Welcome to the Social Justice Institute Virtual Art Gallery
The Reciprocal Realization of "Whispers of Life"
Joshua M. Ferguson
Painted Stories of Migration
*Please note that these guidelines are tentative and subject to change given the fluid composition of the graduate student community in the Institute. The guidelines should act as an open working document to meet the specific needs of each curatorial collective committee from year to year. Therefore, each committee should have the freedom to revise these guidelines as needed.
The GRSJ Virtual & Digital Gallery is committed to creating a space of dialogue around social inequality, social justice, and anti-oppression by providing an online platform for the public distribution of creative works related to this theme. The Gallery showcases art works that seek to advance social justice - that is, art that provides an avenue to disrupt and deconstruct hegemonic power and norms through emotion, affect, and creativity in a variety of mediums.
The Gallery adheres to an interdisciplinary social justice framework that is purposely broad in order to welcome and engage different, polyvocal discussions in the areas of art and social justice. Social Justice is here defined as the deconstruction and dismantling of unjust power relations, the challenging of oppressive societal norms and ideologies, the redistribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges, the encouragement of creative and dissident voices, and, importantly, mutual respect to all.
The Gallery advances UBC’s commitment to a respectful and inclusive living and learning environment through providing an exhibition space for artists who engage with issues that are often marginalized both in the art world and in society at larger. Our project promotes intercultural understanding through facilitating dialogue across differences by featuring art that discuss and express cultural diversity. The showcased artworks raise awareness around social injustice, giving UBC community members and the wider public new perspectives on equity and diversity. By featuring both student artists and local community artists, we aim to foster increased community engagement.
The online format of the gallery widens the reach of the art works to a global community of interested scholars, alumni, and activists. It can also become a great teaching tool for instructors and faculty at UBC and beyond who are interested in teaching social justice and anti-oppression strategies in the classroom. The Gallery is thus the first virtual gallery at the UBC dedicated to work located at the intersections of art, community engagement, and social justice.
The Gallery welcomes exhibition proposals for art works that:
• clearly utilizes a social justice framework as outlined above;
• are created by UBC students or local, community-based artists;
In addition to the above criteria, the Gallery will give priority to:
• artists from marginalized communities and/or communities that are
underrepresented on the visual arts scene
• works that are developed through community collaboration
The curatorial decisions for the Gallery are made by a curatorial collective that is open to all students based at the GRSJ Institute, and our curatorial principles rest on a feminist,anti-oppressive, and community-based art practice that encourages collaboration and is respectful and non-exploitative (Molesworth, 2009; Schor et al., 1999). We recognize that the formal arts scene have often participated in and promoted exclusionary practices that reproduce oppressive power relations, and we therefore assign priority to artists who belong to marginalized groups that are historically underrepresented on the arts scene. We also recognize that many groups have unequal access to the means of artistic production and that social justice artists often receive no or limited remuneration for their work. Therefore, although the Gallery operates on a small budget, all featured artists receive an
Molesworth, H. (2009). How to install art as a feminist. In C. Butler & A. Schwartz (Eds.), Modern women: Women artists at the Museum of Modern Art. New York: MOMA Publications.
Schor, M., et al. (1999). Contemporary feminism: Art practice, theory, and activism. Art Journal, 58(4), 8-29.
The GRSJ Virtual Digital Gallery Curatorial Collective is composed of graduate students at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ) at UBC Vancouver, as well as the Virtual Gallery Graduate Student Assistant (GAA).
The GRSJ Virtual & Digital Gallery Curatorial Collective welcomes exhibition proposals from all artists with a demonstrated commitment to social justice. Artists from marginalized communities and communities that have been underrepresented on the arts scene are especially encouraged to submit a proposal and will be given preference.
All exhibition proposals are reviewed by the Curatorial Collective and assessed according to the curatorial principles. Guidelines for submission and information about the review process are outlined below.
Submissions are accepted between May and August of every year. All proposals should include:
1. An Artist(s) Statement— (1000 words maximum) clearly outlining how the proposed exhibit relate to and further social justice. The artist’s statement should reflect that you have read the basic curatorial principles of the GRSJ Virtual & Digital Gallery and it needs to explain how your art work(s) fit with the mandate of our gallery.
2. Samples of the art work — if possible but not required (a written explanation of the intended artwork will suffice if examples are not possible). These samples could take various forms (images, video samples, etc.). Samples can be emailed as attachments or you could simply provide us with a link to you website or dropbox.
3. An Artist(s) Bio and Resume — (1000 words maximum). Proposals from new and emerging artists are just as welcome as more experienced artists, but we would like to get an idea of your background. If the artwork is displayed by a series of artists or a larger community group/organization, please provide information on the artists or the collective/organization.
4. Copyright Information—Information and clarification on ownership of the intended artwork to be displayed. Artists will maintain ownership of their artwork and will grant the TITLE Virtual Gallery a non-exclusive license to exhibit their work. All artists’ exhibits must be free of other copyright work unless the artist has received permission to use this copyright work referenced in the exhibit from the other artists or community group/organization.
5. Contact information.
Proposals are submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review Process and Timeline
All proposals are reviewed by the full curatorial collective. Decisions will normally be made within six to eight weeks of receiving your proposal (please allow for at least four weeks to pass before requesting an update). In accordance with feminist curatorial principles, all proposals will receive feedback and a clear explanation for our decision. Selected exhibiting artists will receive a honorarium of $500 (per exhibition).
The GRSJ Virtual & Digital Gallery is operated by the Curatorial Collective consisting of graduate students and a Graduate Student Assistant (GAA) hired by the GRSJ Institute at the recommendation of the Collective.
The GAA assists the Collective in organizing and promoting the virtual exhibits, as well as being a liaison to the contributing artists, students, and faculty. The Curatorial Collective meets in-person twice per term (including the winter and spring reviews). Communication is otherwise by email. At the end of the Winter terms, the Collective meets for a yearly project review that is open to all GRSJ students, staff, and faculty. The project review will assess the general running of gallery operations, as well as evaluate the gallery participation level and other concerns.
The GRSJ Virtual & Digital Gallery displays two artistic exhibitions per semester. Each artistic exhibit will be accompanied by a statement, video interview, or voice recording of the contributing artist. These statements allow the contributing artist to provide a summary of their work as well as articulate how their artistic work intersects with social justice issues and how art can be a critical form of social justice.
The Gallery consists of one online and one offline component. The Virtual Gallery is hosted on the official GRSJ website and features new and past Gallery exhibitions, as well as artist interviews and online discussions. Supplementing the Virtual Gallery, there is an interactive showcase room housed in the GRSJ Institute where members of the UBC community can access, watch, and listen to the digital content through stationary iPads and an LCD screen with headphones. All new exhibitions will be launched in this space,giving the UBC community and the wider public opportunity to meet and interact with the artist and other community members in person. The digital format of the exhibition, on the other hand, ensures that the dialogue will be ongoing and reach a wider number of community members than what usually comes out to events.
GRSJ Digital Art Gallery by Joshua M. Ferguson, Katherine Fobear, and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.