Jennifer Scott, an Anthropologist, Public Historian, and Curator, has worked with a number of history centers, museums, arts and cultural organizations for over twenty-five years, including the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience, Brooklyn Historical Society, StoryCorps, and the Place Matters Project with City Lore. Since 2003, she has been a Part Time Assistant Professor in the New School for Public Engagement and in Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory. Professor Scott offers courses in cultural anthropology, arts and social engagement, race and ethnic studies, global studies and museum studies. She has also served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute’s Art and Cultural Management Graduate School of Art and Design, where she designed and taught the course Cultural Pluralism in the US: Museum Exhibitions and Issues of Cultural Representation.
As Jane Addams Hull-House Museum Director and Chief Curator, Jennifer leads the exhibitions, community engagement efforts and overall vision of the museum. Under her leadership, Hull-House addresses historical and contemporary issues of peace, incarceration, immigration, citizenship, race, gender, sexuality, and social activism through a number of ground-breaking exhibitions and programs both within and outside the museum’s walls. Previously, she served for ten years as the Vice Director and Director of Research and Collections at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, a historic house museum specializing in innovative applications of history, culture, and the arts. At Weeksville, she performed historical and curatorial research on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century communities, co-curated exhibitions, launched a "Lost Jazz Shrines of Brooklyn" jazz history project that produced the only archive on Brooklyn jazz histories, and supervised all collections, preservation, history and intellectual initiatives. As a Fulbright Scholar, she conducted research in West Africa, studying women dressmakers and textiles in urban Accra, Ghana. Profesor Scott researches, writes and lectures both locally and internationally on arts and civic engagement, social relevancy, social justice, cultural sustainability, public memory and innovative strategies for museums in the participatory era. She is a contributor to a number of museum, heritage and history publications. She holds degrees in Philosophy, African American Studies/History, and Anthropology from Stanford University; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, respectively.
Board Member, Association of Midwest Museums (AMM) / Co-Chair for AMM 2018 Annual Conference, 2017- Present.
Mentor Curator for HATCH Projects, artist & curatorial residencies at the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), 2016-2017.
Juror for “Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition,” national competition sponsored by the American Alliance of Museum’s (AAM) Curators Committee (CurCom) in cooperation with EdCom and NAME, 2016-2018.
“Are Museums the Rightful Home for Confederate Monuments?” American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Center for the Future of Museums (CFM) Blog, April 3, 2018. Co-authored by: Janeen Bryant, Benjamin Filene, Louis Nelson, Jennifer Scott, and Suzanne Seriff as a preview for a session at the 2018 AAM annual meeting.
"Designing for Outrage: Inviting Contested Truth Into Museum Exhibitions" (in Exhibition, National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME) (Spring 2017)
Contributor to Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums, Third Edition, Edward Alexander, Mary Alexander and Juliee Decker; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 3rd edition, March 2017.
Co-Editor for Museums and Civic Discourse: Past, Present and Emerging Futures, (forthcoming- project:2015- Present)
“Resources on Justice – Jennifer Scott,” Open Engagement, April 19, 2017.
“Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-first Century at a Post-Emancipation Site,” (The Public Historian, University of California Press, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 73–88, May 2015).
Anywhere but Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond, (University Press of Mississippi/ January 2015; Paperback September 2017)
“History Off the Chain: Liberating the Narrative,” (Inspiring Action: Museums and Social Change, Museumsetc/ Edinburgh ; reprinted 2016)
“Taken Not Granted: Radical Democratic Concepts of Freedom in Museums,” (The Radical Museum: democracy, dialogue & debate, MuseumID/ 2011)
“The Relevancy – Driven Museum,” (The Museum: Agent of Social Change, Heritage365/ 2008)
“Exodus in Limestone,” Hidden New York: A Guide to Places that Matter (Rutgers University Press/ 2006)
“Past, Present, and Future: The Changing Roles of Women in Planning,” invited panelist for mini-symposium, Women, Gender, Planning in the Workplace. Sponsored by the Department of Urban Policy and Planning at University of Illinois at Chicago, Women in Planning and Public Affairs (WPPA), the Latino Planning Organization for Development, Education, and Regeneration (LPODER), and the Society for Black Urban Planners (SBUP). Great Cities Institute, UIC, Chicago, Il, March 16, 2018.
“Participatory Arts: Using Contemporary Art to Activate Social Justice Issues at Historic Sites" invited presentation for symposium: Contemporary Art in Historic Places, 2018 CAP Symposium,Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida, February 25-27, 2018.
Webinar Presentation: Designing for Outrage: Inviting Disruption into Exhibitions. Live, 90-minute webcast hosted by American Alliance of Museums and National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME), December 14, 2017.
In the Company of Radical Women" PastForward 2017, radical women's history workshop for National Trust for HIstoric Preservation Conference, Chicago, IL, November 14-17, 2017
“The Power of Moments in Leading Neighborhood Preservation/ Change," 2017 Activating Heritage Conference, Chicago Cultural Alliance, Chicago, IL, November 13, 2017.
