Li Sumpter, Ph.D.


Urban Ecology Arts Exchange Residency


Biography: Li Sumpter, Ph.D. is a mythologist, educator and social practice artist who employs mythic literacy and eco-conscious design as modes of creative resistance and community empowerment. Her academic work and socially engaged art projects synergize world building and afrofuturism, environmental justice and land sovereignty as a praxis of freedom. Li is Founder/Creative Director of MythMedia Studios, an art and design studio that employs myth, media and liberation technologies to address existential concerns and environmental issues. In 2017, Li was the inaugural Lead Artist-in-Residence for the Urban Ecology Arts Exchange of Haverford College’s Philadelphia Area Creative Collaborative project funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Li also serves as Director of Community Readiness and Resilience at North Philly Peace Park, Chief Creative Strategist at the Escape Artist Initiative, and adjunct professor at Moore College of Art and Design. In 2016 and 2017, Li was awarded an Art and Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation for Graffiti in the Grass—an interactive graphic novel of speculative fiction set in future Philadelphia. Graffiti was recently recognized by the Sundance Film Institute’s New Frontier program and will be published through MythMedia Studios in 2019. Li is an experienced lecturer and workshop facilitator on a variety of topics from the power of myth and the media, world-buiding as creative resistance, D.I.Y media and disaster preparedness, sci-fi and afrofuturism, apocalypse and transformation, environmental justice and urban ecology, design justice and community-driven urban planning.  She was a featured speaker at TEDxCheltenham: Change Agents where she presented a talk titled EcoActivism in the Age of the Multiverse. Li has also been a return speaker to the annual Black Urban Growers Conference for her popular workshop, “Black Farmers Are the Afrofuture” and presented along side the North Philly Peace Park design team for the Center of Architecture and Design’s annual live charrette event, Fast Forward, in 2018. Li’s workshops and special events like Supper Club Cinema, Agents of Escape, Cozy Catastrophe and Art of Survival are interactive and community-centered often incorporating performance and game-play, art-making and skill-sharing to cultivate awareness and action. In August 2018, Li was announced as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence for the Leeway x NextFab Art and Technology Residency that will culminate in an exhibition of her residency work in February 2019. Li received an MA in Arts and Humanities Education from NYU and a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate institute in 2014. Her dissertation, Apocalyptic Soul: Seeing Through Image in the Age of End Time was a study of contemporary film and gaming focused on the impact of fear-based media and violent imagery on culture and consciousness. Li’s professional and community affiliations include: African American Collections Committee/Philadelphia Museum of Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Barnes Foundation, Art21, North Philly Peace Park, Bartram’s Garden, Freshkills Park, Germantown Historical Society, Haverford College, BlackStar Film Festival, AFROPUNK, Theatre in the X, The Galleries at Moore, Health Ecologies Lab @ Slought, Common Field, and The Truth Telling Project.

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