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Our Mission
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ABOUT

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The CRAFT Institute Mission Statement
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History repeated itself, and the possibilities for the future were revealed.

Our Vision

Create A Future.

OUR VISION

Create A Future.

The International Black Theatre Summit

With a goal to maintain and establish more intentional strategies and professional networks, programs, and coalitions that capitalize on the links between theatre, film, television and related media platforms with domestic and international connections. The network will better support and sustain black artists, cultural producers and audiences thereby providing models for cross-cultural collaborations.

Our Founder
Our Founder:

Dr. Monica White Ndounou is an Associate Professor of Theater at Dartmouth College and the founding Executive Director of The CRAFT Institute.  She is also the past President of the Black Theatre Association (BTA) (2016-2018), Vice President of Advocacy for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) (2019-2021) and serves on the board of The August Wilson Society.  She is a founding member of the National Advisory Committee of The Black Seed, a national strategic plan to create impact and thrivability for Black theater institutions and initiatives.

Dr. Ndounou’s interdisciplinary research projects span a broad range of topics.  She frequently writes for popular audiences and presents the findings of her work at national and international conferences. Her award-winning book, Shaping the Future of African American Film: Color-coded Economics and the Story Behind the Numbers (Rutgers University Press), received the 2016 Distinction Honor from the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Inc. (SCAASI).  Professor Ndounou is currently working on several projects including but not limited to a book, Acting Your Color: The CRAFT, Power and Paradox of Acting for Black Americans which includes a multi-media project exploring black American contributions to developing acting theories and practices.  She is also an actor and director who has worked on a range of projects.  

Monica White Ndounou
CRAFT Special Initiative Directors

Special Initiatives Directors

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Dr. Nsenga Burton

Dr. Nsenga Burton

DIRECTOR OF FILM, TV, AND NEW MEDIA

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an award-winning journalist, professor and content creator. Dr. Burton currently serves as Co-Director of the Film and Media Management Concentration at Emory. Nsenga's area of expertise is intersectionality (race, class, gender and sexuality) and the Hollywood film industry. In addition to working as a professor, Nsenga has worked as a journalist and cultural critic for the last two decades. She is a former editor-at-large for The Root, columnist for the Huffington Post, cultural critic for Creative Loafing and has contributed to The New York Times, USA Today, BET News, The Crisis Magazine and The Grio.

 

In 2012, Nsenga founded The Burton Wire, an award-winning news blog covering news of the African Diaspora. Nsenga currently hosts a twice-monthly livestream on issues impacting the Black community for Black Press USA and is a contributor to Courier Newsroom.

 

Never moving too far away from film, Dr. Burton worked as a behind the scenes producer on 2019's Shaft and Little and is a contributor to the short film, "Flash Here and There Like Falling Stars: Remembering the Life of Dr. Pellom McDainiels" (2020). Nsenga has written extensively on race and media, most recently serving as co-editor of the book Black Women's Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. In addition to co-editing duties, Dr. Burton contributed the chapter, "Representations of Black Women's Mental Health on Being Mary Jane and How to Get Away with Murder."   She has also written about W.E.B. DuBois' theory of double consciousness and the question of race in AMC's Mad Men, South African Soap Operas as a tool for racial reconciliation and is working on a book proposal on race, gender and the reality television industry. Nsenga recently curated Emory's Spring 2020 Cinematheque African Americans in American Film and served as director of the 2020 AfroComicCon International Short Film Festival (virtual) which took place in October. 

 

Dr. Burton is co-chair of the Black Caucus for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies, a member of the African-American Film Critics Association, National Communication Association and Women in Film and Television Atlanta. Nsenga is the former chair of the Atlanta Youth Commission and serves as Bylaws Chair for the League of Women Voters Atlanta. She is a member of The Links, Incorporated and a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

 

A frequent commentator of television, radio and new media, Dr. Burton holds degrees in film and communication from Northwestern University (B.S.), New York University (M.A.), University of Pennsylvania (M.A.) and the University of Southern California (Ph.D.). 