Spatial Justice and Expanded Creative Practice,” Artists in Communities, Public Art Symposium & Public Art Plan, Sponsored by the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL, Oct.26-27, 2017
"Sustainability of Black Archives" Symposium sponsored by Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn, New York, October 7, 2017.
“‘Making the West Side’ Digs Deep Into History of Museum’s Backyard,” WBEZ, 91.5 Chicago, Morning Shift radio program, August 29, 2017.
"Designing For Outrage" for Designing Emotion panel, sponsored by the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME). American Alliance of Museums (AAM) 2017 Annual Meeting and Museum Expo, St. Louis, MO, May 7, 2017.
Centering Outrage: Engaging Marginalized Histories in Museums” Keynote Address for Institute: Rethinking the Museum Through Collaboration and Community-Based Curatorial Practices, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, April 24-26, 2017.
“Activating Marginalized Histories: Museums as Catalysts for Social Change.” Keynote Address - part of lecture series: Dangerous Memories: Conversations around the past, social justice and constructing university memory, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, March 21, 2017.
“Arts and Civic Strategy: Recognizing the Capacity of Arts and Culture to Bring Us Closer to the Society We Want to See,” sponsored by the Joyce Foundation Culture Convening Series in the Great Lakes, Chicago, IL, February 24, 2017.
“Using History to Engage Communities on Chicago’s West Side,” part of Memorializing Displacement, two-day conference, hosted by Washington University and the University of Missouri St. Louis, October 28, 2016.
“Leveraging History: Participation, Exclusion and Citizenship,” Museum Ideas 2016, Annual Conference, Science Museum, London, England, October 5, 2016.
“Preserving Communities: Rehabilitating Preservation Through Civic Engagement,” National Parks Symposium: Challenging the Exclusive Past: Can Federal Agencies Help Re-orient and Diversify Public Culture in the 21st Century? Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland, March 16, 2016.
“Participatory History: Museums and Public Engagement,” Keynote Address for 10-year Anniversary Lecture for Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Graduate Institute on Public Engagement and the Academy, University of Iowa, Iowa, March 4, 2016.
“Art and Pedagogy” and “Education and the Right to the City,” Creative Time Summit, New York, October, 2015.
Anywhere But Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond, “Cultural Mastery in Foreign Spaces: Evolving Visions of Home and Identity,” 14th Annual Transatlantic Studies Association Conference, Roosevelt Study Center, Middelburg, The Netherlands, July, 2015.
“Radical Museology” Keynote for Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV), Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, April, 2015.
“History and Civic Engagement,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, April, 2015.
“Museums and Public History Sites” Healing History: memory, legacy and social change. Sponsored by Initiatives of Change/Hope in the Cities in collaboration with the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. Richmond, Virginia, April, 2015.
“Museums and Activism” in conjunction with exhibition, Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties (March 7–July 6, 2014), Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York, April 5, 2014.
“Art and Social Practice in Urban Spaces,” sponsored by Grey Art Gallery, New York University, NYU Florence, Italy, and Creative Time, La Pietra Conference Center, Florence, Italy, December 2, 2012.
“Changing the World: Perspectives on the Caribbean Diaspora,” reflecting with artists/filmmakers on the evolution of the transatlantic space and the contemporary, on 50 years of independence for Jamaica and Trinidad. The British Museum, London, England, October 6, 2012.
“Normalcy as Innovation: Radical Dignity and the Right to Historical Inclusion” as part of the session, “Building a Fairer Future: Social Responsibility and Cultural Sustainability” for Museum Ideas 2012 Conference: Innovation in the Participatory Era, Museum of London, Docklands, London, England, October 3, 2012.
“Building a 21st Century Museum: Innovative Interpretations of Freedom and Approaches to Fundraising, Research, and Programming,” Association of African American Museums (AAAM) Annual Conference: Commemorating Struggles, Claiming Freedom, Reginald Lewis Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, August 2012.
“Early African & African-American Communities in New York 17th to 19th Centuries” Schomburg Center for Research and Culture, New York, July, 2011.
“Art on Parade: Between Procession and Demonstration, Carnival and Spectacle,” Wyoming, Ludlow 38 Gallery, Goethe Center, New York, New York, October 23, 2009.
“The Use of Textiles in the Work of Yinka Shonibare,” Gallery Talk for exhibition, “Yinka Shonibare MBE,” Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York, a major mid-career survey of work by UK/ Nigerian artist, Aug.8, 2009.
“Traditional and Contemporary African Dress,” Program in Costume Studies, Department of Art and Art Professions, New York University, New York, March 26, 2009.
Ethnology/ Ethnography; Women, Dress & Textiles; Material Culture; Narrative/Oral history; Public Memory, Contested Heritage Sites, Museums and Public Engagement; Diaspora; West Africa
Museums and Social Justice