Terrance Dean named first Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Scholar-in-Residence

Year-long residency in Columbus, Ohio, designed to preserve and activate legacy of late MacArthur Fellow artist and writer

Scholar-in-residence Terrance Dean

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) announces that Terrance Dean, Ph.D., has been named the first Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Scholar-in-Residence. Dean is assistant professor of Black Studies at Denison University. As the scholar-in-residence, Dean is tasked with developing scholarly programs related to the Aminah Robinson Legacy Project at CMA, including lectures, symposia, conversations and courses on themes such as race, gender, religion, Black intellectualism and Afrofuturism. The 12-month residency began in January 2022.

“Aminah Robinson’s inspired work deserves to be better known nationally and internationally, and through this residency, the Columbus Museum of Art underscores its commitment to advance the legacy of this outstanding and influential Columbus artist,” said Nannette V. Maciejunes, CMA’s executive director and CEO.

The Aminah Robinson Scholar-In-Residence program was created by the Columbus Museum of Art to support the study of the score of Aminah Robinson Estate resources: books, manuscripts, journals and artifacts for historical recording, teaching, and learning in education settings.

Among the scholar-in-residence’s responsibilities are helping to establish the Aminah Robinson Library and Archives; bridging the academic community and the public community around culture, critical thinking and activism; developing curricula on aesthetics, performance, race and gender as they relate to the Aminah Robinson Legacy Project; inviting guest speakers from various institutions and across sectors; enriching CMA’s partnerships with Columbus schools; and encouraging and promoting Columbus and Ohio archival research.

“To have a scholar of Terrance Dean’s caliber on board for this critical work of sharing the broad applications of Aminah Robinson’s importance with future generations will have a tremendous impact on our visitors and our communities,” said Deidre Hamlar, director of the Aminah Robinson Legacy Project, and co-curator of CMA’s recent exhibition, Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals.

Dean received his doctorate in Religion and African American Diaspora studies from Vanderbilt University. His research interests include gender, sex, sexuality, Black religion and Homiletics, rhetoric and communication, African Diaspora, Black Cultural Studies, James Baldwin and Afrofuturism. He publishes widely and has presented lectures and workshops across the country. Dean also serves on the editorial board of The Columbus Dispatch, helping to bring awareness and visibility to marginalized groups of people, particularly people of color.

“The extraordinary combination of time and funding that this residency represents is a rare gift,” said Dean. “I am honored to be chosen to design and implement public programs and foster research that align with Aminah Robinson’s vision, values and achievements. I look forward to engaging with the museum and the Columbus community on a variety of initiatives.”

This is the first Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Scholar-In-Residence appointment since the program was inaugurated. The residency is made possible through a gift from Museum supporter Trudy Bartley.

“Aminah Robinson’s stories are of Black people that have largely been ignored … stories that need to be preserved, recorded and retold,” said Bartley. “CMA’s Aminah Robinson scholar-in-residence allows Aminah’s legacy to be expanded upon through research, scholarship and publications that will expose students and historians to Aminah’s genius. I am very pleased to support Dr. Terrance Dean as he fulfills this mission.”

Born in 1940 in Columbus, Ohio, Robinson was raised in Poindexter Village and moved with her family to the Shepard community. She eventually purchased her own home in Shepard in 1974 and lived there the rest of her life. When she died in 2015, Robinson entrusted most of her estate to the Columbus Museum of Art.

Throughout her life and career, Robinson documented stories about historic Columbus neighborhoods and her family’s ancestral roots in Africa, in order to preserve them for future generations. Robinson’s diverse body of work is about building bridges and making connections between the past and present, across continents and between the physical and spiritual worlds.

In 2004 Robinson was named a MacArthur Fellow, recognizing her lifetime of art making and its cultural importance. In 2021 Robinson was featured in Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths originally went unreported in the New York Times, and in 2022 she was recognized as a “Great Ohioan” by the Capitol Square Foundation. Robinson’s work has been the subject of several major national exhibitions.