Photo Credit: Deborah Willis


Kalia Brooks Nelson is a New York based curator, consultant, educator and arts administrator. Brooks Nelson holds a PhD in Aesthetics and Art Theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, ME. Previously she was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Critical Studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program, received an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco and a BA in Sociology and Geography from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Brooks Nelson is also an ex-officio trustee on the Board of the Museum of the City of New York. 

She has curated and consulted  for numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad including exhibitions at Columbia University; Haverford College; Rutgers, Newark; Gracie Mansion Conservancy; New York City Hall; International Center of Photography; Philadelphia Photo Art Center; Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning; the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Art Center on Governor’s Island; Rush Arts Gallery; California College of the Arts; and Arts Initiative Tokyo.

Brooks Nelson is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has taught in the department for eight years with a focus on visual cultural theory, the history of photography, and the business of art. She has also been on the committee to facilitate a series of international conferences entitled, Black Portraitures, to foster discourse around the image of the black body in Western art and culture. Brooks Nelson has also been an Adjunct Instructor at Cooper Union’s School of Fine Art and at Parsons School of Art, Media and Technology.  

She has lectured extensively in public talks and symposia at venues including Harvard University; the Museum of Art Sao Paulo, Brazil; College Arts Association national conference; Society of Photographic Education national conference; David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; New York University, New York, NY; The Odeon Theater, Florence, Italy; La Sorbonne, Paris, France; La Bellevilloise Culture Center, Paris, France; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Brooks Nelson has written and served as editor for publications including May You Live in Interesting Times, 2019 Venice Biennale catalogue; Women and Migration, Open Book Publishers; Historias Afro-Atlanticas, Vol. 2, MASP; Art Forum; Art South Africa Magazine; Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, W.W. Norton; Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs, Harper Collins; The Light Work Annual, Light Work; and Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, W.W. Norton.