Tara L. Conley is an interdisciplinary Black feminist scholar, media-maker, writer, and assistant professor in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. She is the founder of MEDIA MAKE CHANGE, a consulting company that specializes in social justice storytelling through media production, strategic communications, curriculum development, and research. Her scholarship centers Black life in the study and exploration of place, media histories, and technoculture. Most recently, her reporting and creative nonfiction essays have appeared in Bloomberg, ZORA Magazine, Parents Magazine, Courier Newsroom, and in the anthology Black in the Middle: An Anthology of the Black Midwest. Learn more about Dr. Conley’s scholarship and multimedia projects by visiting www.taralconley.org and www.mediamakechange.org.
Q&A with Tara:
What is your research focus?
Key areas of scholarly and creative inquiry, and multimedia production include: cultural histories of media and technology (discourse, perceptions, and infrastructures); archiving digital cultures; critical transmedia storytelling; and the everyday lives of Black people in the study and exploration of place, media histories, and technoculture.
How do you plan to change the world?
By thinking locally and prioritizing the needs and sustainability of communities that matter most to me.
What is an interesting fact about yourself?
At 17-years-old, I was the long jump state champion in Ohio.
What is music/film/art that represents who you are?
The book (1985) and film (1997) Contact come to mind. Carl Sagan’s vision for reaching beyond ourselves speaks to how I understand what’s possible beyond our current perceptions of the world and society. Both works of art drive home the point that language and communication are expressions of love and compassion; they provide us with fuel to keep us searching for things that we thought were unimaginable.