Institute Faculty Fellow
K. Bradford (aka Johnny T.) is a poet, performer and teacher. As a queer cultural worker using various art forms to incite social thought and community, Bradford has directed and co-founded Gender Fusions, an annual queer spectacle at the College; The Lola Project, a full length drag and burlesque show; The Raw Works, a poetry & performance program for queer and trans youth in Chicago, and Kings N Things, a drag king troupe in Austin, Texas. In 2001, Bradford premiered the one-person show, The Tales of a Gypsy Cowboy in Austin. Bradford has performed poetry and drag in the U.S. and internationally, and her poems have been published in journals such as Gulf Coast, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Web Del Sol's In Posse Review. She also has received poetry scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the Tin House Writers Workshop. Bradford has performed excerpts of work developed during her Institute Fellowship at Links Hall as part of the “Method to Madness” series curated by Kate Sheehy (January 2008) and at Links Hall as part of an intensive performance workshop with Tim Miller (Summer 2008). Bradford teaches literature and poetry in the English Department of Columbia College Chicago where she is also on staff as the Coordinator of the LGBTQ Office of Culture & Community.
Bradford’s Fellowship was at its root an exploration of artistic practice. Though there are the tangibles of craft—creative work made and still being conjured as a result of the Fellowship—the resources of time and space allowed Bradford to mine daily rituals, processes, and practices that lead to finished work. Stepping back from the gristmill of “producing” on multiple fronts, Bradford explored concepts and threads of new solo work for the page and the stage, usually along the themes of difference, otherness and belonging. With research supported by the Fellowship, Bradford also explored the "myth of America" as a cultural, political landscape and studied the Boston Tea Party as a revealing and formative moment in “white America.”
In the last year, Bradford developed new work in a number of artistic settings. In Fall 2009, she was awarded a Links Hall Mentorship, the “Walk With Me” program with writer/visionary sharon bridgforth; along with fellow mentees, Bradford performed new work in December at Links Hall. Bradford also performed with an ensemble led by Holly Hughes for the About Face Theatre’s queer marriage project, “Let Them Eat Cake” in Fall 2009. This summer, Bradford was a poetry fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts where she was in residence for two weeks, and she also studied with Nick Flynn at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. New poems have been published by Chroma (Winter 2009) and The Q Review (Fall 2010). Bradford is at work writing new poems for her poetry manuscript in progress.