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Carlton Turner

“In this political moment, our country’s leadership is skewing male and white. ILI represents a space for leadership development where narratives from indigenous, Native, immigrant, and other varied voices are central.”

Utica, MS

Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture)

Carlton Turner is an artist, agriculturalist, researcher and co-founder of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture). Sipp Culture uses food and story to support rural community, cultural, and economic development in his hometown of Utica, Mississippi where his family has been for eight generations.

Carlton currently serves on the board of First People’s Fund, Imagining America, and Project South. Carlton is a member of the We Shall Overcome Fund Advisory Committee at the Highlander Center for Research and Education and former Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS. He is also a founding partner of the Intercultural Leadership Institute.

Carlton is a current Interdisciplinary Research Fellow with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. He is also a former Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow and former Cultural Policy Fellow at the Creative Placemaking Institute at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design in the Arts.

Carlton Turner is also co-founder and co-artistic director, along with his brother Maurice Turner, of the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction). M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is a Mississippi-based performing arts group that blends of jazz, hip-hop, spoken word poetry and soul music together with non-traditional storytelling. His current work is River Sols, a new play being developed in collaboration with Pangea World Theater that explores race, identity, class, faith, and difference across African American and South Asian communities through embodiment of a river.

He is also a member of the Rural Wealth Lab at RUPRI (Rural Policy Research Institute) and an advisor to the Kresge Foundation’s FreshLo Initiative. In 2018, Carlton was awarded the Sidney Yates Award for Advocacy in the Performing Arts by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. Carlton has also received the M. Edgar Rosenblum award for outstanding contribution to Ensemble Theater (2011) and the Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre (2015).