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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Feminist Research Institute To Host Art Exhibit

UC Davis Feminist Research Institute looking for artists to showcase their artwork

The Feminist Research Institute is looking for UC Davis students to submit their artwork for an upcoming exhibition, to be named later. The exhibition calls for 2D and 3D artwork that reflects their theme: feminism, justice and transformation. Applications for the exhibit can be found on the Feminist Research Institute website. The application includes an artistic statement of 300 words or less and a short response on how the submitted piece reflects the theme of the exhibition.

The Research Institute wanted to have an artistic environment that would embody their beliefs. The idea of feminism is wanted specifically for the exhibition.

“There isn’t one definition for [feminism],” said Jessica Lam, a fifth-year design student and events and sustainability designer at the Feminist Research Institute. “And there’s a lot of debates going on throughout the world as to what that means because feminism is a western invention and so we want works that talk about marginalized experiences whether that is race or gender or sexuality. If there’s a justice-oriented side to it, we love that. If it’s transformative, it’s pretty much in line with what our research institute tries to do, that’s pretty much what we’re trying to do through hosting this exhibition.”

The Feminist Research Institute awards grants and hosts workshops for graduate students and UC Davis faculty. Grant receivers speak about their experience and the research they are doing with the grant provided by the Institute.

“It feels like really important work in the sense that I really believe in the importance and the power of feminism,” said Sarah McCullough, the associate director at the Feminist Research Institute at UC Davis. “But feminist research in particular and particularly as a sort of an intersectional project so thinking about gender as it relates and as it intersects with other systems of power such as race and class and ability, religion [and] sexuality.”

With this exhibition, the institute is hoping to stray away from its usual target population and focus their attention on undergraduate students, encouraging them to send in their work.

“We wanted to engage the undergraduate community a little bit more,” Lam said. “So this exhibition is meant to showcase undergraduate students who have done artwork that is feminist-inspired and this is our attempt to not only reach out to undergrad communities but also to start supporting it a lot more than we have been.”

Along with focusing on undergraduates, the Feminist Research Institute is aiming to bring in more STEM students to the program. The institute’s mission is to support feminist research on campus and spread the information to different areas.

“Traditionally feminist research has really had a strong hold in the social sciences and humanities,” McCullough said. “But there is a real recognition that those sort of insights could really benefit STEM fields and so part of what we are doing is making more bridges work with STEM faculty and graduate students and undergrads to help them understand how some of the training that comes from feminist research could help them to do their research better.”

The exhibition will be held in the gender, sexuality and women’s studies office in Hart Hall. The office shares similar values as the Feminist Research Institute so the two complement each other. Although the exhibition will have an opening reception, the institute aims to keep the art pieces up for a month in order to give students the opportunity to appreciate the artwork on their own time.

“The exhibition was the idea of Rebecca Bihn-Wallace,” McCullough said. “One of the members of our creative undergrad research team, a studio arts major and a practicing artist. [She was] really enthralled by the idea of creating a student art exhibit that featured work that fosters some of our core values.”

The exhibition is optimistic about seeing artwork that engages in the possibility of transformation and creativity to make change in the world.

The deadline to submit artwork is Thursday, March 21. Students have all of Winter Quarter to create new pieces that could represent the values the Feminist Research Institute aims to embody.

When submitting work for the exhibition, Lam has a piece of advice for the creative undergraduates.

“Be confident with your work and your intention,” Lam said. “A part of our Google Form involves a personal statement involving your work but while that helps us interpret your work a little easier, we do have a great respect for art that speaks for itself and we are looking for as many voices and perspectives and expressions as possible.”

The date of the exhibition is to be determined, but updates can be found on the Feminist Research Institute website.

Written By: Itzelth Gamboa arts@theaggie.org


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