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Dr. Aaron McKain, M.S.L.

Creative Director and Co-Founder:
Institute for Aesthetic Advocacy

2017-present


Leading volunteer teams of – primarily diverse and/or disabled – artists, activists, and researchers on cutting-edge curatorial strategies and artistic frameworks for:


• Curating exhibitions (juried and grant-funded; local, national, and international) on post-digital civil rights (algorithmic racism and privacy) and public health (COVID, disability/chronic/mental illness, autism, feminism/reproductive rights, PTSD, and gun violence).


• Catalyzing allegedly ‘impossible’ cross-cultural, bi-partisan, and multi-faith coalitions and conversations with diverse lawmakers and partners including ACLU MN, Anti-Defamation League, Safety Not Surveillance Coalition, North Suburban Center for the Arts; Ohio State; Portland State; Guns Down. Love Up; Project Minnesota; Second Chance MN; the Urban Educators; George State;
Pittsburgh University Prison Writing Project, ACLU MN, Reclaim the Block; Safety Not Surveillance; and the Native Youth Arts Collective. 


• Directing/creating juried or grant funded (group and solo) art installations at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art, Franconia Sculpture Park, Ely Center for Contemporary Art, Gallery 610, Tugboat Gallery, Saint Cloud Zine Fest, Twin Cities Zine Fest, Shelter in Place Gallery, Northeast Sculpture Gallery, Missouri Review; University of Minnesota Institute of the Environment, and Northern Sparks Arts Festival.


• Coordinating research, publications, and trainings for advocates, educators, and attorneys with/for Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine; Lewis and Clark University; Tulane Valley Creates; the Rhetoric Society of America, the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine Annual conference, and Post-Human: New Media Art.

Visiting Scholar

OSTROM Workshop Kelley School of Business

Indiana University: 2019-present


● Research and consultation on digital ethics curricula and public advocacy, including campus presentations, in class/industry lectures and conferences. Associate Professor of Digital Media


Director of the School of English and Communication Arts
North Central University: 2018-2023


● Responsible for hiring, firing, student and faculty mentorship, budgeting, recruitment, marketing, assessment, accreditation, curricular development, and project management across three departments with a lean 500k budget.


● Transformed a school on life support into one of the top undergraduate digital ethics programs in the country by implementing Institute For Digital Humanity curriculum: Tripled enrollments; added $275k/year via online digital ethics
program; and kept the school thriving and gaining national and international recognition despite – due to COVID and the Summer of Floyd -- 50% budget and faulty reductions in 2020 and nearly existential university-wide layoffs.

Assistant Professor
Division of Professional Rhetoric and Digital Media Arts
Hamline University:
2011-2017


● Designed and taught classes in hetorical theory, professional communication, literary and cultural theory, critical digital media studies, law, professional writing, and media art. Responsible for student advising, departmental and university service, and maintaining research agenda.

Speechwriter/Communications Specialist
Office of the President, Ohio State University: 2007–2009


● Helped set and shape communications agenda for E. Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State University. Coordinated messaging strategy with senior administrative and PR staff to connect with Ohio State’s four core constituents: students, faculty, government officials (city, state, federal), and Ohio taxpayers. Responsible for speeches, talking points, op-eds, and articles in multiple mediums (tv, radio, social) and for live audiences ranging from 8 to 80,000.

Author and Education Technology Consultant
McGraw-Hill: 2008-2011


● Created and piloted a textbook, software, and pedagogy (Commonplace) to fight dis/misinformation via an inter-university, peer-review network. Adopted by 350 classrooms, 15,000 students, and four universities.

Project Director
Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, 1999-2001


● Worked with Nebraska Legal Services, Neb. Bar Association, and non-profits to promote statewide partnerships in technology and poverty law advocacy.

Coordinator
Nebraskans for Peace Political Action Committee, 1998


● Managed and marshalled PAC resources on behalf of gubernatorial candidate; served as member of political campaign staff; mobilized voters on tax issues.

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