Dr. Gilliam received her doctorate in History of Culture from The University of Chicago. She also received her Masters in Fine Art in Film, Video and New Media from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to that, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania where she received her B.A. in Afro-American Studies and English. She attended high school at Princeton Day School, in Princeton, New Jersey.
In 2007, Dr. Tanji Gilliam founded Oil House Productions, LLC. In this role she has partnered with several non-proﬁt organizations including University of Pennsylvania and the Visions to Peace project, a southeast Washington, D.C. antiviolence youth organization. The feature-length documentary on alternative solutions to violence she co- produced and edited along with Visions To Peace, Vision is Our Power, premiered at The National Museum of Women in the Arts and was also exhibited at The Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Gilliam worked as a high school English and ﬁlm teacher for three years in The District of Columbia Public Schools; she founded the video program at the nation’s premier arts high school Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Following that, Dr. Gilliam has spent the last three academic years as a postdoctoral fellow and College House Fellow at University of Pennsylvania and an adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University.