Lauren Onkey

Lauren Onkey
Director, Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, Professor, History and Culture, Music Program
Flagg Building, 500 17th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
[email protected]


Lauren Onkey is the director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University. Dr. Onkey, a longtime educator, scholar, producer and museum professional, leads the school’s combination of programs across its diverse fields of art and study, in the context of the school's tradition of community engagement. She also supports its role as an incubator for artists, designers and scholars, who learn from internationally renowned faculty at the intersection of creativity and social innovation.

Dr. Onkey most recently served as senior director at NPR Music, where she led a team of journalists, critics and media makers and provided the editorial vision in creating innovative cross-platform music journalism. She has more than two decades of experience, ranging from directing the NPR Music team to developing and managing award-winning education and community programs as the vice president of education and public programming at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

Prior to joining NPR, she was 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. 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 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. Onkey holds doctoral and master's degrees in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor's degree in English and Government from the College of William & Mary.

Photo by Maria Luz Bravo