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Faedra Chatard Carpenter

Dr. Faedra Chatard Carpenter

DIRECTOR OF DRAMATURGY AND COMMUNITY CURATION

Dr. Faedra Chatard Carpenter (Ph.D. in Drama from Stanford University, M.A. in Drama from Washington University, B.A. in English from Spelman College) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Performing Arts at American University, a professional dramaturg, and cultural critic. As a professional dramaturg, Carpenter has worked on innumerable projects at venues such as Ford’s Theatre, Round House Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth, Olney Theatre Company, Everyman Theatre Company, Baltimore Center Stage, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mosaic Theatre Company, Theater J, Dance Place, Crossroads Theatre Company, and Arena Stage.

 

Dr. Carpenter is also the author of the critically-acclaimed book, Coloring Whiteness:  Acts of Critique in Black Performance, and her scholarly analysis can be found in a number of anthologies and peer-reviewed journals such as 50 Key Figures in Queer US Theatre, Cambridge Companion to American Theatre, Diverse Dramaturgy, College Literature, Theater Magazine, The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy, The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre, Theatre Survey, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Topics, Women & Performance, and Callaloo. 

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Ciara Diane

Ciara Diane

CRAFT Emerging Creative Fellow

Ciara Diane is a New York-based writer, performer, dramaturg, and facilitator. She is currently The CRAFT Institute's Emerging Creative Fellow and a facilitator for Equity Quotient, a national training and organizational development firm dedicated to supporting arts and culture nonprofits interested in becoming more just and equitable community partners. She was previously an editor at HowlRound Theatre Commons and her journalistic work has been featured in American Theatre Magazine (AT), including serving as contributing editor for their September 2020 issue. She works with an array of nonprofit and theatre organizations across the country and strives to create brave spaces where people of color, particularly Black people, can feel included, joyful, supported, and above all, like they're not alone.

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Dr. Eve Graves

Dr. Eve Graves

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
AND FORMAL TRAINING PROJECTS

Dr. Eve Graves is a graduate of Spelman College.  She began her professional academic career at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA., where she received several awards, published several articles, and was elected to head a national professional organization. Dr. Graves was awarded a Teaching Fellowship from the Carnegie Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University. At the end of her final residency at the Carnegie Foundation, Dr. Graves decided to pursue work as an intercultural pedagogue by accepting a teaching position at the prestigious Xiamen University in China. She lived and successfully taught Western Theatre History and Literature in China for four and a half years. 

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Dr. Véronique Helenon

DIRECTOR OF CROSS-CULTURAL
COLLABORATION INITIATIVES

Véronique Hélénon is a historian whose area of expertise is the African Diaspora with a special emphasis on its French-speaking dimensions and the Caribbean. A Fulbright alumna, she taught at various institutions including NYU, Columbia University, Florida International University and UMass-Boston.

She has published articles and book chapters on the African Diaspora, Colonialism, and French Hip-Hop.  She is the author of French Caribbeans in Africa: Diasporic Connections and Colonial Administration, 1880-1939 (Palgrave, 2011).

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Ashley McKinnies

Ashley McKinnies

CRAFT FELLOW AND LOGISTICS ASSISTANT

F.D. Ashley is a Ghanaian-American literary and visual artist. As a literary enthusiast, she utilizes her BA in English (Comparative Literature) and MA in English (Rhetoric and Composition) in her work as a dramaturg. She has also worked with the American Theatre Wing as a Research Assistant. In 2022, her writing was performed in Echoes of Us, a series of curated monologues, directed by Tony Award nominee Michele Shay. Ashley is a Primary Editor for The Banyan Review and a 2023 Craft Fellow. She facilitates creative writing workshops and is a consultant for the Authors Roundtable of Florida.

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Mauricio Tafur Salgado

Mauricio Tafur Salgado

CO-PRODUCER OF CRAFT COURSE PROGRAMMING

BFA, Acting, Juilliard School
MFA, Directing, Brown University

Mauricio Tafur Salgado is an Assistant Arts Professor of Theatre Studies in the Department of Drama at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Salgado is mestizo + first gen + born to proudly subversive Colombians + brown skinned + amateur bio-regionalist + aspiring theologian + cis-hetero + married + artist, pursuing justice and healing through a decolonial framework. He collaborates to organize space where folx rehearse revolution, compromise, rage, tolerance, strength, trust, and vulnerability. 

