Glenna Jennings

Contact Information

Glenna Jennings

Assistant Professor

  • Full-Time Faculty


Glenna Jennings’ work draws primarily from the history, theory and practice of photography. She completed her MFA in Visual Arts at the University of California San Diego in 2010, and holds BAs in English and Spanish (Pepperdine), and a BFA in Photography (Art Center College of Design). Jennings has exhibited throughout the US, China, Europe and Mexico, and her work resides in multiple public and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Winda Cultural Center, Poland and AMNUA Museum in Nanjing, China. She was featured in the 2010 California Biennial and the 2014 Ping Yao Photography Festival in China. Recognition of her work includes an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Peter McGrath Human Rights Fellowship. Jennings is a passionate educator whose teaching, research and service inform her dynamic practice as an image-maker and advocate for social change. She serves as the Area Coordinator for photography in the Department of Art and Design and is active in multiple interdisciplinary initiatives on-campus, in the Dayton community and beyond.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Dayton, Jennings served as U.S. director of the Geneva-based art collective compactspace, where she curated and/or produced dozens of shows with emerging and established artists from Southern California art programs, including CalArts, USC, UCSD, UCLA, Art Center College of Design and Otis. She spent over a decade Teaching English as a Second or Other language in the US, The Czech Republic, and Colombia, South America. Jennings remains passionate about language learning and teaching, and continues to integrate international travel into her teaching and research.

Faculty Perspective

Place and Space is a consistent theme in my work, which ranges from documentary and constructed photography to socially-engaged art, video, curating and writing. I strive to create or enter spaces in which History and Memory may intermingle with notions of the Public and the Private. This work often involves intense periods of travel and public intervention followed by reflective research and production. I am convinced that object-making and studio practice still hold relevance in the post-visual ethos of Art as Social Practice. Thus, my work reflects an ongoing critical dialog among artistic autonomy, commodity culture, and meaningful, creative social engagement.

Previous projects include Inheritance, a series of critical imagery about the 17 guns I inherited from my father, Raskolnikov, a re-reading of Doestoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment from the perspective of a high school cheerleader, and Likely Stories, a collection of images and writings about Jacumba, a small town on the Mexican-American border. Works in progress include At Table, a collection of photographs and wallpapers celebrating food, drink and conviviality, and Looking at Looking: Mobilizing the National Cash Register’s Photographic Archive, a collection of photo-based documents, objects and performances based on NCR’s social welfare legacy. In a sardonically playful celebration of NCR founder John H. Patterson’s House of Usefulness, a former "orphanage for wayward youth," I created the Cart of Usefulness, a mobile exhibition space on wheels that brings historic NCR photographs to diverse public places to engage in conversation about our city’s past and present, with an eye towards its possible futures.

Collaborative efforts include Desert Kitchen, a series of projects and field-based research activities investigating food deserts in Dayton and beyond. The initiative was founded in 2015 with artist and professor Issa Randall, and inspired by Conflict Kitchen, "a restaurant that serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict." We shift this focus to domestic poverty by working with community partners to raise awareness of food inequality and strive for food empowerment. I initiated an Art and Social practice course at the University of Dayton so that students from multiple disciplines may participate in such socially-motivated research and art-making. Desert Kitchen Collaborators have included Dr. Ruth Thompson-Miller, ArtStreet, Campus Ministry, The Collaboratory and Dayton FoodBank. This project most keenly illustrates the connections among my research, teaching and service. I approach pedagogy as a creative, experiential medium in both my professional and personal practices in an effort to integrate artistic, scholarly and civic-minded visions and passions.


  • MFA in Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego
  • BA in Photography, Art Center College of Design
  • BA in English-Journalism, Pepperdine University
  • BA in Spanish, Pepperdine University

Research Interests

  • Photography: Practice, Theory and History
  • Contemporary Art
  • Curatorial Studies
  • Video and Time-based Media
  • Socially Engaged Art (Art and Social Practice)
  • Social Welfare and Labor Histories
  • Human Rights
  • Latin American Studies
  • Mandarin Language and History

Selected Exhibitions

Desert Dinner Club, Roesch Library, University of Dayton (with Issa Randall and Misty Thomas-Trout), 2017

Votes for Women, Dutoit Gallery, Dayton, OH (with Misty Thomas-Trout), 2016

Art in the City, Dayton Visual Arts Center, Dayton, OH, 2016

Teach Me Chinese, Nanjing University of the Arts Media College, Nanjing, China, 2015

Re/Formulations: Narrative Process, Musto Museum and Cultural Center, Union City, New Jersey, 2015

Domestic Autonomy: Readymade Public Archive, Oceanside Museum of Art, CA, 2015

California Dreaming, Oceanside Museum of Art, CA; Riverside Art Museum, CA; Palazzo della Provincia di Frosinone, Frosinone, Italy, 2015

Looking at Looking: Mobilizing the National Cash Register Archive, Nanjing University of the Arts Museum (AMNUA) (AMNUA), Nanjing China, 2014

Looking at Looking: Mobilizing the National Cash Register Archive, Ping Yao International Photography Festival, Ping Yao, China, 2014

Variations on Likeness, Dayton Visual Arts Center, Dayton, OH, 2014

Mirror Mirror (curated by Amy Arbus), Darkroom Gallery, Essex Jct., VT, 2014

The Very Large Array: San Diego/Tijuana Artists from the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, 2013

Image Ohio, Roy G Biv Gallery, Columbus, OH, 2013

We are family (curated by Chris Verene), Essex Jct., VT, 2013

At Table, Blue Sky Gallery, Dayton, OH, 2012

Meme, Herndon Gallery, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH (curated by Susan Byrnes), 2012

Finding Family, Icon Projects, Los Angeles, CA (curated by Beth Chucker), 2012

California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (curated by Sarah Bancroft), 2011

Liberty, Fraternite, Egalite, Clifton's Gallery, Downtown Los Angeles, CA, 2011

Here Not There, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (curated by Lucia Sanroman), 2010

Likely Stories and Other Sides, Marcuse Gallery, La Jolla, CA, 2010

MFA Conversations, I-5 Gallery, LA (curated by Marla Koosed), 2010

Who Killed Kurt Cobain, The Experimental Bureau, Frankfurt, Germany, 2010

Raskolnikov, Luis de Jesus Seminal Projects, San Diego, CA; UCSD Department of Arts and Humanities; LUI Velasquez, Tijuana, Mexico, 2009

Los Angeles County Juried Exhibition (Department of Cultural Affairs), Barnsdall Gallery, LA, 2009

Studio Green, New Children's Museum, San Diego, 2009

Art Scene Auction/Aids Research Alliance Benefit, Smashbox Studios, LA, 2008

Aqua Art Fair, Miami, Fl., 2008

Inheritance, Marcuse Gallery, La Jolla, CA - Luis de Jesus Seminal Projects, San Diego, 2007

Narratives of Consumption, compact/space, Berlin, Germany, 2006

If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now (curated by Eve Fowler), compact/space LA, 2006

Assorted Social Realisms, Winda Cultural Center, Kielce, Poland, 2006