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Dora Watkins

PhD Student

Dora Watkins headshot


School of Social Work
1010 W. Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Office: 2014 Station #22


Dora earned her MSW and BSW from Wayne State University.


Dora’s research interrogates discourses of psychological resilience among racialized groups, namely, Black women, with trauma histories and explores its impact on mental health and mental health help-seeking behaviors. Dora’s research draws on art-based research methodology, improvisation as critical social theory — and intersectional, Black feminist, and decolonial lenses. A second area of interest is adverse childhood experiences, intergenerational trauma, and victimization (e.g., anti-Black violence, community violence, and gender-based violence) among racialized folks and its impact on health, mental health, and help-seeking behaviors.

Dora is the founder and executive director of The Healing Project, which is a grassroots organization and service project that seeks to foster meaning-making, social justice, and collective healing through the fusion of research and art — centering the lived experiences of Black and other racialized women. The Healing Project tours communities and records the oral histories of racialized folks to recover and recenter their stories.

Dora is a scholar artist with extensive experience in community engagement and clinical experience having worked as an outpatient therapist in a community based behavioral health clinic. Dora is currently a Mellon Foundation Interseminars Fellow (Improvise and Intervene) with the Humanities Research Institute at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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