Filmmaker Christopher Harris named F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Christopher Harris, University of IowaChristopher Harris, who uses experimental filmmaking to explore African American and Black experience and history, has been named F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor by the University of Iowa. Harris is on the faculty of the UI Department of Cinematic Arts, where he serves head of film and video production.

Harris's work is highly regarded and has been screened at festivals and exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, including a career retrospective at the Belo Horizonte International Short Film Festival in Brazil; Switzerland's Locarno Film Festival; the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. 

Sara Sanders, dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Harris's appointment to the position is well-deserved recognition.

"This is an exciting time for experimental cinema, both in general and here at Iowa," Sanders noted. "Professor Harris is a pioneer in showing how experimental filmmaking can be used to bring to life new perspectives on Black culture and history. I am delighted that he is on our faculty and that his innovative work as an artist and a teacher is being recognized with the Miller Associate Professorship. I congratulate Chris on his achievements to date, and look forward to learning of many more accomplishments in the years to come."

In addition to his celebrated filmmaking, Harris is a popular teacher. In his own work, he combines physical techniques, such as scratching and painting on film, and digital technology. He encourages his students to learn the fundamentals of aesthetics and art, and then use all the tools at hand in their artistic expression. He teaches and mentors students at all levels.

Harris is the 2020-2021 Radcliffe-Film Study Center Fellow/David and Roberta Logie Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Other honors include receiving the 2020 Artist Project Grant from Los Angeles Filmforum, Media City Film Festival’s 2020 Chrysalis Fellowship, the Artist Residency Award from the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, and a Creative Capital grant from the Creative Capital organization. His appointment to the F. Wendell Miller Associate Professorship will begin on July 1, 2021.

Harris earned his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and joined the UI faculty in 2017.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.