This course’s final project invites students to respond critically and creatively to the National Women’s Studies Association’s national conference theme from 2018: JUST IMAGINE. IMAGINING JUSTICE.
The conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia in November 2018. The NWSA Conference travels from city to city each year to host keynote speeches, scholars’ panels, book talks, art events, and teach-ins in different regions across North America. In recent years, the NWSA conference has been in Baltimore, Maryland in 2017, Montreal, Canada in 2016, San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2015, and will be in San Francisco, California in November of 2019.
The 2018 theme was unique in that beyond the usual scholarship in history and culture and focus on teaching issues related to women’s studies, the conference more directly engaged the role of art, media, and the imagination broadly in order to investigate the creative potential of looking forward to what could become the future of justice and more just human relations.
For your final project in this course: Create a single artistic representation of your vision for the future of justice, with at least some awareness of an intersectional and/or global perspective. You may create this artistic representation “old school” by drawing or collaging on a sheet of paper or poster board a vision of what justice in our world might look or sound like in the near or distant future or you may use various digital technologies to create a digital poster or flyer or GIF or you may create a short (no more than 2 minutes) multi-media piece such as a video or a podcast.
Whatever methods you use to express and represent your vision for the future of justice please remember that we all want to see and appreciate it, so save it in a universally readable file format such as PDF, JPG, MP3 or MP4.
You may not simply borrow an existing meme or other pre-made image and call it your own. The idea is that you have something unique and original to express, even simply (you are not being evaluated as an artist here but as a thinking, creative human which we all can be!).
For example, I absolutely love this GIF created by Libby VanderPloeg (maybe you’ve seen it in the last year as it has made the rounds); however, it would not respect her artistic property nor my own creative and critical vision to simply copy it, or copy it and add a caption or something like that. If I wanted to represent a vision of justice that expressed a similar sentiment, I could (old school) create a poster with construction paper or magazine clippings, or (new school) make a short video where a few friends and I show ourselves supporting each other and literally having each other’s back in turn.
The first step in completing this project would be to identify a concept or idea for the future of justice. This could include many common movements or cultural ideas such as:
“equal pay for equal work” (a kind of economic justice for women and men across class backgrounds), or
#metoo ideals of respecting the voices of sexual assault survivors (the original movement honored all ages and ethnicities and the founders have since made it clear men should be included, too), or
“families against mandatory minimums” (a prison reform movement that argues sentencing practices often impact women and ethnic minorities disproportionately), or
“there is no planet B” (a common phrase in recent environmental movements that often expresses how environmental justice = justice for everyone)
These are only sample concepts. Trust yourself and your vision for the future of justice, and try to enjoy and back yourself in creating something that doesn’t have to meet anyone else’s high artistic standards. Think of it as folk art or craft even if you find that helpful, and be willing to be surprised at what you are able to do.
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