GCSU Welcomes Leon Johnson as the Spring '14 Newell Scholar!

The Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar for the upcoming semester at GCSU was recently announced and we are very excited to welcome Leon Johnson! Starting next semester, he will be hosting several lectures over his time at the school and he will also be teaching a cross-disciplinary seminar for students.


Johnson was born in South Africa, but now lives in Detroit, where he is strongly involved in theatre and art. Along with his partner Megan O’Connell, he co-created Salt & Cedar Letterpress, a studio that hosts local artists and exhibitions, as well as produces paper products like custom-made invitations and stationary. He is a media artist, working passionately in sculpture, painting, performance art, and photography. He is also a film-maker; his short film FAUST/FAUSTUS IN DEPTFORD was featured in the KunstFilmBienale in Germany and the Raindance Film Festival in London.

In addition to his artistic talents, he is also a wonderful educator. He is the co-founder of Emergent Futures Lab, an experimental school in Detroit that aims to discover a great world to live in. The school describes itself as “a truly transdisciplinary adventure that ruptures, ignores and displaces with great joy all of the divisions between theory and practice, art and science, design and architecture, nature and culture, craft and life, with the goal of evolving a collective and convivial space of becoming with our emerging futures.” EFL works closely with Market Studio Kitchen, a program that teaches cooking and nutrition to people of all ages in order to improve the poor eating habits of recent generations.


Johnson has earned such prestigious awards as the Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Williams Fellowship. He is known for his fascinating interdisciplinary collaboration in classrooms and GCSU is eagerly awaiting his presence so we can admire his skill up close.

Established in 2011, the Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Scholar Program brings the opportunity to GCSU for students to work closely with well-known and recognized scholars. The school, always striving to contribute to diversity and the sharing of ideas, welcomes the chance for new perspectives and opinions to be brought to the students. It was named after 1942 GCSU alumna Martha Daniel Newell, who granted the endowment that helped establish the program.