Artists, Speakers, and Panelists

Cécile Accilien is the Director of the Institute of Haitian Studies at the University of Kansas. She is also an associate professor of Haitian Studies in the Department of African and African-American Studies. Her primary areas of interest include Haitian film, visual arts, literature, language, and culture; Gender Studies; Film Studies. Her current manuscript is entitled Haitian Hollywood: Recreating Home in Exile.




Giselle Liza Anatol is the President of the international Association of Caribbean Women Writers & Scholars. The organization began in the late 1980s as a forum for female creative writers from the Caribbean, and has evolved into a network of scholars who study their work plus women of Caribbean heritage who write and/or write about history, the law, music, social policy, physical and mental health, the STEM fields, and other academic and professional disciplines that can generate a rich and productive dialogue. Anatol is also a professor of Caribbean and African diasporic literature at KU. She has published numerous articles on the works of authors such as Jamaica Kincaid, Audre Lorde, Nalo Hopkinson, Derek Walcott, Langston Hughes, and Jacqueline Woodson. Her most recent monograph is titled The Things That Fly in the Night: Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-Caribbean and African Diaspora (Rutgers UP, 2015).


Ulrick Jean-Pierre has resided in New Orleans since 1997. He is fascinated by the deep connections between Haiti and New Orleans and has stated that living in New Orleans has made him feel as if he never left Haiti. Jean-Pierre received his foundational training from Haitian masters at the Foyer des Arts Plastiques in Port-au-Prince and was influenced by artists such as Louverture Poisson, Rosemarie Desruisseaux, René and Lavorancy Exumé, Enguerrand Gourgue, and Archibald Lochard. Although his large-format paintings tackle diverse topics and subject matter, all are united by a similar aesthetic and common emphasis on historic figures and events.Throughout his career, he has created several series of work, each united by common themes and elements. From his earlier work, the “Vèvè” series is especially noteworthy. A vèvè is a religious symbol that consists of geometrical drawings used in Vodou ceremony to represent the various lwas, or spirits.  Subsequent paintings from his “Social Life” and “Haitian Historical” series respectively illustrate scenes of daily reality and historical events that have defined Haiti, from the arrival of Columbus to contemporary happenings. Most recently, he has been expanding his “Louisiana Historical Series,” which focuses on prominent Haitian people connected to New Orleans, such as Marie Laveau, Henriette DeLille, James Audubon, and Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable.

Krista Thompson is the Mary Jane Crowe Professor in Art History at Northwestern University. She researches and teaches the modern and contemporary art and visual culture of the Africa diaspora, with an emphasis on photography. She is author of An Eye for the Tropics (Duke University Press, 2006), Developing Blackness (The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, 2008), and Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice (Duke University Press, 2015), recipient of the Charles Rufus Morey Award for distinguished book in the history of art from the College Art Association (2016). Thompson is the co-editor (with Claire Tancons) of En Mas': Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean (D.A.P., 2015) and her articles have appeared in American ArtArt BulletinArt Journal, RepresentationsThe Drama Review, and Small Axe. She has received grants and fellowships from the Andy Warhol Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and was awarded the David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art in 2009.

Apricot Anderson Irving is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship and has served on the Advisory Committee of the Oregon Book Awards. Her work has appeared in GrantaMORE MagazineOregon Humanities and the anthology Best Women’s Travel Writing. She is currently based in the woods outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two sons, but has also lived in Haiti, Indonesia, and the UK. Her missionary parents moved to Haiti when she was six years old; she left at the age of fifteen. She returned to the north of Haiti in the spring of 2010 to cover the earthquake for the radio program This American Life. She is the founder and director of the renowned oral history project, Boise Voices, a collaboration between youth and elders to record the stories of a neighborhood in the midst of gentrification. She has also dug trees in the rain, painted curbs, waited tables, taught in MFA programs and as a visiting writer in high schools, and lugged a microphone across three continents to record the stories of heroic, ordinary people. The Gospel of Trees is her first book. ​

Daryl Dance is a folklorist and a professor Emrita of English, University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2013, she served as the Sterling A. brown Chair of English at Howard University. Dance has served as advisory editor of the Black American Literary Forum and editorial advisor of the Journal of West Indian Literature. Dance has published ten books including Honey Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor (1998), From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore (2002), and In Search of Annie Drew: Jamaica Kincaid's Mother and Muse (2016).

Crystal A. Felima, PhD is the 2017-2019 CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Caribbean Studies Data Curation for the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida.. Her work explores the emerging trends and best practices in digital humanities and critical pedagogies in Caribbean Studies. Dr. Felima’s interdisciplinary background draws from Africana studies and cultural anthropology. Her primary research areas of interest include environmental hazards, development, and governance in Haiti. For her doctoral research, Dr. Felima spent a cumulative 27 months in Haiti to conduct her fieldwork. Her dissertation focuses on disaster narratives from river communities in northern Haiti. For more information about her work, visit her website: and follow her on twitter: @phelima

Tamara Falicov is a professor of film studies and has worked at the KU since 1998. She received her doctorate in Communication from UC San Diego, where she wrote a dissertation on state cultural policy in relation to the contemporary film industry in Argentina. She also received a degree in sociology from UC Berkeley. She received a Fulbright student research award to study the film industry in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the 1997-98 academic year. Professor Falicov's specialty is Latin American Cinema, with particular focus on the film histories of Argentina and Cuba. A newer field of interest is the increased importance of global film festivals and how these platforms for exhibition and potential distribution enable Latin American filmmakers to make inroads into the global market. Her research has appeared in the following journals: Studies in Latin American Popular CultureSouthern QuarterlyCanadian Journal of CommunicationMedia, Culture, and Society, Framework, and Film and History. She has authored a chapter on Argentine blockbuster movies for the anthology Movie Blockbusters, edited by Julian Stringer (Routledge, 2003).


Rachel Denney is a Ph.D. candidate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with concentrations in Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her dissertation research focuses on the relationship between developing state governments and non-governmental organizations in Central America and the Caribbean. From Fall 2013-Spring 2015, Rachel was a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow, studying Haitian Creole. Since Fall 2015, she has served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the WGSS department. She was an Institute for Policy and Social Research Fellow in 2015-16. Rachel has a professional background in the international non-profit sector.