Prior to joining Tisch Drama, Salgado co-founded Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP). At ASTEP, he recruited, trained, and supported more than 325 teaching artists and created and implemented 23 programs for artistic youth. He is currently a founding creative producer with the Remember2019 Collective, which supports local black cultural workers in Phillips County, Ark., as they facilitate spaces for self-determination, memory, and reflection that are directly related to the Elaine Massacre. He has worked as a facilitator, actor, deviser, and director with communities in Peru, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, India, Belgium, Germany, Scotland, and across Turtle Island (the United States). He has taught at the Boston Conservatory, Brown University, Santa Clara University, La Guardia Community College, and Kingsborough Community College.

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Craig T Williams

Craig T. Williams

DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC SCREENWRITING 

A native New Yorker, Craig T. Williams is a writer/producer/editor at Red Wall Productions, a film production company he founded over twenty years ago with his wife and partner of 21 years, Rosalyn Coleman Williams. Together they have created over 50 film projects including features, documentaries and narrative short films.

 

Craig just finished his first gig writing on the staff of a TV show. Craig just completed production of “GAME NITE” a feature film he wrote and produced, directed by Tony Award Winner Tonya Pinkins and starring P-Valley’s Shamika Cotton and Jamie Lincoln Smith.

Craig was part of the prestigious 2021-23 WarnerMedia Discovery Discovery Access Writers Program (formerly the HBO All Access Writers Program.) Chosen one of 20 writers from over four thousand applicants, he created an original 30-minute TV Pilot. 

 

Craig has many scripts in various stages of development including the award winning one-hour TV pilot “How Ya Like Me Now,” about the ‘80s rap rivalry between Kool Moe Dee and LL Cool J, “Christmas In The Dollhouse, a Movie Musical and a 30-minute dramedy inspired by his mother finding her long lost sister when they were both in their 60’s. He’s also producing “Weapons For Peace” that has  Academy Award nominee Judd Hirsch and Yaya Dacosta attached, scheduled to shoot this summer in Paris and Dublin, directed by his wife Rosalyn.  Another feature film he wrote and is producing “Unravel and Cut” has Academy Award Winner Viola Davis attached as Executive Producer and is projected to shoot 2024. 

 

Craig is a huge proponent of educating screenwriters in a way that will empower them to write the stories they want to tell. He’s taught writing for Film and TV at Wesleyan University. He has led workshops and seminars for educational institutions and film festivals around the country. Upcoming, The Essence Film Festival in New Orleans (July 2023). He’s a mentor for Women of Color Unite’s Mentorship Program, The Craft Institute, and for teen filmmakers at Reel Works Mentorship Program in Brooklyn. Craig single handedly runs the Facebook group, Black Screenwriters, with over twenty thousand members. Craig and his extraordinarily beautiful and patient wife Rosalyn have a spirited 18 year old son and they make their life in the heart of New York City. Website - www.redwallproductions.com

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Katelyn Hale Wood

Katelyn Hale Wood

DIRECTOR OF PAY-IT-FORWARD PROGRAM

Katelyn Hale Wood is an Assistant Professor of Theatre History at the University of Virginia and the author of Cracking Up: Black Feminist Comedy in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century United States. Their previous writing has been published in Performance Matters, Theatre Topics, QED: A Journal in GLTBQ Worldmaking, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, and the Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance.

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Emily Anne Goes

Emily Goes

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

BFA, Drama, New York University

 

Emily Anne Goes is a mixed Filipino American performer and pathfinder from San Jose, CA. Emily spends her time dancing with Kinding Sindaw, learning to assert and preserve Filipino indigenous traditions, and co-conspires with The CRAFT Institute and The International Black Theatre Summit to uplift pathways for global majority artists. She also proudly served as Operations Manager for Broadway Advocacy Coalition. Gratefully standing on the shoulders of those who traveled before her, Emily sees and feels her family with each breath.

Past Initiatives

Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley

Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley

DIRECTOR OF THE BLACK VITALITY COMMISSION 

Associate Dean, Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley is an associate professor of theatre at the University of Kansas and served as acting chair and chair of the department from spring 2016 to fall 2017. She also served as a co-director of the School of the Arts during the fall 2017 semester. As associate dean, she will work to build proactive efforts to ensure attention to DEI concerns at the institutional and individual level. Professor Hodges Persley is a sought-after campus facilitator and speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion in higher education and the arts. She is an award-winning teacher, mentor and community leader whose scholarship and creative work offer important strategies to address racial and social injustice.

Support

JKW Foundation
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