Assignment #3: Curations: Intersectional Art Activisms and Identities [Click title link to download a copy of this assignment.]

Partner project, presented poster session-style to entire class; engagement with the projects of other partnerships. YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO GET CREDIT FOR THE ASSIGNMENT! This assignment is worth 1/3 of your grade for the class, and the study of intersectionality is the most important piece of it. Due with logbook 3 in hardcopy in class Tuesday 18 November; electronic copy of logbook 3, write up of process of analysis, and digital photos documenting your curation presentation to TA email.

Click pic for additional resources!

In this assignment you will pair up with a classmate, learn and teach a form of art, and use this art form to explore a political issue. You will examine how intersectionality plays a role in the issue and how activists acknowledge intersecting identities when addressing this issue. You share your analysis and art activist project in a poster session with others in a particular curation format. NOTICE that you are likely to need to do some additional reading and research. Always make a point of connecting projects to class readings and lectures.

So notice that the three pieces you have to put together here are 1) your written intersectional analysis, which is the most important piece! – creativity and innovation in this analysis and care with understanding this part is worth the most for your grade (even though we dislike putting it that way: after all the learning is what matters most, not the grade); 2) your process and project, including choosing a partner and topic, then creating art activism together! This is the second most important element, 3) your presentation of the kinds of analysis involved in making and reflecting on art activism in the form of a curation project you display during our poster session-style day of sharing in class. This is also creative element and also should be lots of fun, but do not put most of your time and energy into this part. This is not the point of the assignment, and doing a great job of curating, while fun for all of us, is not the most important element for the grade for this assignment. It does create the festive atmosphere in which we share our work and enjoy each other though! And all of this allows us all to do the kind of trial and error learning that is the most important way to really learn something new!

The steps you should go through:

1) Immerse yourself in versions and understandings of intersectionality. This is what matters most! There are lots of links on the class website to explore. We will be doing exercises and talking about intersectionality in class and in discussion section. But you need to spend time yourself finding stuff to read about intersectionality: on the web, in our class books, and also elsewhere. See what citations you turn up from the materials in class, and make a point of researching some of these. Be sure to keep good records of this research, take notes, and add this information to your bibliography for this assignment. If you continue to take classes in Women’s Studies, knowing as much as possible about intersectionality will be invaluable. If you don’t ending up taking more Women’s Studies class, you will find nevertheless that intersectionality is a lens that will “empower you to make sense of your reality.” (For an invaluable resource that will help a great deal see http://www.salto-youth.net/rc/inclusion/inclusionresources/inclusiongroups/inclusionethnicminorities/InclusionIntersectionality/ )

2) Find a partner to work with. Since a crucial aspect of this assignment is to experience and think carefully about feminist processes, theories, shared practices that “create, sustain, and protect our solidarity” (as hooks says, p. 17, in hooks 2000) you need to work with others whose intersectional experiences are both similar and different from your own. They must be in our class and also doing this assignment. In section, half the class will volunteer to get a sticky note and write on it an art or creative skill that they would like to teach or share with a classmate. The other half of the class will choose the sticky note with the art form they’re most interested in exploring/learning.

3) Together choose a topic. Choose a problem in the US or the world you both care about and are interested in researching. Think about some of the topics that have come up in class or why you signed up for the class to begin with. Think about what gets you excited and what upsets you in regards to social justice or gender rights issues.

4) Create your collaborative art project: Do some research to find out if any art activists are already working on the topic you chose. If so, what kind of art projects are they doing and what is their purpose? It could be a topic that no artist is working on. Why is that? Using the art/skill that one of the partners decided to share, both of you will present the topic to your classmates.

Be creative! Art projects can range from artistic expressions like storytelling, poems, songs, music, dance, to creative data visual data organizers like website, twitter, pinterest boards, etc. The definition for an “art project” here is very broad, but that does not mean you can create it last minute. The amount of work you put into it will determine the quality of the project. On presentation day, everyone will be presenting simultaneously in a “poster-session” style format. So if you decide to do a performance piece such as poem or dance, you can create a video and play it on your laptop.

You will not be handing the project itself in (if it is a poster or a physical art project). Keep it and cherish it! Take pictures to document your project (which is what artists put into their portfolios too) and email them to your TA. If it’s something electronic, send us links, screenshots, or anything else so that your TA will have a record of what you have done.

5) Write up a partner or team analysis of the process of thinking through how to create an art activist understanding that works with intersectional forms of solidarity. Even though you will be graded on the entire Experience Set 3, this is the most important part of the assignment. You will hand in a 5 page paper that you wrote together, turning it in on the presentation day when you also turn in your Logbook 3. This write-up will be jointly written with your partner and should include an in-depth analysis of the topic you researched. Ask yourselves: What made you and your partner choose this topic? What is intersectionality? What are the intersecting identities that are explored in this topic? How has learning about intersectionality changed or not changed your perception of the problem? How is intersectionality represented in the art piece that you created? Present your research, explaining its relationship to the concept of intersectionality. Incorporate what you learned from class discussions, your readings, and your research.

