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Jacqueline Stewart, the noted film scholar, programmer and educator, has been named chief artistic and programming officer of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a newly created executive position, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday.
Stewart, who will start work in January 2021 and report to Museum director and president Bill Kramer, will lead strategy and planning for the Academy Museum’s curatorial, educational and public programming initiatives including exhibitions, screenings, symposia, publications, workshops and K-12 programs.
“Jacqueline Stewart is a powerful leader in the film world,” Kramer said in a statement. “Her inspiring history of scholarship, teaching, programming, building community partnerships and archival work combined with her dedication to inclusivity and accessibility make her an ideal leader for the museum. With her remarkable ability to engage the public and her commitment to showcasing the diverse and fascinating history of the movies, she will be a vital part of our mission to advance the understanding, celebration and preservation of cinema.”
Said Stewart, “As a scholar who researches, teaches, presents and archives films, I see how cinema shapes our understandings of history and culture, of other people and ourselves, in profound and enduring ways. In my work to create welcoming spaces for people to experience films, I have seen that movies have a unique ability to galvanize dialogue and cultivate empathy. I am excited to join the Academy Museum team at this critical moment for the institution, and for our world, to engage visitors and partners in accessible, multifaceted conversations about the history of filmmaking and the impact that cinema has on our lives.”
Stewart joins the Academy Museum from the University of Chicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies, where she teaches American film history, specializing in African American cinema from the silent era to the present. Stewart also is the Director of the university’s Arts + Public Life initiative, which provides platforms for artists and access to arts programming through artist residencies, arts education, creative entrepreneurship and artist-led programs and exhibitions.
She currently serves on the curatorial advisory committee for the Academy Museum’s upcoming exhibition Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971, which explores the visual culture of Black cinema from its early days to just after the civil rights movement.
An award-winning writer, Stewart is the author of Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity, a study of African Americans and silent cinema, and was the co-editor of L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, a landmark study of the first generation of film-school-trained Black filmmakers out of UCLA, including Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, and Haile Gerima. Stewart’s writings have appeared in Critical Inquiry, Film Quarterly, Film History and The Moving Image. She has forthcoming books on directors William Greaves and Spencer Williams.
Stewart’s research has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2019, Stewart was a senior fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C.
She also hosts “Silent Sunday Nights” on Turner Classic Movies, which showcases silent films from all over the world, and co-curated Pioneers of African American Cinema for Kino Lorber, a collection of works of early African American filmmakers. A native of Chicago’s South Side, Stewart founded the South Side Home Movie Project in 2005 to preserve, digitize and screen amateur footage documenting everyday life from the perspectives of South Side residents.
A passionate film archivist and advocate for film preservation, Stewart studied moving image archiving at UCLA and the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy. She is a three-term appointee to the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB), which advises the Librarian of Congress on film preservation policy. As chair of the NFPB Diversity Task Force, Stewart led the drafting of reports on diversity, equity and inclusion on the National Film Registry and in the film archive profession. Stewart has served on the Boards of Chicago Film Archives, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the Association of Moving Image Archivists.
Stewart has held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Chicago and her BA in English from Stanford University.
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