Chris Walker is a professor of dance and founding artistic director of the First Wave program in the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the co-artistic director for the #BARS Workshop at The Public Theatre in NYC, a lab series for artists to investigate the intersection between contemporary verse and theater, created by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. He is also a senior choreographer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, and program director for the New Waves Dance & Performance Institute in Trinidad & Tobago.
Walker creates contemporary dance, theater and performance artwork rooted in the visual and performance cultures of the African Diaspora. He works in the disciplines of dance, theater, film/video. He served as movement director for two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale, which ran at the Public’s Martinson Hall and he is the recent choreographer for The Secret Life of Bees, The Musical produced by Atlantic Theatre in NYC. Walker has collaborated with Laura Anderson Barbata to develop Jus Luv/Rolling Calf a Jamaican ‘mas’ for her Intervention: Indigo project, a performance that was presented in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Brooklyn, NY.
His concert dance work has been presented in Europe, Asia and throughout the Americas. His collaboration with Kevin Ormsby and KasheDance in Toronto titled FACING Home: Love & Redemption is currently and has been on tour internationally since its premiere in 2015. He has received numerous international and national grants and honors for his creative research work. He recently completed a Romnes Fellowship, which supported his research on homophobia in the African Diaspora and in 2020 he was named one of the School of Education’s Impact 2030 Faculty Fellows.
An annual Arts-centered panel presented in collaboration between the Division of the Arts and DDEEA that delves into the intersection of the Arts with the annual theme of the Diversity Forum, and with UW Madison’s faculty, staff, students and community members.
This year, our panel of advocates, artists, creatives, designers, and cultural practitioners explores the arts’ profound impact on fostering belonging, essential for flourishing and inclusive communities. We delve into:
1) how the arts embrace differences, celebrate similarities, and cultivate belonging.
2) the intersection of art, diversity, and community practice, highlighting scholar-artists and practitioners.
3) the arts’ powerful role in fostering unity and understanding.
Discover how the arts empower UW Madison’s faculty, staff, students, and community members, elevating cultural activities beyond aesthetics and promoting harmony through diversity. Explore how ‘Artful Connections’ negotiates access versus a sense of belonging.