Kimberly Dark (August 12, 1968) is an American performance artist, writer, and sociologist. Born in San Diego, California, she received a B.A. from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 1989, and an M.A. in Sociology from Cal State San Marcos in 1998. She began her work as a storyteller and performance artist in 1998. She was previously founder and principal for Current Change Consulting, a firm specializing in coalition building facilitation, conflict resolution, and qualitative research.
Her current work uses sociological perspectives and first person storytelling to discuss ways humans organize social life - through gender, race, class, and sexuality. Her performances, lectures and writings use humor to reveal the makeup of privilege and oppression, as the purpose is to prompt change. Her work has been produced at colleges and universities in North America and Europe, and at theaters, festivals, conferences and other events worldwide. As of 2010, she has authored and toured five solo-performances including, The Butch Femme Chronicles: Discussions With Women Who Are Not Like Me (and Some Who Are), Public Contact, True Confessions of a Lesbian Diva, Stripped and Teased: Scandalous Stories With Subversive Subplots, and Dykeotomy.
Her educational programs and interactive lectures include "Becoming the Subject of Your Own Story (Rather than the Object of Another's Gaze)," "Gender Race and Money" and "Is That a Dude? Inside Lesbian Gender - It's More Complex than you Think." Kimberly Dark teaches in a graduate program in Sociological Practice at Cal State San Marcos.
According to Dr. Lynda Dickson, University of Colorado, "There is clear evidence that Dark has constructed a social context for her narratives. The characters not only have a personal story - a lived experience - but the stories are routinely connected to a larger, social reality... Attending one of her performances could accomplish more than a semester course of introduction to sociology." As a form of pop-sociology, Dark's writings are also well-received as entertainment. Strong poetic imagery blend with moving stage presence (Munro, 2008). In October 2010, Campus Pride, an American non-profit organization which promotes and supports LGBTQ leaders on University campuses, named Kimberly Dark on the "Top 25 'Best of the Best' LGBT speakers, performers who raise awareness of inclusion, visibility on college campuses nationally."
Themes and style:
Frequent themes include gender, sexuality, race, class, beauty and body image. Performances such as Dykeotomy question the intersection of social norms and individual choices. Many of Dark's works deconstruct gender binary. Her texts and performances are concerned with both politics and pedagogy - the way feminist theory and critical theory are brought to non-academic audiences through storytelling and performance. Academically, Dark's approaches are situated in research methods such as autoethnography and poetic inquiry. As sociologist Laurel Richardson articulates "I consider writing as a method of inquiry, a way of finding out about a topic...form and content are inseparable" (2000, p. 923).
"Examining Praise from the Audience: What does it mean to be a 'successful' poet-researcher." (Poetic Inquiry 2009),
"Parting, Renewal" and "Famous Poet" (San Diego Poetry Annual 2009),
"My Son is a Straight A Student" (Poetic Inquiry: Vibrant Voices in the Social Sciences 2009),
"Roadside, Perris CA" (Visible: A Femmethology 2008)