Weeks of March 9th and March 16th, 2021
(This is part of the Studio Assistants’ Blog-post series recounting projects we were working on last year and only now are writing them up.)
Written By Eleanor Stewart, Studio Assistant
This week started a refreshing month of working for Gabrielle in person, in her studio. Since I started working for Gabrielle a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, I began my internship feeling pretty bogged down and distressed. This made working on the Women of Influence Project very empowering for me because I was able to put aside my own worries to spend a handful of hours each week studying all sorts of amazing women! 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.
I had been researching different influential women for a few weeks, but the project was at the point where I needed some extra opinions. So, Gabrielle and I posted on our social media asking people to tell us who sticks out to them as a “Contemporary Influential Woman.” Studio assistant Sofié Ruderman compiled a list of the women that people suggested on Gabrielle’s Facebook post . There were 150 women on the list that she texted me! When I added those names to the list I already had, it turned into a list of 300 influential women! What amazed me was just how many women are truly inspirational to so many people. At this point, our biggest issue was how in the world we were going to narrow this list down to 52 women when every person on the list was absolutely incredible in their own way! Gabrielle and I decided we were going to have to get more people involved to discuss how to narrow this list down. We decided to have a zoom meeting with Gabrielle’s friends and colleagues on April 1st and discuss the project, the work we’ve done, and how to move forward selecting 52 women.
In preparation for our WOI zoom working group event, I organized our list of women. As I added the women suggested by Gabrielle and I’s friends and family, I starred the names that were mentioned more than once. When a name was mentioned more than twice, I double starred it. Then, I highlighted the names that were most popular. It was clear that there was a theme of who is known to be a contemporary influential woman of the past 50 years. So, I created a separate list of 25 women that were likely going to be included in the project based on how often their names were brought up. I also categorized everyone on the list based on their occupation or form of contribution to the world, whether it be visual artist, activist, politician, musician, athlete, etc. Because almost everyone on the list was an activist in some way, I only added them to the activist category if there was no other art form they were known for.
Although I was nervous about presenting in front of Gabrielle’s friends and colleagues, I was also excited for our zoom call and to get feedback on the work I had been doing!
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