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Glenna Jennings

Associate Professor; HSI Director Engaging Communities Beyond Campus

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Art and Design


Email: Glenna Jennings
Phone: 937-229-2230
CPC 238M
Website: Visit Site


  • MFA, Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego
  • BFA, Photography, Art Center College of Design
  • B.A., English-Journalism, Pepperdine University
  • B.A., Spanish, Pepperdine University


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 U.S., 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, the 2014 Ping Yao Photography Festival in China and the 2019 Rust Belt Biennial. Recognition of her work includes several Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards, a Peter McGrath Human Rights Fellowship, a Robert Rauschenberg Photolucida grant, and NEA funding for the collaborative Gem City Market mural project.

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, the community engagement director for the Hanley Sustainability Institute, and is active in multiple multidisciplinary 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 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 U.S., The Czech Republic and Colombia, South America. Jennings remains passionate about language learning and teaching, and continues to integrate international travel and cross-cultural collaboration into her teaching and research.

Profile photo credit: Shon Curtis

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 ongoing critical dialogs among artistic autonomy, commodity culture and meaningful, creative, mutually beneficial 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 Dostoevsky'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. My most recent work, In Our Own, uses the Anthropocene as a lens through which to visualize American backyards and the commons as surreal spaces of reflection and reprieve during an ongoing pandemic. 

Transdisciplinary Collaborative efforts include Dinner in Desert Kitchen, a series of exhibitions, community projects, and field-based research activities investigating food justice 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." Along with sociologist Ruth Thompson-Miller and our first small cohort of social practice students, we shifted this focus to domestic poverty by working with community partners to raise awareness of food inequity and strive for food empowerment. Desert Kitchen community partners include the member-owned grocery cooperative Gem City Market, Co-Op Dayton, Foodbank Dayton, Expressions of Life, Unified Power, Welcome Dayton and Latinos Unidos. I am also actively involved in the Human Rights Center’s Moral Courage Project, which “aims to tell the stories of “upstanders” (those who refuse to be bystanders), and identify and celebrate individuals who take risks to make important contributions in their communities during moments of crisis.”

My collaborations with these friends and partners connect research, teaching and service in order to realize a more just, equitable and sustainable future through both hard work and purposeful play."

Research interests

  • Photography: Practice, Theory and History
  • Contemporary Art and Photography
  • Curatorial Studies
  • Socially Engaged Art (Art and Social Practice)
  • Food Justice, Food Sovereignty, Food Insecurity, Food Systems
  • Social Welfare and Labor Histories
  • Sustainability and Community Resilience 
  • Immigration and Border Theory
  • Spanish Language and Latin American Histories
  • Mandarin Language and History

Selected exhibitions

At Table, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa Fla., 2021

At Table, Gastfeld Gallery, Bremen, Germany, 2021

The New Now, Rose Center for the Arts, Longview, Wash., 2021

Critical Mass Top 50, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, Calif., 2021

At Table, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Ore., 2020

Portfolio Showcase 13, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colo., 2020

\14th Annual Pollux Award Exhibition, Gallery FotoNostrum, Barcelona, Spain, 2020

Midwest Midwinter, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, 2020

Concoction, Roy G Biv Gallery, Columbus, Ohio, 2019

Rust Belt Biennial, Wilkes University, Sordoni Gallery, Wilkes, Pa., 2019

Society of Photographic Education Juried Exhibition, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Wis., 2019

America the Borderland, La Mujer Obrera, El Paso, Texas, 2019

My Treasures Are Within (12th Annual Ohio Online Visual Artist Residency Juried Exhibition, Juror’s Choice Award), Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio, 2018

At Table, Dutoit Gallery, Dayton, Ohio

Creativity, Community, Collaboration, University of Nevada, Reno, Nev., 2017

Jane Reece Invitational, Dayton Society of Artists, Dayton, Ohio, 2017

Divided States, Herndon Gallery, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, 2017

This is Now, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio, 2017

What Keeps You Up at Night, Arts at CIIS, San Francisco, 2016

PROject One and Many, Nanjing University of the Arts Media College, China, 2016

Re/Formulations, Musto Museum and Cultural Center, Union City, N.J., 2015

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

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

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

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

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

The Very Large Array: San Diego/Tijuana Artists from the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Selected Artist Lectures and Presentations

International Conference on the Future of Education, Edition 12, Florence, Italy, Presentation: Dinner in the Desert Kitchen: Reflections on Experiential Learning Through Food, Art, and Social Practice, 2021

AAAS Science Technology and Human Rights Conference, Washington, D.C., Presentation Poison and Power: The Fight for Water: Cross-disciplinary experiential learning, 2021

Teaching Place Conference, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minn., Presentation: Dinner in the Desert Kitchen, 2020

Universidad Gran Colombiana School of Architecture Web Series, Bogota, Colombia, Presentation:  House and Home: socially-engaged art and photography at the U.S. Mexico Border, 2020

Conference on the Image, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England, Presentation:  America the Borderland - collaboration across disciplines, 2019

Society of Photographic Education, Midwest Conference, Milwaukee, Lecture: From the Gallery to the Overpass: negotiating socially-engaged collaborations in photographic education

Society of Photographic Education, National Conference, Cleveland, Lecture: The Americans: Constructive Deconstructions, 2019

University of Georgia, Athens, Dodd Lecture, Artist Talk: Narrative Strategies in Art and Social Practice, 2018

Proyecto Boules, Ensenada, B.C., Mexico, Artist Talk, 2017

Nanjing University of the Arts, China, Socially Engaged Art in Practice, Public Lecture, 2016

Nanjing University of the Arts, China, From One to Many, Artist Talk, 2016

Ping Yao International Photography Festival, Ping Yao, China, Looking at Looking: strategies for portraiture and pedagogy, Artist Lecture, 2014

SMK Siburak School / British Council, Sarawak, Malaysia, Looking at Looking, Artist Talk, 2014

Selected Publications

Korea Monthly Photo Magazine, Eyes on Food, At Table, November 2021 (magazine article)

Manifest International Photography Annual 8, Manifest Press, 2021 (book)

At Table Glenna Jennings, Blue Sky Books, MagCloud, 2020 (exhibition catalog)

Jack Witt, “Spreadsheet Patriot,” WIRED Magazine, September 2020 (photographs)

Glenna Jennings, “Dinner in the Desert Kitchen: Reflections on Experiential Learning through Food, Art, and Social Practice” in Diverse Pedagogical Approaches to Experiential Learning, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020 (book chapter)

Michelle Tedford, Glenna Jennings, “At Table: Everyday Spaces of Expression and Connection,” University of Dayton Magazine, Spring 2020 (magazine article)

Barbara Tannenbaum, Portfolio 13 Showcase, Center for Fine Art Photography, 2020 (exhibition catalog)