Jen White-Johnson

“If you feel like you’re really empowered by a specific topic, or theme, or agenda… stick with it, and learn it, and educate yourself. Whether that’s related to like a specific color that pops up in your designs all the time, or a word, or a character… just milk it. Continue to just embolden yourself with those particular tools, because those are the things that are going to get you noticed.”

—Jen White-Johnson, Neurodiverse + Disabled AfroLatina, Designer and Photographer for Collective Liberation, HBCU Design Professor, she/her/ella

Advocating and Uplifting Joy.

Our guest, Jen White-Johnson a Designer, Photographer, Art Activist, and Art Educator. She teaches as an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at Bowie State University (HBCU) where her work focuses on the intersection of content and caregiving with an emphasis on redesigning ableist visual culture. When her son was diagnosed as Autistic at age 2 she began to examine the absence of black disabled children in digital and literary media, this motivated the release of an advocacy photo zine entitled “KnoxRoxs.” Dedicated to her Autistic son, the zine is a way to give visibility to children of color in the black Autistic community. 

Since its release, the zine has received national and international recognition, including features in AfroPunk, Today at Apple, and is permanently archived in Libraries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This year her activist work has been featured in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Crip Camp, and she was recently selected as an honoree on the 2020 Diversability’s D-30 Disability Impact List.

It’s for her advocacy and her artistic impact that I have on the podcast, and I hope you enjoy the candid nature in which we discuss her artistic voice and how visuals help advance the conversation around black and brown disabled voices.


Mentions

Upcoming Events

2021 Harvard Latina Empowerment and Development Conference (LEAD)
Arts Panelist
Jan 16, 2021
Harvard College
http://www.harvardleadconference.org/

State of Black Design, Past, Present, and Future
Panelist
April 9-10, 2021
Texas State University College of Art and Design
@TXSTATECOMDES

FATE 2021 Conference: Infrastructure
Panelist
April 15-17 2021
UNC Charlotte
https://www.foundationsart.org/2021conference

Credits

Produced by //  HearSay Productions
Music by // Intro and Outro The System Has Failed Us – The Passion HiFi

Where else to find Jen White-Johnson:

An educator, designer, and a creative catalyst, George is a native New Yorker who started a podcast in 2017, because he didn't like to write. He also wanted a way to learn and chronicle varied ways or making. We hope you enjoy his journey.

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Episode 14