SCAHGrad: 2013-14 Women & Gender Working Group Topics

As part of our Women, Gender, & Academia initiative, SCAHGrad has begun to form working groups in the Boston area around specific areas of inquiry on which to conduct research and take action. Descriptions of the first six working groups are now available.

The SCAH working groups for the 2013 – 2014 academic year will borrow the model of the New York Collective of Radical Educators’ Inquiry to Action Groups (ITAGs). These groups meet every week for 8 weeks and center their discussions around the attainment of a specific product, action, or goal. They are meant to be short-term, intensive, and action-oriented. During the academic year, the groups will also convene in order to present the work they have been doing and to share resources with each other.

However, the working groups are not limited to this structure. Some, such as a childcare share network, will need to be organized differently in order to accommodate the group’s needs. The groups are meant to be flexible and self-sustaining according to the desires of the participants, and will naturally fluctuate over time.

Groups will begin meeting in Fall 2013. We will soon add a contact person for each group. In the mean time, please contact us at scahgrad@gmail.com to join up with any of the following Boston-area groups:

1) Feminism and the art history survey course

This group would consider the intersection between feminism and the modern/contemporary art history survey course (or whichever course the group would like to consider). It will think about the implications of feminism for pedagogy, and will consider how feminism and feminist-oriented art practices can be integrated into the course, perhaps coming up with a model syllabus.

2) Graduate school and professional advancement

This group would research how different universities approach and accommodate life events such as childbirth among graduate students. The group would research and give visibility to the question of how these issues affect graduate students, their work timelines, their pay structures (and vise versa).

3) SCAHGrad survey

This group would find a way to visualize and disseminate the data gathered by the SCAH Quality of Life survey, which was distributed during the 2012 – 2013 academic year. The group might create infographics or other types of visual data models, or write an article to inform graduate students about aspects of the program which are not usually discussed during the application and decision process.

4) Childcare sharing

This group would be longer-term and would set up a network for sharing childcare responsibilities.

5) Work/life divide and the Humanities

This group will research the elusive problem of “work/life balance” in the academy, keeping in mind the implicit connection of this problem to the gendered distinction between public and private. It will identify the peculiar challenges in this arena faced by students and professionals in the humanities and consider how these might be addressed.

6) Work, stipends, and debt

This group would be invested in looking at the problem of debt among art history graduate students. It might examine the debt breakdown of students at various universities. It might also explore the loan and employment options available to graduate students.

7) Artists and labor

Participants in this group would educate themselves on how contemporary artists, collectives (such as Casco in Sweden) and artist organizations (such as W.A.G.E. and OWS Arts & Labor in NYC) are dealing with the intertwined issues of gender and labor, with an eye to inviting artists to speak or even initiating collaborations with artists who have similar question to ours.

8) Negotiation skills / public speaking classes

This group would research how gender informs approaches to public speaking and address and determine ways to develop skills in this area. It would create opportunities for its members and others to learn and practice public speaking or negotiation skills.