Research Publication Title

"Advocating For Empathy," A Case Study in Curation as a Function of Social Change

Presenter Information

Laika McDermittFollow

Major

Art, Concentration in Museum Studies

Faculty Mentor

Katie Anania

Keywords

Museum Studies, Curation, Fine Arts, Social Movements, Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Artwork gives a distilled, visual form to complex issues, and allows for open discussions of social, economic, and political topics to take place on a deeper contextual level. Aided by the information provided in the gallery space as well as thoughtful, methodical placement of each surrounding work in the exhibition, galleries can become forums for community engagement and social change. This research uses a gallery exhibition curated by myself entitled “Advocating for Empathy” as a practical case study in connecting artwork to its wider contexts in social movements throughout recent history, linking those artworks to modern day social movements. This work builds on Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” challenging the notion that patrons will simply observe the works in the gallery space by giving the patron more credit in their ability to be a co-creator of knowledge and empathy through an intersectional approach to the topics discussed within the exhibition. Topics examined by the artwork featured include, but are not limited to: LGBT+ rights, economic frustrations, immigration policy, and voting rights.

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"Advocating For Empathy," A Case Study in Curation as a Function of Social Change

Artwork gives a distilled, visual form to complex issues, and allows for open discussions of social, economic, and political topics to take place on a deeper contextual level. Aided by the information provided in the gallery space as well as thoughtful, methodical placement of each surrounding work in the exhibition, galleries can become forums for community engagement and social change. This research uses a gallery exhibition curated by myself entitled “Advocating for Empathy” as a practical case study in connecting artwork to its wider contexts in social movements throughout recent history, linking those artworks to modern day social movements. This work builds on Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” challenging the notion that patrons will simply observe the works in the gallery space by giving the patron more credit in their ability to be a co-creator of knowledge and empathy through an intersectional approach to the topics discussed within the exhibition. Topics examined by the artwork featured include, but are not limited to: LGBT+ rights, economic frustrations, immigration policy, and voting rights.