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Colorful puzzle pieces and "Impactful Women in STEM Crozzword Puzzle" in the center.

WiSE x Sarah Doyle Center Present: Women in STEM Crossword Puzzle Challenge

By: WiSE Coordinators — Nomin Baatarkhuu ’21, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Rachel Lim ’21, Economics and Biology, Melissa Lopez ’21, Environmental Science (Conservation Science & Policy), Erika Nakajima ’21 Applied Mathematics-Biology & Anthropology

Brown’s Women in Science and Engineering, along with the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender, are excited to present a crossword puzzle about influential women in STEM. Over the last century, women have made countless groundbreaking discoveries in the various fields of STEM, but many of them have been under-celebrated in a historically male-dominated field. With this puzzle, it is our goal to bring to light many of these inspiring women and their extraordinary work, some of which has been done locally, on our very own Brown campus.

As you complete this puzzle, you will learn about women who have demonstrated brilliance and strength in the fields of STEM. Brown University students (studying locally or remotely) who answer all questions correctly will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. There will be 3 opportunities to win. We hope you can use this puzzle as an opportunity to take a small break from your classwork while still learning about the interesting contributions of women in STEM!  The puzzle challenge will close on April 5, 2021.

HOW TO PLAY:

You can complete the puzzle online at the link below:

https://crosswordhobbyist.com/852164/WiSE-Crossword-Puzzle

When you are finished, click the “Submit Answers” button on the left and enter your name and Brown email address (you do not need to create an account on the crossword puzzle site to play).

Image credit: Melissa Lopez

2 hands raised up in the air with 2 butterflies in the center and the sun shining through.

Take the Regeneration Photo Challenge!

By: Shanelle Haile, PhD Student in the Department of Sociology and Grad Parent Coordinator at the Sarah Doyle Center

We are excited to invite Brown University families to participate in our Women’s History Month theme “regeneration” by taking the Regeneration Photo Challenge, which aims to connect us and encourage our children to consider the world through a feminist lens.

The Indigenous feminist concept “regeneration” is a call for growth and renewal after destruction. Regeneration challenges us to recognize the interconnectedness of people, places, and nature as we face many dangers, such as climate change, racial violence, threats to reproductive integrity, and inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. Regeneration is, to put it simply, a responsibility to create gentler ways of living together by working across generations.

Therefore, we want to hear from youth in the Brown community! Please encourage your children (for younger children, in collaboration with a parent or caregiver) to submit a photograph and a brief description of how the photo exemplifies regeneration.

Talk with your kids about what regeneration means in their homes and communities. Ask your child about what it means to create gentler relationships built on reciprocal care and how we can reorient our existing relationships toward interactions that emphasize a shared love for one another.

To enter this photo contest, submit your photo and description through this google form. Five participants will be selected at random to receive a terrarium kit. The kits come with all you need (including lighting) to create a mini garden—a small world—in your own home. 

The submission deadline is April 1st. Details and submission information can be accessed via this link. We look forward to your submissions!

Image credit: sarayut_sy/Shutterstock.com

International Women’s Day Haiku Submissions

By: Global Brown Center for International Students and the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender

Thank you to those who submitted haiku submissions in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th. Please see below. Thank you, Nhu Phung, for creating the designs!

By: Hamsa Shanmugam
By: Florin A Najera-Uresti
By: Helena Stacy
By: Maria Daigle
By: Chanelle Dupuis
By: Irene

What’s in a Squiggle? Notes on Facilitation

By: Benjamin Freeman, Fall 2020 Practitioner in Residence at the Swearer Center and member of The Glitter Goddess Collective

I am a facilitator. As a facilitator, I create experiences that support people in tapping in: to their own curiosities and rumblings, to the wisdom that others have to offer, and to a shared set of ideas or problems, work that needs to be done. Facilitation depends on the so-called “soft skills” of listening, empathic communication, and care, skills that have historically been ascribed to women and femmes and relegated to being of second-class importance in a misogynistic society. In this piece I want to explore facilitation as its own art form — an art form that awakens the artistry in others — and consider how this might be a specifically feminist way of thinking, feeling, being, healing. As a window into this, I want to invite some silliness! I want to share what I have learned facilitating an exercise called the Squiggle Game in my work as this semester’s Practitioner in Residence at the Swearer Center. The Squiggle Game is a deceptively simple activity: one person draws an impulsive squiggle and invites other participants to contribute to it, to make something together. Ostensibly the drawing, the product, is the point. But the drawing is also an entry point for us to reflect on the process of making creative choices together, to re-examine our own relationship to what it means to be a creator.

