Olivia Papp ’23
This Wednesday, Mar. 3, from 1:30 p.m. – 2 p.m., Ann Plato Fellow in Anthropology and American Studies Amanda Guzman will deliver a lecture entitled “Reframing (Our) Institutional Histories: Objects as New Sites of Representation” to the Trinity community. Guzman graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Ph.D. in Anthropology (Archaeology). Guzman specializes in museum anthropology, while her research focuses on the history of collecting and exhibiting Puerto Rico at the intersection of issues of intercultural representation and national identity formation. Using the knowledge and experience she has gained from her work with collections, Guzman has been able to use teaching practices that privilege a more equitable, co-production of knowledge in the classroom through accessible engagement in cultural work.
According to the main coordinator of the Art + Feminism event, Mary Mahoney, Guzman is a great speaker for this particular event because “she specializes in the field of museum anthropology and can speak on issues of representation in museums which is central to the theme of Art + Feminism. She is also a great speaker and is doing really exciting work at Trinity.”
Art + Feminism is an international community which closes the information gap about gender, feminism, and the arts on the internet. An important element of this work is coordinating “Wikipedia edit-a-thons” that address Wikipedia’s documented gender bias, specifically in the arts. The Art + Feminism week at Trinity is a way to promote awareness of this community and the work this community does.
“Professor Guzman will share her research in museum anthropology and use it to help us understand issues of representation in collections. The event itself speaks to the politics of knowledge creation and invites participants to first acknowledge and understand the disparity in coverage of women and non-binary artists on Wikipedia. It then welcomes volunteers to learn how to edit and contribute to pages of women and non-binary artists and organizations. The same kind of disparity in coverage of women and non-binary artists exists in museums and is influenced by issues of race, class, and gender,” added Mahoney.
While this is a lecture that may attract specific fields of studies, such as American Studies and Anthropology, attendance across all academic fields is encouraged.
“Art + Feminism speaks to the politics of knowledge creation. We all use Wikipedia all the time, for example, but perhaps don’t examine the motivations, assumptions, or biases that influence who gets a page, what kinds of sources count towards proving someone “notable” enough to warrant one, and what information gets edited out by editors. Similarly, how do museums decide what artists to feature? What kinds of objects are worthy of display and why? This series of events invites everyone on campus to think about assumptions we make about things in our world that are made to appear natural and what role gender plays in shaping those assumptions,” said Mahoney.
As part of the Art + Feminism Week, there is a culminating event called the “all-day edit-a-thon.” This event serves as a chance to close the information gap around gender, feminism, and the arts on the internet.
“We will train volunteers to learn how to edit and contribute to pages of women and non-binary artists and organizations. Volunteers can start with our list of New England artists and organizations in New England, or they can choose any artist or organizations of interest. There is absolutely no experience necessary, and in fact we love introducing people to editing who have never edited before! It’s easy and fun. The edit-a-thon will feature an hour-long performance break featuring community and Trinity artists. Our event site will also feature creative work from across campus that we are excited to share,” noted Mahoney.
There will be several events, including Guzman’s lecture on Wednesday, for Art + Feminism week offered by Trinity for this upcoming week. Typically, the events are held in person. However, this year, due to Covid-19, all events will be held virtually.
On Mar. 4, from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., a virtual tour featuring Feminist Art and Women Artists at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will occur. This tour will be led by Adult and Academic Programs Manager Janna Israel. At 11 a.m. -4 p.m. on Mar. 5, the all-day Wikipedia edit-a-thon, which includes breakout rooms for new Wikipedia Editors, will begin. There will be Artist performances occurring during this time from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.. Finally, on Thursday, Mar. 25, from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., there will be a virtual workshop entitled “Wikipedia and Open Pedagogy” focusing on these issues.