Jury Members

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Azra Akšamija

Artist and architectural historian, Director of the MIT Future Heritage Lab and an Associate Professor in the MIT Department of Architecture, Program in Art, Culture and Technology

Azra Aksamija Foto: Angelika Mende Azra Akšamija, PhD is an artist and architectural historian, Director of the MIT Future Heritage Lab and an Associate Professor in the MIT Department of Architecture, Program in Art, Culture and Technology. Akšamija’s artistic practice and academic research explore how social life is affected by cultural bias and by deterioration and destruction of cultural infrastructures within the context of conflict, migration, and forced displacement. Akšamija authored two books, Mosque Manifesto (2015) and Museum Solidarity Lobby (2019), and edited the volume Architecture of Coexistence: Building Pluralism (2020). Her artistic work has been exhibited in leading international venues such as at the Generali Foundation Vienna, Biennials of Venice, Liverpool, and Valencia, Museums of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Belgrade and Ljubljana, Sculpture Center New York, Secession Vienna, Manifesta 7, Jewish Museum Berlin, Queens Museum of Art in New York, as well as at Design Week Festivals in Milan, Istanbul, Eindhoven and Amman. Most recently, her work has been shown at the Kunsthaus Graz, the Aga Khan Museum Toronto, Gallery for Contemporary Art Leipzig and Kestner Gesellschaft Hanover, and is part of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020/21. She received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2013 for her design of the prayer space in the Islamic Cemetery Altach, Austria, and the Art Award of the City of Graz in 2018.

Sharon Amuguni

Program Manager for the Boston Artists-in-residence Program

Sharon Amuguni © Sharon Amuguni Sharon Amuguni is the Program Manager for the Boston Artists-in-residence Program. Ms. Amuguni is responsible for leading the operations of the program. She oversees all correspondence, coordinates meetings, and events, and documents program progress. She also supports content creation, such as the development of RFQs and program curriculum. She’s worked with the program in various roles during its second and third years. Ms. Amuguni is also a poet and was featured in Mass Poetry’s Raining Poetry project, where an excerpt from her poem, "Ghost" was stenciled outside the JP Public Library and the Boston Public Garden. She has a Master of Arts degree in Civic Media Art and Practice from Emerson College, and is a board member for the Boston Immigrant Writer's Salon, a collective working to empower and inspire immigrant voices in writing.

Kelsey Halliday Johnson

Artist, curator and Executive Director of the interdisciplinary art organization SPACE in Portland, ME

Kelsey Halliday Johnson Photo: Aurelia Wrenn Kelsey Halliday Johnson (she/they) is a cultural organizational strategist, interdisciplinary curator, artist, and writer from Philadelphia, living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary art organization SPACE in downtown Portland. Previously, Johnson worked as a museum curator, performance and live art coordinator, instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and Interlochen Center for the Arts, and independent project facilitator. A graduate of Princeton University, The University of Pennsylvania, and Wesleyan University, Johnson's research has included the aesthetics and rhetoric of fascism, the intersection of art and technology, and the body as a political instrument in performance.  Her 2016-2017 multi-site independent curatorial project Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art & Technology (1968-85) garnered support from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and activated sites throughout the Philadelphia region to explore women-identifying artists ahead of the dawn of the personal computing age. 

Shuchi Saraswat

Author and Director of The Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith

Shuchi Saraswat © Shuchi Saraswat Shuchi Saraswat is a writer based in Boston. She founded and directs the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith, an author events series focused on stories of migration and works in translation, and in 2019 she served as a judge for the National Book Award in Translated Literature.  She's currently a nonfiction editor at the literary journal AGNI.


Soon-Mi Yoo

Professor and Chair of Film/Video Department, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Soon-Mi Yoo © Soon-Mi Yoo Soon-Mi Yoo makes films that explore the intertwining of personal and national history and challenge the boundaries between documentary, personal essay and experimental film. Yoo's films have screened at major international film festivals, including Locarno, Toronto, Hong-Kong, Taipei, Rio de Janeiro, the Viennale, Rotterdam, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Hamburg, Göteborg, Oberhausen as well as the Harvard Film Archive, the Centre Pompidou and MoMA. 
Her most recent film, SONGS FROM THE NORTH won the prestigious Golden Leopard for Best First Feature at the 2014 Locarno Film Festival, the prize for Best First Feature at DocLisboa 2014 and the Special Jury Prize at BAFICI 2015. Yoo teaches film/video at the  Massachusetts College of Art and Design.