Lisa Gaye Dixon—Department of Theatre
Lou Turner—Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Lisa Gaye Dixon is a professor of theatre, producer for Illinois Theatre, and professional actress. She has worked professionally across the country and around the globe, beginning her career with the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago in a revival of Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She has had the good fortune to work on the stages of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the New Globe Theatre in London and at various regional theatres in the United States including the Attic Theatre in Detroit, Performance Network, the Lost Nation Theatre in Vermont, the Kitchen Theatre and the GEVA Center in New York, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Shakespeare, and the Goodman Theatre. In 2015 she premiered her one-woman show entitled My Case Is Altered: Tales of a 21st Century Roaring Girl under the direction of internationally recognized choreographer and director Struan Leslie at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Her professional directing credits include Detroit '67 (Clarence Brown), Ladyish, and King Lear. Her film credits include The Trouble with Men and Women (BBC/IFC), Leading Ladies, and Using and her most recent starring role in the short film Ruby Love. As poet, playwright, and devisor, Lisa finds interest in the intersections of humanity—where we may find universality of experience inside the specificity of identity.
Lou Turner is currently a lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Black Arts curriculum coordinator for the College of Fine and Applied Arts. He is a former academic advisor and curriculum coordinator for the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois (2008–17). Previously, he was assistant professor of sociology, for 14 years, at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where he taught racial and ethnic relations, sociology, criminology, public policy, urban sociology, and social theory. Lou Turner was the research and public policy director (and later consultant) for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) on Chicago's far South Side (2000–2014). DCP is the South Side community organization founded by Barack Obama. He guided DCP's strategic and public policy work on the $2.4 billion mass transit capital project to extend the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line from 95th Street to the city limits at 130th Street near the Altgeld Gardens public housing project. Turner facilitated numerous public transportation studies on the Red Line extension with the Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology funded by the Regional Transportation Authority, the Chicago Community Trust, the Woods Fund, and other foundations and governmental agencies. He also organized a successful campaign to place a policy referendum on the 2004 ballot on the Red Line extension, which received the largest vote total of any referendum in Chicago. The synergy of public policy and community organizing that Lou Turner modeled in his work with DCP garnered the Chicago Donors Forum's Community Organizing Award for DCP in 2007. Lou Turner has contributed policy assessments of legislation sponsored by State Representative Carol Ammons and has presented policy briefings to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus on legislation affecting low-wage workers and university students. Lou Turner is a member of the board of directors of the African American Leadership and Policy Institute in Chicago. He also serves on the board of directors of Dreaam House in Champaign, Illinois.
Lou Turner has taught such courses as Introduction to African American Studies, Theory in African American Studies, Black Freedom Movements, Black Liberation Psychology, and Humanistic Perspectives in African American Studies. He is coauthor of Frantz Fanon, Soweto, and American Black Thought (1978; 1986) and is currently coauthoring an African American studies textbook, Introduction to Critical Black Studies, with history professor Sundiata Cha-Jua. Lou Turner is a longtime scholar of the work of black revolutionary psychiatrist Frantz Fanon. With counseling psychology professor Helen Neville, Turner recently coedited a first-ever collection of papers, for Routledge Press, on global Fanonian psychotherapeutic practices entitled Frantz Fanon's Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Clinical Work: Practicing Internationally with Marginalized Communities (2020). Turner's book Frantz Fanon, Soweto, and American Black Thought circulated in the South African underground of the Black Consciousness Movement during the struggle to bring down apartheid. His current work on Frantz Fanon is oriented around Fanon's psychology of racial oppression and black resistance articulated in Fanon's expression that has gone viral in the Black Lives Matter/George Floyd uprising—"When we revolt it's not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe."