arts curriculum focused on Black male youth. Pecou's work is featured in noted private and public national and international collections including; Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art and Culture, Societe Generale (Paris), Nasher Museum at Duke University, The High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Seattle Art Museum, Paul R. Jones Collection, Clark Atlanta University Art Collection and Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia. Pecou was recently named the inaugural Artist-in-Residence for the Atlanta Beltline. In 2017 he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition "Miroirs de l'Homme" in Paris, France. His work also appears in several films and television shows including; Black-ish, The Chi, and Lifetime's The 10th Date. 

Course & Faculty Pairing

Epigenetics and the Human Condition
with Arri Eisen, professor of practice, Biology, Emory College

Garrett Turner

Olivia DawsonGarrett Turner is a native of Florence, Alabama and a proud member of Actors’ Equity. NYC: Bayano (National Black Theatre), The Dove (York Theatre Company), Acappella the Musical (NYMF). Regional: Thoughts of a Colored Man (Syracuse Stage/Baltimore Center Stage), Half Time (Jerry Mitchell; Paper Mill Playhouse), Holler If Ya Hear Me (Kenny Leon; True Colors Theatre), The Royale (Theatrical Outfit), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Asolo Rep), Lookingglass Alice (Baltimore Center Stage), Memphis (Mason Street Warehouse), In The Heights (Aurora Theatre), Dreamgirls (Atlanta Lyric Theatre). TV: “Law & Order: SVU,” “Madam Secretary.” Emory Grad (Woodruff Scholar and Bobby Jones Scholar). CSSD Alum. Marshall Scholar. @garrettmturner


Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases
with Hank Klibanoff, professor of practice, Creative Writing Program, Emory College