An altar to honor a person or something we value in higher education. Community members could be invited to bring items of tribute, such as a pebble or note with something written on it, a feather or bauble to hang. It is the time of the year when Day of the Dead and All Souls Day are celebrated. An altar to what we have lost, without appropriating other cultures, can be healing.
Assemble a large collage or fill glass jars with papers and tests to be graded (remove student names of course) submitted (one from each person) by all the adjunct faculty on campus to signify workload.
House of Cards
Create a large house of cards to show how precarious the university system is. Each card could be a photocopy of a course description from the college catalog.
The two faces of the academy--the myth versus the reality of academic employment. The face that consumers see is a mask that hides the reality. Collect life-sized photos of the faces of faculty and then superimpose the CEW 2017 logo on each one. Maybe have a guess who is behind each mask and give a prize to the person who guesses the most accurately.
Hank Willis Thomas (visual artist) urges activists to use actual frames to metaphorically explore how things are framed, in what’s outside of the frame, where identity comes from, the stories behind the stories and how the status quo changes. Use frames to show how the college experience is packaged, segmented, divided, warped . . . frames within frames. Myth versus reality of contingent teaching experience, student learning experience, TT faculty shared governance experience, academic freedoms taken away, etc.
An exhibit or installation is display of a two or three-dimensional collection of objects/images of any kind. It can be static (set up and left unchanged) or dynamic (either altering in response to elements of its environment including the audience, or progressing/morphing over time, building with new elements added by the artist/s or transforming into another entity).
Consider producing an installation which builds progressively as the week or month or semester goes on (depending upon how much time you can allocate to this progression), and where there is always some presence even when there isn’t an activity. There may just be a table with signs, information, buttons, T-shirts, and QR codes to important websites, union pamphlets, petitions for students and others to sign with equity demands (abolish student debt; tuition remission for all campus workers; a living wage, job security and benefits for adjunct faculty; diversity in faculty hiring, etc.). There may be material from the week’s events that involve people responding to prompts that are accumulated and displayed. A long banner that is written on, chalk on the sidewalk, things hung off of temporary clothes lines, trees, attached to poles, etc….
A quilt or banner that everyone contributes a square to. Each square could represent how they feel about higher education.
A three-dimensional map that illustrates relationships. A colorful graph or map of the campus with icons showing where the money is spent. “Follow the money” in higher ed by mapping its routes and showing how much goes where. Prepare an easy to read chart or graph that clearly places the amount or percentage of the funds dedicated to compensation of contingent faculty within the context of other components of the budget. View this TED talk by Chris Jordan about powerful ways to represent data visually. See the examples on Culture Jamming page for visual ideas.
A wall or fence that represents barriers to equity. Each board or building block could be a piece created by different people to represent shared experience. Visually or actually cut things in half, or into parts, an analogy/parody of anything that isn’t fully committed to or usable. They could be labeled as “Part-Time” or “Contingent Work.”
CCA Students of Color organization "Stay Neuitral" wall re-staged as an installation at No Justice No Service, photo by Jennie Smith-Camejo
Altar by Luis Ituarte
Altar by Frankie Tauber & Oliver App
Altar by Stephanie Williams
Altar by Kevin Williams
Art Exhibitions and Installations
Poster for an exhibition in the Pennsylvania Statehouse in Harrisburg. Adjunct work was hanging in the rotunda where the newly elected Governor Wolf spoke during his swearing-in Jennie Shanker curated it and made the poster.
Poster for CEW publicity at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Designed by Natalie Barnes.