GOOD WORK TAKES TIME

In her essay “Uses of the Erotic,” Audre Lorde writes that “the sharing of joy…forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.” This sharing is one of the core tasks of facilitation that sees justice or equity as its aim. But when do people feel safe enough to share joy, to be vulnerable in play? We cannot come to the conversation assuming we understand each other. The threat of difference has been inserted into our lives by design, and the pleasure of coming to know each other will have to be the product of deliberate creative work. Creating justice is a new kind of performance all of us will have to participate in.

In facilitation I always notice the time it takes to relax. We can’t get to the heart of what we are feeling or thinking or may be needing to experience together right away; there is too much anxiety hanging in the air, too much anticipation of what and how this will be, which precludes the possibility of experiencing it now, as it actually is. Too much fair worry as to whether we will feel safe and seen here. Competitiveness arises for many of us, both in ways of feeling superior and inferior, but rarely feeling ourselves as whatever we actually are. When we can acknowledge this in community it is a grace. Krista Tippett, the host of the podcast On Being, writes about the pressure she experienced in the early years of producing the show to make the episodes punchier, quicker, more concise. She resisted, trusting the slow work that conversation can do. Each time I play the Squiggle Game in a workshop, there is an initial surge of creative energy, then a lull, and then, if I have been skillful in tending to my own sense of urgency, a second wave in which the picture — literal and figurative — gets richer and intensifies. Stopping at the first lull is appealing. It takes immediate care of my anxiety, and it gives us something presentable to work with. But it’s a mistake. It comes at the expense of process. Good work takes time. 

HOW WE COME HOME TO OURSELVES

I have said that, in the Squiggle Game, while we are ostensibly focused on one thing, something concrete, something else happens. Something intimate and vulnerable, something we can choose to be curious about. Most Squiggle Games that I have played include faces with exaggerated expressions of joy; many take dragons as their central protagonist. Eventually, in most Squiggle Games played by Zoom, someone discovers the stamp function on the annotated whiteboard and, in what seems to be a spontaneous flurry owing in part to digital lag, the screen fills up all at once with hearts and checkmarks and stars. People’s accounts of what happens for them in the Squiggle Game usually foreground a sense of silliness and play that they feel renewed permission to express. So the form and the process of the drawing tend to mirror each other: what we create in the Squiggle Game reflects the childlike part of our consciousness that we are tapped into, a way of being that we experience increasing societal pressure to discard as we age. Maya Angelou wrote:

I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias.

We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.

How do we come to ourselves? The fundamental genius of child mind is the gift of seeing all things as dynamically alive, which also means that fear and isolation can take on overwhelming proportions. The other set of responses that tend to come up in debrief: this was difficult, I didn’t know what to make, I felt silly in a self-judging way, it was hard to relinquish a sense of autonomy and lean in to collective process and collective mind. What I hear in these responses is the reality that playing can be hard work. That playing is vulnerable, and that it can be unnerving to feel estranged from the native language of learning of our early lives. What accounts for this estrangement? How and when do we learn that playing is something we should devalue and disavow? Sometimes the most important thing a facilitator can do is deliberately raise the level of discomfort in a room, to say: I think there might be something we are collectively avoiding here. Something intimate, something vulnerable. Let’s slow down, look at it, be with it together. The difficulty of coming home to ourselves, and the things that stand in the way of our feeling safe when we go inside: strong facilitation practice regards all of this as valuable. It is not just concrete deliverables that are on my mind in facilitation: it’s our ability to relate well to one another that is always fundamentally at stake, and this depends on our ability to relate well to ourselves.  

THE CONVERSATION THAT ONLY THESE PEOPLE CAN HAVE

In her book Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown says: “There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have. Find it.” That is the most elegant definition of facilitation that I have encountered so far. And the idea that the conversation exists, whether or not we choose to attend to it, and that that conversation can be illuminated only through the unique gathering of people present in a given moment, is part of what makes facilitation a spiritual task, as well as a feminist one. A non-feminist ethic is one that says: you are valuable to me insofar as you have something to offer that can advance my own purposes. A feminist ethic is one that acknowledges: you have your own reason for being, and I have mine, and there is an abundance of possibility at the nexus of the two, if we will stay in relationship (thoughtful, considerate, principled relationship) long enough to find it. A feminist ethic knows there is enough time and space for everyone to be heard.

Justice work is healing work.

Justice is relational. 

Healing our relationships, with others, with ourselves.

Everything spirals upwards from there.

Underneath the conscious layer of what we do to make our lives “work” in social context (what Angelou characterizes as finding parking spaces and honoring our credit cards), I feel aware of the fact that there is pain — private, quiet, isolating pain. All of us are asked to discard parts of ourselves that don’t fit the mold, to deaden ourselves to our own suffering and the suffering of others. This is part of how systemic oppression works. I am always curious about these unspoken whispers, these unacknowledged ghosts in a group. Facilitation with a liberating praxis asks: what is just beyond the edge of what feels safe enough to say here? And then: what work can we do to make this space something that might be capable of holding that with tenderness and respect? How do we build spaces that are worthy of the full and complicated selves we actually are, rather than the selves we think others want us to be? We are still talking about the sharing of joy, just through the prism of meditating on pain. The poet Naomi Shihab Nye writes: “Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside / You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.” The Squiggle Game is a queer little journey into the heart of that flow, the heart of what makes us human. I have said that facilitation is an art form, one that awakens the artistry in others. It is also a practice of coming back to each moment with clarity and curiosity, and asking: “What might I learn in relationship with you today?” 

