Gianina K. Lockley

Scholar, Performer, Educator

Gianina K. Lockley is a scholar and interdisciplinary artist whose research and creative interests focus on the study of race, class, gender and sexuality within both staged performances and the performance practices of everyday. She is a doctoral student in the School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and is currently pursuing a professional certificate in Women’s Studies.

Her work is situated at the intersection of critical race theory, ethnography, storytelling, dance, performance and decolonial studies. Gianina’s current work, "We’re All In This Together: From Motown, to Gangsta Jittin’, to Zimabwean Jiti” explores the genealogical traces of “the jit” in the music and dance industries of Detroit and Zimbabwe, and will be presented at the Dance Studies Association at Northwestern University in August 2019.

Lockley is a 2019 recipient of the James F. Harris Arts & Humanities Visionary Scholarship and ARHU Graduate Student Travel Grant; 2019 & 2018 recipient of the International Program for Creative Collaboration & Research Grant (South Africa & Ghana); 2017-2019 UMD Deans Fellow; and former Research Associate at the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of African Americans and the African Diaspora.

She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art and Media from Columbia College Chicago, BS in Chemistry from Howard University and certificates in Diversity and Inclusion, Project Leadership and Nonprofit Executive Leadership from Cornell University and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University. She has also studied abroad at the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya and has conducted autoethnographic research in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, India, Japan, and South Africa -- including visits to the slave castles of Cape Coast, Ghana.

She has won numerous awards for her work in promoting diversity in higher education including the Columbia College Chicago’s Graduate Opportunity Award (2008), Columbia College Chicago Diversity Award (2008), Getz Graduate Award (2007) and the Lya Dym Rosenblum travel grant (2007). She serves as a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant and facilitator to schools and professional organizations. 

Gianina has performed her one woman play, Just how black? (2009), an ethnoautobiographical exploration into the performativity of blackness throughout the African Diaspora, at The Kennedy Center's 15th Annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival; Stage TWO Theater; Book and Paper Gallery at Columbia College Chicago; and the Raw Space Gallery in Chicago.  Her work has been featured in many publications including the United States International University Gazette Newspaper in Nairobi, Kenya--I am point five (0.5): half-African, half-American (2004), and The Columbia Chronicle (Rodriques, 2003). 

She has worked as a museum educator and docent for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of African Art, and has held a work study position at The Dance Place in Northeast Washington, DC where she provided college planning workshops to their teen program.  Lockley has a fervent passion for West African dance and was a performing community member of Coyaba West African Dance Company under the leadership of Sylvia Soumah. 

When she's not doing all of the aforementioned you can catch her at a dance class in the DC area, at home binge watching various streaming services, or asleep.

Gianina wants you to know that she is newly infatuated with matcha lemonade.


Blackness is what I know best. I want to talk about it, with definitive illustration.
— Gwendolynn Brooks