The Gray Center Advisory Council is made up of faculty and staff members selected by the Director of the Gray Center and appointed for two and three year terms by the Office of the Provost. The council advises on curatorial decisions, programming, and devising strategies for achieving the Gray Center mission.
Adrienne Brown, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature
Frances Ferguson, Department Chair and Ann L. and Lawrence B. Buttenwieser Professor, Department of English
Edgar Garcia, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, and Program in Creative Writing
Theaster Gates, Director of Arts and Public Life; Professor, Department of Visual Arts
Patrick Jagoda, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature
Waldo Johnson, Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration
Young-Kee Kim, Louis Block Professor, Department of Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute
Christine Mehring, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Art History and the College
David Schutter, Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts
Yesomi Umolu, Exhibitions Curator, Logan Center for the Arts
William Pope.L, Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts
John Wilkinson, Professor of Practice in the Arts, Department of English Language and Literature, and Program in Creative Writing
Seth Brodsky, Director
Seth Brodsky is Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He is the author of "From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious" (California, 2017), and has published on such topics as opera, influence, and the music of John Cage and Benjamin Britten.
Brodsky’s scholarly and critical work pursues a number of related lines of inquiry. The first concerns music of the 20th and 21st centuries, in particular the field of “composerly production,” with all the openness this connotes: how is “the composer” constructed, and how does she function culturally, discursively, technologically, mythically? A second line of inquiry involves the role of unconscious processes, particularly as figured in psychoanalytic discourse, in the making and experiencing of music. Current projects revolve around the notoriously slippery concept of repetition. In particular, I’m interested in thinking about aesthetic modernism less as a proverbial “search for the new” then as a larger project in resisting or “breaking” repetition, whether it be the repetition of forms, laws, and languages, of genres and styles, or of themes, patterns, motives, etc. What ramifications does this resistance have for music as a repetitive practice—as a way of practicing repetition, but also of performing its very possibility? Brodsky earned his PhD from the Eastman School of Music, and his B.A. from Wake Forest University.
Ghenwa Hayek, Interim Director
Ghenwa Hayek is an Associate Professor of Modern Arabic Literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and a scholar of modern Arabic literature from the late nineteenth century to the present. Her work deals with the entangled relationships between literary and cultural production, space and place, and identity formation in the modern Arab Middle East, with a specific focus on Lebanon. Hayek makes use of the formal techniques of literary scholarship to nuance and complicate our understandings of the processes through which these dynamic cultures understand, represent, and position themselves in the world.
Her first book, Beirut, Imagining the City: Space and Place in Lebanese Literature, traces the modes of imagining the city of Beirut in Lebanese fiction from the late nineteenth century to the present, using an interdisciplinary engagement with literary and cultural studies, critical geography and studies of nationalism and identity. Hayek's current research project explores the affective impact of a century of ongoing emigration on Lebanese culture (c.1860-present), and the imaginaries and grammars that have been mobilized to express it across a wide range of cultural forms, from prose, to poetry, to cinema. She argues that diaspora is not a monolithic experience for emigrants, nor for their compatriots who choose to remain. Instead, diaspora is a complex constellation of experiences that gain and in turn produce specific cultural and social resonances.
Zachary Cahill, Director of Programs and Fellowships
Over the last several years, Zachary Cahill has been actively engaged in developing dynamic arts programming at the University of Chicago, particularly in his role as Open Practice Committee Coordinator in the Department of Visual Arts from 2007-2016, where he also served as a Lecturer. Zachary is an accomplished interdisciplinary artist. Since 2009, he has been working on the long-term project the USSA, an exhibition-based fictional narrative relating to concepts of nation building. He has had solo exhibitions at sites including the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Smart Museum of Art; and Threewalls, Chicago. His work has recently been included in Broken Flag at Iceberg Projects, Chicago (2016); Goethe Institut's Kultursymposium, Weimar, Germany (2016); The Works: Artists in and from Chicago at CAB Brussels, Belgium (2015); Magic Mountain at the MCA Santa Barbara (2015); the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014), among other exhibitions in the US and Europe. In 2012, Zach was a participant in The Retreat - dOCUMENTA (13) at the Banff Centre in Canada. His writings have appeared in international contemporary art journals such as: Afterall (where he also served as a co-editor), Artforum, Artforum.com, The Exhibitionist, Frieze, and Mousse. In 2015, Newcity magazine named Zachary to its Art 50 listing of Chicago's Visual Vanguard. Zachary earned his BFA in Sculpture from Cornell University in 1995 and his MFA from the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago in 2007.
Mike Schuh, Assistant Director, Fellowships and Operations
In addition to his work with the Gray Center, Mike is co-founder of Regards, a contemporary art gallery in Chicago, and has worked in exhibition planning and archiving at Susanne Veilmetter Los Angeles Projects, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. While in St. Louis he was also a co-founder of the exhibition and performance venue fort gondo.compound for the arts. Mike was featured in Newcity's 2019 Art 50 list in recognition for his work at Regards. As an artist, he has participated in exhibitions, screenings, and events across the United States. Mike studied filmmaking at Syracuse University, where he earned his BFA in 2001. He earned his MFA at the University of Chicago in Visual Art in 2009. Mike was also an artist in residence in 2010 at the Banff Art Centre.
Sabrina Craig, Film and Video Projects Manager
Sabrina has been a film programmer in Chicago for over 20 years, developing community- based screenings, innovative film programs, and opportunities to engage with media artists at multiple sites, including the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival (Taos, NM), Stony Island Arts Bank (Chicago), University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, and colleges and community centers throughout the Midwest. As program director for Women in the Director’s Chair, the largest festival of films and videos by women directors, she organized the annual 10-day festival, curated a year-round program of screenings and workshops, and developed a touring festival that traveled to dozens of campuses nationwide. She curated “A veces el viento cambia de aire,” a showcase of contemporary Mexican experimental film that screened in festivals across the US. As program manager for Black Cinema House, Sabrina worked with curator Jacqueline Stewart to present a weekly line-up of compelling screenings and visiting artists, as well as community filmmaking courses. As a board member of the Peace and Justice Radio Project, she developed a youth media literacy curriculum used in Chicago public high schools and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. She served two years as Chair of the LSC of her daughter’s Chicago public school. Sabrina earned her MA in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University, and her BA in Language and Society from Pomona College.
Naomi Blumberg, Managing Editor of Portable Gray
Naomi Blumberg is the Program Manager for the Arts, Science + Culture Initiative and the Managing Editor of Portable Gray. Before coming to UChicago, Naomi was an editor of arts and culture at Encyclopaedia Britannica, following many years working as a curator and exhibition coordinator at art and history museums including the Chicago History Museum, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College. She holds a BA from Barnard College in art history and a Master's from Tufts University in art history and museum studies.
An affiliate of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, the Arts, Science + Culture Initiative cultivates collaboration, active exchange, and sustained dialogue among those engaged in artistic and scientific inquiry within the University and beyond. The Initiative provides opportunities for scholars, students, and arts practitioners, in multiple domains, to pursue original investigations and explore new modes of artistic production and scientific inquiry. Breaking intellectual ground requires transcending disciplinary boundaries and venturing into unfamiliar territory. To that effect, the Initiative’s programs are designed to spark conversations and critically engage faculty, students and the public across a broad spectrum of areas including art history, astronomy and astrophysics, biology, chemistry, cinema and media studies, computer and information science, creative writing, literature, mathematics, medicine, music, molecular engineering, physics, theater, and visual arts.
For more about the Art, Science, and Culture Initiative at The University of Chicago please visit: