Portia Eilene Cobb
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee tenured Associate Professor and digital media artist Portia Eilene Cobb’s journey led to third coast Milwaukee. She was born in Bronx, New York on the east coast, and relocated with her mother and brother to California on the west coast. Moving to Northern California at nineteen, she earned a BA from Mills College in Oakland in 1987 and then earned an MA in film from San Francisco State University in 1991. That summer, invited to teach at Unversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee class, the film department there invited her to stay, and has for the past twenty-two years. Portia received the coveted Creative Capital Foundation Fellowship from 2000 – 2005. She also won UWM Travel Awards supporting research trips to three West African countries in 1994, 1999, and 2001 for film and video projects documenting traditional music. Portia’s primary tool, the camera, and her medium, the documentary, both support her interest in interdisciplinary storytelling. As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, she receives spiritual direction and says, “I follow my heart and listen to the ancestors when they guide me.” A member of Black Girls Run, she is divorced and the mother of two adult daughters.