Dr. Joycelyn Wilson is a cultural studies and digital media scholar on faculty in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication in the Ivan Allen College at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was also its 2016-2017 Fellow in the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC). Prior to Georgia Tech, she held a faculty position in the Faculty of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech, affiliate faculty status in its Africana Studies Program and Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT). She is also an alumni fellow of the Harvard Hiphop Archive, and the Founding Co-Chair of the Hip Hop Theories, Pedagogies, and Praxis Special Interest Group for the American Educational Research Association (AERA).
Dr. Wilson is a pioneer in the field of Hip Hop Studies and education – particularly the influence of the South and Atlanta. Her courses are some of the most popular taught at colleges and universities. “Engaging the Lyrics of Outkast and Trap Music to Explore Politics of Social Justice”, was featured throughout local, national, and international media outlets including NPR, Fader, Vibe, and XXL. An ethnographer and learning technologies scholar, Dr. Wilson conducts her research from the perspective of an African American woman from the South who was raised in Atlanta during the era of the post-civil rights movement. With a mathematics and cultural studies background, Dr. Wilson’s research interests are uniquely oriented to design strategies that leverage African American expressive traditions and digital humanities to enhance the social justice and critical media literacies of 9-12 and undergraduate STEM-influencers, as well as their civic engagement capacities. She has also developed lines of research in virtual reality and digital ethnography. She is the founder of Virtual Four Four, an interactive, multimedia storytelling platform that publishes and produces hip-hop inspired educational content that can be experienced through the virtual reality (VR).
As an emerging learning design scholar in culture, media, and technology studies, she has given a TEDx Talk on educational innovation called “The Outkast Imagination” and is finishing her first book on the subject. Additionally, there are several ways in which Dr. Wilson disseminates her scholarship – both on public and academic platforms. She started as a high school math teacher, using rap music to teach Algebra and her Hip Hop sensibilities to manage racially and economically-diverse learning environments. This research is published as book chapters, journal articles, through documentary film, and as online social commentary, which focuses on race, class, gender, and the sociocultural issues facing under-represented communities. She has contributed to The Root, and has spoken on numerous panels, including 2016 SXSW’s “What the South has to Say About the Digital”. She has contributed commentary to The Root, NewsOne, HuffPost Live, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and CNN. She has also lectured at Brock University, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Morehouse College, Occidental College, Harvard, Yale, and other institutions. As part of the movement to usher Hip Hop culture into campus culture, Dr. Wilson is responsible for bringing artists such as Killer Mike, David Banner, TI, Lupe Fiasco, and DJ Drama to the Atlanta University Center to engage with students attending Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark-Atlanta University. She was featured on Black Entertainment Television’s My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop (directed by Ava DuVernay) and VH1’s ATL: The Untold Story of Atlanta’s Rise in the Rap Game. Dr. Wilson is an Emmy-nominated film producer. Along with civil rights leader Andrew Young, she co-produced the Emmy-winning documentary film Walking With Guns, featuring rapper/actor Clifford “TI” Harris, Jr. and Grammy-winning rapper/activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render. The film highlights contemporary challenges of youth violence through the voice of hope and personal redemption. Her music reviews and artist features have been featured in pop culture publications including FADER, XXL, The Source, and wax poetics. Currently, she writes for The Bitter Southerner and ArtsATL.
Dr. Wilson received her BS in Mathematics, PhD in Educational Foundations, and Qualitative Research certification from the University of Georgia. Her MA in Education is from Pepperdine University. She is a fashion magazine junkie, and enjoys having provocative conversations that connect people to ideas that elevate their social justice conscience. She stands on the shoulders of family, teachers, and mentors. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thedrjoyce.