What is important here is that being able to talk in some detail about how process matters in thinking intersectionally, and in working in solidarity with others on activist projects. This ties together both Experience Sets 2 & 3. Explain so that others can understand all the choices you made and how you thought them through. Partners or may not want to write this out in sections, which each responsible for a section of discussion. If so, be sure to include that aspect of the process in your discussion too! When we read this document we should know who did what and how, what each person’s role and thinking was, how it all worked out together in the end. THIS IS YOUR FIRST DRAFT! TIME TO REWRITE, ASK FOR FEEDBACK FROM BUDDIES, DO AGAIN, AND THEN DO A FINAL EDIT! Rewrite all this as a single, crafted essay. Be sure you do not copy things off the web without attributions. So if you use anyone else’s words be sure to cite these with footnotes. Add a bibliography that includes all the websites you visited and any catalogs, brochures or wall labels you quote or use information from, and any other materials you used. What styles do you use? Any standard one is fine: APA, MLA, Chicago are all good. To find out more Google “citation styles” and use those sites coming up for help in doing this well.

6) Projects are shared in class poster session-style on Tuesday 18 November. That means for the first third of class time, half the class will create small displays of their work all around our room, and the other half will walk around among these displays, talking to their presenters about their work individually and in little groups, interacting with them all at the same time. Katie and your TAs will also wander around, learning about your work and offering insights. Who displays and who walks around will switch in the second third of class time. During the third part of class, we will create a discussion about what we have noticed about each others’ projects and what we have learned from sharing our thinking and action and art activisms! You cannot get full credit for this assignment until after you present your work in this poster session-style event. In other words, just a project object does not in itself complete the assignment, reflection and writing as well as displaying yours and interacting with others is similarly important. If an emergency or illness kept you from participation that day, to get full credit you will have to meet with three other students to share your work and their work outside class, and write up the experience and what you learned from it to complete the participation portion of that grade. SO DO NOT MAKE OTHER PLANS ON THIS DAY: BUILD IT CAREFULLY INTO YOUR SCHEDULE!

7) Turn in: logbook 3, written process analysis, and PICTURES OF CURATION PROJECT! You keep the project yourself. After displaying it in class you will take it home. But you will turn in digital photos of the project to document it for evaluations. Print out hard copies to turn in to your TA on the day of the poster session presentations, and also email digital copies to your TA.

>> NEED AN EXAMPLE TO IMAGINE WHAT IS INVOLVED HERE? (Feel free to come up with something entirely different too! Check with TAs or Katie if you want to know what works.)

One person is into writing poetry. The other person has never tested the waters, but is interested in poetry. The two people are really passionate about learning more about human trafficking.

When researching, be specific. Are you researching human trafficking all over the world? Or only in Washington DC? Let’s say DC. Research questions could include: What are the race, gender, class, nationality, religion, etc. statistics pertaining to trafficking in DC? Is it related to other social justice issues? How? What systems of oppression and domination are playing a part? How is the situation complex? What is being done about it? Are there nonprofits working on it? Is the government involved? How? Who can seek help and who can’t? All of this information will help you write your paper.

For the art project, the two teammates want to write a spoken word poem together about human trafficking and how it affects victims, survivors, and communities.

An example of a poem that addresses intersecting issues is Staceyann Chin’s, “Feminist or a Womanist":

It explores the intersection of womanhood, queerness, Asian and Caribbean identity, religion, and more while addressing rape culture and other feminist concerns. It is an emotional and creative piece while still covering these issues.

The two teammates write a poem jointly about how the issue of trafficking differs for people based on gender, age, and nation. For example, they may write about the struggle of escaping for a young woman brought to DC who does not speak English. They can record themselves performing their poem and bring it in on their laptop for people to listen with headphones during the presentation day.

When turning it in, they give a file or url or other documentation to their TA. They also turn in their 5 page write-up, which is written together, along with their logbook.


Some resources to think with:

Reed's book The Art of Protest will be an invaluable resource as will the websites for social movements we looked at in class.   

Underpinning Principles: Intersectionality 

Quick Hit: Intersectionality Primer for Activists, Advocates, and Changemakers of All Kinds 

Content and Curation for Nonprofits     

Introducing The Curator’s Code: A Standard for Honoring Attribution of Discovery Across the Web   

Community Curation: The Everlasting Archive of Charles "Teenie" Harris 

Images from the exhibition: “Among You”   

Electronic Field Trip "Sharing Perspectives at the National Museum of the American Indian" 

"Healing Images" is a project for asylum seekers to select, frame and represent various aspects of their world   

Intersections of Queerness and Race in Queercore     

Trans-fats and Transphobia   

Circus Amok is a New York City based circus-theater company whose mission is to provide free public art addressing contemporary issues of social justice to the people of New York City.   


From YouTube: Uploaded by dkpaintedbird on Jan 4, 2011

From Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird's album "Lost Causes"
www.paintedbird.net available as Oriente Music's RIEN 77 at www.oriente.de

Original Yiddish song by Mordechai Gebirtig, written ca. 1930 in Krakow.
English by Daniel Kahn, 2009. Arrangement by Michael Winograd/Jake Shulman-Ment instrumental, "Nifty's Freylakh" by Naftule Brandwein


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