Stewart, who serves on the curatorial advisory committee for the museum’s upcoming exhibition “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971,” arrives fully from her most current role in the University of Chicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies. In the new position, she will lead strategy and planning for the Academy Museum’s curatorial, educational and public programming initiatives including exhibitions, screenings, symposia, publications, workshops, and K-12 programs.
She will join the museum in January and report to Bill Kramer, the museum’s director and president. The museum is targeting an April 30 opening.
At the University of Chicago, Stewart teaches American film history specializing in African American cinema from the silent era to the present. She is also director of the university’s Arts + Public Life initiative, which provides platforms for artists and access to arts programming. She also is the author of Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity, a study of African Americans and silent cinema, and was the co-editor of the study L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, about the first generation of film-school-trained Black filmmakers out of UCLA.
Stewart is also host of “Silent Sunday Nights” on Turner Classic Movies, which showcases silent films from all over the world, and she co-curated Pioneers of African American Cinema for Kino Lorber.
“Jacqueline Stewart is a powerful leader in the film world. Her inspiring history of scholarship, teaching, programming, building community partnerships, and archival work combined with her dedication to inclusivity and accessibility make her an ideal leader for the museum. With her remarkable ability to engage the public and her commitment to showcasing the diverse and fascinating history of the movies, she will be a vital part of our mission to advance the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema.”
Said Stewart, a native of Chicago’s South Side: “As a scholar who researches, teaches, presents, and archives films, I see how cinema shapes our understandings of history and culture, of other people and ourselves, in profound and enduring ways. In my work to create welcoming spaces for people to experience films, I have seen that movies have a unique ability to galvanize dialogue and cultivate empathy. I am excited to join the Academy Museum team at this critical moment for the institution, and for our world, to engage visitors and partners in accessible, multifaceted conversations about the history of filmmaking and the impact that cinema has on our lives.”