Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud is an arts writer, curator, historian of art and performance. She is Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Performance Studies in the School of Drama at the University of Washington, with an affiliate appointment in Art History. Her work documents artists excluded from official archives, and advocates for the vital role of the arts in civic and everyday life.
Her research and teaching engage performance studies, theater history, aesthetic experimentation, Black aesthetics, critical race studies, feminist and queer of color critique, cultural and public policy, and geography.
An essayist, scholar, and arts journalist, her writing and interviews appear in Modern Drama, Performance Research, TDR: The Drama Review, Women & Performance, as well as in Art Forum, ASAP/J Online, Canadian Art Review, Common Reader, Crosscut, Howlround, Hyperallergic, LitHub, South Seattle Emerald, and Variable West.She co-edited Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theater and Performance (Northwestern University Press 2021) with Megan Geigner and Stuart Hecht, which was supported by the 2020 ASTR Collaborative Research Award.
From 2018 to 2021, she was faculty Seattle University, where she taught classes including “Public Policy and Advocacy in the Arts,” and “Black Lives Matter: Art Leadership, Theory, and Practice.” From 2016 to 2018, she was the Posdoctoral Fellow of Inequity and Identity in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where her courses included “Urban Ethnography in St. Louis.” She has received awards for her teaching from Northwestern University and Washington University in St. Louis. Since 2019, she has served as a teaching artist for TeenTix’s Press Corps program, helping to train and mentor the next generation of arts writers.
Committed to arts advocacy, she currently serves as a Governor Inslee appointed Washington State Arts Commissioner and Vice President of the Board of On the Boards. In 2019, along with graduate students in her “Public Policy and Advocacy in the Arts” class, she founded the Seattle Arts Voter Guide.
Mahmoud received her PhD in Performance Studies (with a certificate in African American and Diaspora Studies) from Northwestern University, MA in Arts Politics from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and BA in Government from Harvard University.
Much Longer Bio
Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud is a curator, arts advocate, and historian of art and performance. An essayist, scholar, and arts journalist. Her interdisciplinary work draws upon the fields and methodologies of Theater and Performance Studies; Art History, Black Aesthetics, and Theories of the Avant-Garde; Critical Race Studies and Feminist/Queer of Color Critique; Urban Ethnography; Political Economies of Performance; and Cultural Policy.
Jasmine Mahmoud’s research examines how artistic practice, aesthetics, race, and policy influence geographies, particularly processes of neighborhood change such as displacement, dispossession, and gentrification, and models for equitable and decolonial urbanism. Her research also investigates contemporary black aesthetics in dialogue with genealogies of U.S. spatial racism.
Her first book project, Avant-Garde Geographies: Race, Public Policy, and Experimentation in the Urban Frontier, investigates the trend of experimental art practices (including avant-garde theater, performance art, and social practice works) that take place in urban margins in early 21st century New York, Detroit, Chicago, and Seattle. Drawing upon policy analysis and ethnographic research with artists, venue owners, and policymakers, this book project centers narratives of minoritarian community members often excluded from gentrification scholarship.. She co-edited Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theatre and Performance (Northwestern University Press 2021) with Megan Geigner and Stuart Hecht, which received the 2020 ASTR Collaborative Research Award.
An assistant editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Jasmine Mahmoud’s scholarship has been published in Modern Drama, Performance Research, TDR: The Drama Review, Women & Performance, and the 2017 anthology Theater and Cultural Politics for a New World. An essayist, scholar, and arts journalist, her writing also appears in Art Forum, ASAP/J Online, Canadian Art Review, Common Reader, Howlround, Hyperallergic, and the South Seattle Emerald, where she wrote a monthly column centering BIPOC artists. In 2009, Mahmoud co-founded and edited The Arts Politic, an independent magazine dedicated to solving problems at the intersection of arts and politics with attention to cultural policy, the creative economy, arts activism, and political art. Previously, she worked as a journalist, writing for Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts (2007-2011). Her research, writing, and teaching have been supported by awards and grants from ASTR (American Society for Theatre Research), Critical Minded, as well as from Northwestern, Seattle University, and Washington University in St. Louis.
Informed by Performance Studies pedagogies, Jasmine Mahmoud’s teaching practice is dedicated to developing civic and empathetic engagements committed to centering the arts and aesthetics as a means to study leadership, urbanism, and culture. While Postdoctoral Fellow in Inequality and Identity in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, she designed and instructed “Black Lives Matter: Art, Theory, and Practice,” “Performing Race in American Culture,” and “Urban Ethnography in St. Louis,” where students produced a final performance ethnography and research project about a site of culture in the St. Louis region. This teaching has been recognized with an Unsung Hero Award from Washington University and the Dwight Conquergood for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.
Mahmoud has curated, produced, and performed in projects with an attention to aesthetics, race, and politics. These include “After the Quiet: on Black Figures and Folds” in 2022 at Mini Mart City Park, “Nortwest Black” in 2021 at Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery,” and “Abstractions of Black Citizenship” African American Art from Saint Louis” in 2020 at Hedreen Gallery as well as “Black Arts, Black Lives” in 2017 at Washington University in St. Louis, as well “Performing Black Futures” in 2020 online, “Vital Memories” in 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, and “Spectacular Labor” in 2016 in Evanston and Chicago, IL, three pre/post-conferences (or mini-conferences) for the Performance Studies Focus Group at the annual (ATHE) Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference.
Committed to arts advocacy, she currently serves as a Governor Inslee appointed Washington State Arts Commissioner and Vice President of On the Boards. She previously served as a member of the 4Culture Covid-19 Relief Task Force, and as a Seattle Office of Arts and Culture BASE (Building Arts Space Equitably) 2019-2020 cohort member. She has worked in public policy, at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law (2005-2007), and with Arts Corps (2010), an arts education non-profit organization in Seattle. She served on the board of Arts Corps from 2014 to 2016, led planning efforts for Festa, the annual Arts Corps fundraiser, in 2015 and 2016.
Jasmine Mahmoud received her PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, MA in Arts Politics from the Department of Art and Public Policy at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and BA in Government from Harvard University, where in 2003, she served as Associate Editor of The Harvard Crimson.