Daphne Lei Appointed Director of UCI Illuminations, the Arts and Culture Initiative
Professor of Drama Daphne Lei has been appointed Director of UCI Illuminations, the Arts and Culture Initiative, effective Feb. 1, 2022. Provost Hal Stern made the announcement on behalf of Chancellor Howard Gillman on Jan. 28, 2022. Lei has served as interim director since Jan. 1, 2022.
Lei has served in a range of leadership and administrative roles since joining UCI in 2001. She is an internationally recognized researcher of Chinese opera, Asian American theatre, and intercultural and transnational performance. Her research focuses on intercultural exchanges across the Pacific, especially interactions between Asians and Asian Americans and negotiations between Asian and non-Asian cultures.
Lei’s interdisciplinary performance work helps advocate for diversity, equity and multiculturalism. She is the founding director of Multicultural Spring, a program that hosts artists and scholars from different cultures and nationalities, and Theatre Woks, a theatre group that cultivates Asian American talent and promotes diversity. Her multi-year performance research project on diversity among graduate students, Dramatic Transformations, has had a campuswide impact. During her tenure as president of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), she initiated multiple programs and projects that promoted diversity and augmented minoritarian and transnational voices.
Lei is the first professor from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts to serve as the director, taking over for Professor of English Julia Lupton, who served as the founding director since 2014.
“I’m thrilled by the overwhelming support from the CTSA community,” said Lei. “I’m really looking forward to future collaborating possibilities. Let’s (re)emerge brighter with art!”
Lei’s mission will be to advance the thriving arts and culture community through the connections between UCI and regional arts and culture institutions and to create programming that helps to ensure that all UCI students, faculty and staff have opportunities for meaningful exposure to arts and culture.