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Jen White-Johnson is a Afro-Latina, disabled artist, designer, educator, and activist, whose visual work explores the intersection of content and caregiving with an emphasis on redesigning ableist visual culture.
As an artist-educator with Graves disease and ADHD, her heart-centered and electric approach to disability advocacy bolsters these movements with invaluable currencies: powerful, dynamic art and media that all at once educates, bridges divergent worlds, and builds a future that mirrors her Autistic son’s experience.
When her son was diagnosed as Autistic at age 2 she began to examine the absence of black disabled children in digital and literary media, this motivated the release of an advocacy photo zine entitled "KnoxRoxs." Dedicated to her Autistic son.
The zine is a way to give visibility to children of color in the black Autistic community. The photozine helped to contribute to the rare framework centering autism acceptance in families of color, amplify conversations with the Disability community, igniting the continued need to develop anti-racist, and anti-ableist media.
Since its release, the zine has received national and international recognition and is permanently archived in Libraries at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Firestone Library at Princeton University.
Her activist and advocacy work has been featured in The Washington Post, AfroPunk, New York Times, Teen Vogue, Latina.com, Crip Camp: The Official Virtual Experience. In 2020 she was selected as an honoree on the Diversability’s D-30 Disability Impact List and was listed on today.com as one of 20 Latina artists to watch in 2021.
Jen has presented, consulted and collaborated with a number of brand initiatives, art spaces, and universities across print and digital, in addition to facilitating events centering disability art and design advocacy. These presentations and collaborations include Nike, Converse, Twitter, Amazon, Today at Apple, and Google Stories.
She’s also guest lectured and facilitated design workshops at the following academic institutions: Harvard College, Stanford University, Howard University, Bowie State University, Maryland Institiute College of Art, Stevenson University, McDaniel College, University of Maryland College Park, Wonsook Kim School of Art, Illinois State University, Texas State University, Tisch School of the Arts/ NYU Center for Disability Studies and The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability.
Jen taught as an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication and Digital Media Arts at Bowie State University for ten years and currently teaches at the University of Minnesota as a Guest Lecturer as a part of The UMN School of Design - Design Justice Initiative. Jen holds an MFA in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA in Visual Arts from University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Jen is currently available for speaking engagements and leading workshops that incorporate the following topics:
Art & Design Activism
Neurodiversity, Disability, & Self Advocacy
Joy as an Act of Resistance
Mothering & Caregiving Communities
Zine and Collage Making