Lauren Onkey

Lauren Onkey

Lauren Onkey

Director, Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, Professor, History and Culture, Music Program


Email: Lauren Onkey


Lauren Onkey is the director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and Professor of Music at the George Washington University. Dr. Onkey, a longtime educator, scholar, producer and museum professional, joined GW in July of 2021.

Onkey has extensive experience in presenting popular music history, in person and across digital platforms. She most recently served as senior director at NPR Music, where she led a team of journalists, critics and media makers in creating innovative cross-platform music journalism and outlets for music curation, such as Tiny Desk Concerts. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Education and Public Programming at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum from 2008-2015, developing and managing the museum's award-winning education and community programs. She was the executive producer of the museum's Annual Music Masters series and oversaw the Rock Hall's Library and Archives.

Onkey’s academic work includes serving as the inaugural Dean and Chair of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, where she created a program that provided civic engagement opportunities for students. Onkey spent fourteen years teaching literature and cultural studies at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, specializing in postcolonial literature and popular music studies. She is the author of Blackness and Transatlantic Irish Identity: Celtic Soul Brothers (Routledge 2009), an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between Irish and African-American heritage. Over the course of her career she has published many articles in literary studies, popular music studies, women's studies and pedagogy.


BA, English & Government, College of William & Mary

MA & PhD, English, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Photo by Maria Luz Bravo