Natasha Trethewey was born in Mississippi to professor Eric Trethewey and social worker Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough. The daughter of a mixed-race marriage, she spent time in Atlanta with her mother and in New Orleans with her father. Trethewey earned an MA in English from Hollins University, and received an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Mississippi and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States.
Richard Ashrowan is a moving image artist who lives and works in the Scottish Borders. He works primarily with 16mm film and HD video, creating short single channel films, immersive video installations and live multi-projector performance experiments. His works are exhibited at artist-led spaces, galleries and film festivals around the world.
Bayeté Ross Smith is an artist, photographer, and educator living in New York City. His work is interdisciplinary, using the medium best suited for each idea.
Bill Burke (b. 1943) received both his BFA and MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. His works are in many museum collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many others.
Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Her films, rather than telling stories, pose a series of problems – and through their at times ambiguous nature, allow for a complicated reading of the questions being asked. She is the recipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, a Creative Capital award, and she currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.