Daniel Alexander Jones, a Belknap Short-Term Visiting Fellow in Princeton’s Humanities Council, collaborates with members of the Princeton community at the Lewis Center for the Arts to construct an altar over the course of a week-long residency. Centered around the prompt “Ask Your Questions,” the conversations, offerings, building and activation of the altar will be rooted in the cultivation of intentional space for inquiry, deep listening, and consideration of traditional practices of presence, particularly those rooted in Black Queer interiorities. Jones will weave the threads through formal class visits and presentations, informal conversations, open hours for drop-in collaboration, and listening sessions with offerings from Jones and dialogue with attendees/participants. The week of residency will culminate in a dynamic duet between Jones and Dr. Deborah Paredez of Columbia University in an evening entitled Question/Generation (X) featuring both artists reading from their work and discussing not only their own questions, but questions born of the week’s invitations, followed by time for celebration.

Jones, who will return to Princeton in the Spring of 2023, is a commissioned artist of The Toni Morrison Project. He will include reflections on his research into Morrison’s storied career in his conversations, and as a major part of his contribution to the week’s altar.

How to Participate

Students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Princeton community are invited to participate in the residency with Daniel Alexander Jones in one or more of the following ways:

Build or Contribute to the Altar

  • Hang out and help build the altar!Attend any or all of the daily open hours sessions. Please arrive in time for a brief orientation if you are coming for the first time. You do not need to stay for duration of the daily window, however.
  • Contribute materials for use in the altar* (ideas for materials listed below). You may bring them to the space during open hours, or leave them in the hamper outside the CoLab if you have donations before the onset of the residency or during the hours we will not be in the gallery.
  • Create an object or offering for the altar as a creative piece (a collage, a sculpture, a letter, a painting, etc.)

Attend a Listening Session

You may choose to attend one or more Listening Sessions. Each session will start by listening to a selected work, followed by an ancestral reflection by Jones, and a process of offering and gathering questions and testimonies, as well as informal conversation born of each evening’s process. Altar building work can and will occur amidst these evening sessions.

Join the Celebration

Attend the Final Sharing Session and Celebration. Daniel Alexander Jones and Dr. Deborah Paredez lead Question/Generation(X), a celebratory evening of reading, discussion and conversation.

Ask a Question

There will be postcards available for you to ask questions to add to the altar and to inform the week’s conversation and creative offerings. These may be contributed anonymously or with your name depending on your desire. They can be dropped in the Question Box that will live within the gallery space.

Event Schedule

  • Monday, Sept. 19 from 6-7 PM — Introduction (also Open Hours)
  • Monday, Sept. 19 from 7-8 PM — Listening Session
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 2:30-4 PM — Open Hours
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 6-8 PM — Listening Session
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 1-3 PM — Open Hours
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 6-8 PM – Listening Session
  • Thursday, Sept. 22 from 12-4 PM — Open Hours
  • Thursday, Sept. 22 from 6-8 PM — Listening Session
  • Friday, Sept. 23 from 11 AM-2 PM — Open Hours
  • Friday, Sept. 23 from 4:30-6 PM — Final Sharing Session and Celebration (open to the public)

About Humanities Council Visiting Fellows

The Humanities Council’s Long-Term and Short-Term Visitors are made possible with support from the Belknap Visitors in the Humanities Fund, the Class of 1932 Visiting Lectureship Fund, the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project, the Eberhard L. Faber Class of 1915 Memorial Lecture Fund, the Edward T. Cone ’39 Humanities Fund, the Old Dominion Fellowship Fund, the Virginia and Richard Stewart Memorial Fund, and the Whitney J. Oates Fund for Scholarship in the Humanities.

Admission & Details

All events Monday-Thursday are open to Princeton students, faculty and staff. On Friday, September 23, the general public is invited to join the Final Sharing Session and Celebration and view the altar from 4:30-6 p.m. Free; no tickets or registration required.

Get directions to the CoLab on the Forum level and find other venue information for the arts complex.

COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

Per Princeton University policy, all guests must either be fully vaccinated, or have recently tested negative (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen test within 8 hours of the scheduled visit) and be prepared to show proof if asked, or wear a face covering when indoors and around others.


symbol for wheelchair accessibilityThe CoLab is wheelchair accessible. Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations. Students in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email at least one week in advance of the event date.

Materials to Contribute to the Altar

*Suggested materials to contribute for the altar include:

Cloth (pieces of colorful fabric, white cotton, lace, etc.) Any donated cloth must be unused or freshly laundered.

Natural Objects:

  • Rocks
  • Crystals
  • Branches
  • Pine Cones
  • Shells
  • Flowers (fresh/dried)


  • Postcards
  • Reproductions of family photographs (don’t bring originals)
  • Historical Photographs
  • Photos of landscapes, personally significant places, etc.

Household Objects:

  • Glass jars
  • Candles
  • Incense (even though it is not likely to be burned)
  • Boxes or bags of candy
  • Toiletries (hairbrushes, combs – new or well cleaned)
  • Glasses
  • Cups
  • Staple food items (for example, Daniel Alexander Jones had an aunt who loved Chock Full O’Nuts Coffee, so a can of it would be an offering for an altar)
  • Tchotchkes (little objects that conjure memory)
  • Coins

About the Artists

daniel alexander jones wears a fedora, blue shirt and black suspenders while gazing solemnly at camera

Photo courtesy Daniel Alexander Jones

Daniel Alexander Jones is hailed by audiences, colleagues and critics as a groundbreaking and visionary artist. Over 25 years into his distinctive interdisciplinary practice, Jones deftly weaves performance art, theatre, music, writing, and teaching into a wildflower body of work. His pieces include:, which premiered as a digital music, video and interactive site (CalArts Center for New Performance & New York Live Arts); Black Light (Public Theater); Duat (Soho Rep); and Phoenix Fabrik (Pillsbury House Theatre). 53rd State Press recently published Love Like Light, a collection of 7 works from across Jones’s career, featuring introductory essays from a range of collaborators and colleagues; as well as the book Particle & Wave, a contextualizing conversation with Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs about Jones’s practice. Daniel was honored as the 2021 PEN America/Laura Pels Foundation awardee in Theatre, and was praised for “perfecting a dramaturgy all his own based in the traditions of Africana studies, performance studies, queer theory, and mysticism, challenging established traditions while creating space for audiences to ponder what theater is and who it is for.” Jones was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Doris Duke Artist, a USA Artist Fellow, a Creative Capital Grantee, and has been commissioned by the McCarter Theatre and the Public Theatre. Jones has released six albums as his “altar-ego” Jomama Jones. He will release his first album under his own name in late 2022. He has taught at university for 20 years, most recently as a Full Professor at Fordham University. Daniel lives in Los Angeles, where he is a Producing Artist for the Center for New Performance at CalArts and is in residence with UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance.


deborah paredez smiles with blue glasses and dark curly hair

Photo courtesy Deborah Paredez

Deborah Paredez is a poet and cultural critic. She is the author of the poetry volumes This Side of Skin (Wings Press 2002) and Year of the Dog (BOA Editions 2020), and the critical study Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory (Duke UP, 2009). Her poetry and essays have appeared in Poetry magazine, the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. She is the cofounder and for a decade served as codirector (2009-2019) of CantoMundo, a national organization for Latinx poets. She lives in New York City where she teaches creative writing and ethnic studies at Columbia University.

Presented By

  • Humanities Council
  • Program in Theater