February 23rd-March 8th 2021
Written By Eleanor Stewart, Studio Assistant
My third week working in the studio, I was still working on the Women Of Influence project. Women Of Influence is a project highlighting the work of women who are/were agents of social, political or cultural change in the past 50 years. Our goal was to choose 52 women and create embroidered outlines of their portraits that could eventually be turned into a deck of informational playing cards. However, as I was researching influential women to include, I started to feel stuck because the word “influential” seemed to mean something different depending on where I looked.
I talked to Gabrielle about my concerns and she said it would be great to shift our view of ‘Influential’ through the lens of invisibility/visibility because of her other project, The Invisibility Lab. The Invisibility Lab is “an international creative research platform focused on the cross-cultural study and multimedia presentation of the seen and unseen.” *
So, we decided to define “Influential Women” as people who fight for making visible things and people that are invisible. This includes fighting for the rights of marginalized people, the environment, LGBT+ communities, people of color, sexual expression, and anything that is made invisible or left unacknowledged in our society. With this definition of “influential,” I solidified 50 contemporary women that I was confident were influential and described their contributions to society. I also kept on researching their photos.
Once I had a defined list of 50 women, it was time to reach out to friends, family, and colleagues and get feedback on our list. I sent it out to previous professors asking for their thoughts. Both Gabrielle and I posted on social media and asked people who they think are “Contemporary Influential Women” in terms of social, cultural, or political change. I texted and Facebook messaged friends. Then, once people got back to me, I added their suggestions to our list, as well as their contribution descriptions, and some of their photos.
It was really nice to reach out to friends and family and see who were the people that were named. There were a lot of names that were repeated, which was cool to see. But, there was also such a broad variety of people. It was very amazing to see how so many influential women have impacted us in so many different ways!!
*Quote taken from the Invisibility Lab website: https://invisibilitylab.com/
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