Press Releases

Writer and Performance Artist Gabrielle Civil Joins the Faculty of the School of Critical Studies at CalArts

Writer and Performance Artist Gabrielle Civil Joins the Faculty of the School of Critical Studies at CalArts

Valencia, CA, June 7—The School of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is pleased to announce the appointment of Gabrielle Civil as new faculty in creative nonfiction.   “Creative nonfiction,” notes the writer and performance artist, “can question authority, counter opinion, engage observation, redress representation, tickle the imagination, and archive witness.” She will begin teaching MFA Creative Writing and BFA Critical Studies courses in Fall 2018.

Civil defines her performance art at the intersection of poetry, installation and conceptual art. In ARC magazine, Angellique V. Nixon commented that Civil, “draws on her experiences as a Black diasporic subject, African-Haitian-American, first generation middle class, reader, teacher, traveler and woman of dark body and inventive mind with the aim to open up space. Her work makes the body, particularly as Black woman, dark skinned, and full-figured, visible and present.”

“Gabrielle brings CalArts more than twenty years of award-winning university and community teaching experience, and robust writing, translation and performance practices, said Tisa Bryant, Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at CalArts. “This, coupled with her energy, industriousness, enthusiasm, and her established track record in programmatic and cultural initiatives, make her a fantastic addition to our faculty.”

A widely published writer, journal editor and Fulbright Fellow, Civil is the author of the memoir Swallow the Fish, which intersperses original performance texts, essays, and images with critical meditations on black feminist performance practice. Her soon-to-be-released book, Experiments in Joy, engages race, performance, and collaboration in essays, scores, critical dialogues, and performance texts.

Civil is also the author of Tourist Art, a collaboration with Haitian visual artist Vladimir Cybil Charlier, and is developing her translation of Haitian poet Jacqueline Beaugé-Rosier’s book-length poem, A vol d’ombre / At Shadow Flight.  In addition, she has designed and facilitated workshops in writing and performance in California, New York City, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Haiti, among other places.

Originally from Detroit, Civil holds a B.A. degree in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, where she graduated with distinction, as well as an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University.  She was a tenured professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH, and at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, MN. For the 2017-2018 academic year, Civil served as the Laura C. Harris Scholar in Residence in Gender and Women’s Studies at Denison University in Granville, OH.