“Gender Politics” Crossword Puzzle Winners!

Thank you to those who played our “Gender Politics” Crossword puzzle! Out of 13 submissions, there were 2 folks who correctly solved all the questions. Congratulations Suzie Zhang and Payton de la Cruz!

The “Gender Politics” crossword puzzle is still online for those who haven’t had a chance to try and solve it. There is a node you can toggle called “show errors,” which will check your answers for accuracy. Additionally, the answer key can be found here when you’re finished and want to verify your answers.

Look out for our next crossword puzzle challenge rolling out in the new year!

Illustrated image of green plants with roots emerging from soil with the words "Regeneration Zine Open Call" on top.

What is With Us: SDC Regeneration Zine Open Call!

By: Billie McKelvie ’21, American Studies Concentrator, Sarah Doyle Center Zine Librarian

For our first open call collaborative zine, we are looking for work thinking about and responding to our theme for the year — Regeneration: Networks of Kinship and Care.

What seeds are you planting?

What do you give birth to? What is reborn through you? 

What do you resist? What forces do you hold against? 

Where are you located inside of your networks? Who do threads of care pull you closer to? 

Respond to these questions or anything off of this theme. We see this zine as a way of encouraging collaborative knowledge exchange and collaborative work in resistance to isolation. Now, as we are theoretically more siloed from each other than ever, what networks are still enabling our collective care and survival? We ask those same questions that ground the feminist work of our center – what is the labor of care? What is the work of reproduction? What does it take not just to recycle but instead regenerate? 

Submit short text, illustration, photographs, or anything else you want to include before December 1st. 

To submit and for more information, fill out our google form here

If you have any questions, contact Billie (they/them) our zine librarian at bonnie_mckelvie@brown.edu 

Also, don’t forget to check out our virtual zine library blog where we highlight contemporary work by independent artists! Posts are going daily! You can find that online at https://sdczinelibrary.tumblr.com/

Banner image for "Sarah Doyle Center Gender Politics Crossword Puzzle Challenge" with a geometric background and pink and black color palette.

Sarah Doyle Center Crossword Puzzle Challenge – Gender Politics Edition

By: The Sarah Doyle Center Staff

The Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender presents a mid-term crossword puzzle challenge around gender politics for this upcoming election week. While this is by no means an exhaustive history of gender politics, this crossword puzzle reveals people, movements, and legislation across time that have had a direct impact on women and gender in the U.S. We wish to thank Amanda Knox, assistant archivist at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, for providing those questions pertaining to the history of women and gender at Brown (HINT: you may need to consult the Pembroke Center archives to answer those questions).

As you work on this puzzle may you be reminded of the power of people’s voices and the ongoing fights for social justice still happening today. Those members of the Brown University community who answer all questions correctly will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Martha S. Jones’ new book Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All. There will be 2 opportunities to win! Puzzle challenge will close on Sunday, November 8th [Sunday, November 15th *new deadline*].

Happy puzzling and please remember to VOTE on November 3rd!

HOW TO PLAY: 

You can complete the puzzle online at the link below:

https://crosswordhobbyist.com/849913/Sarah-Doyle-Center-Gender-Politics-Crossword-Puzzle

When you are finished, click the “Submit Answers” button on the left and enter your name and Brown email address (you do not need to create an account on the crossword puzzle site to play).

Photo of a blue sky with clouds with the words "sarah doyle thesis writing group" and "writing a thesis? taking a feminist approach in your work? asking questions around gender? join our new writing community"

Take a Seat: Sarah Doyle Center Collaborative Thesis Writing Collective

By: Billie McKelvie ’21, American Studies Concentrator, Sarah Doyle Center Zine Librarian 

The Sarah Doyle Center is starting a collaborative thesis writing collective.

Maybe the most disheartening thing about being asked to sever ourselves from our in-person networks is the unknown conversations we lose. We can’t predict what they might have been, and only know that for some of us, like me, those moments of spontaneous connection breathed life into our days and our work. The material losses of the center’s quiet nooks and warm embraces are deeply felt. 

We are all called to slow down and peel back the layers of our work to find its emotional core. As a staffer at the Sarah Doyle Center, this question has been present for me in the reevaluation of our community role having lost access to the physical space that had so joyfully become our home. As its absence sets in, I’ve had time to notice the function of the space in my own life and those around me who have used it not just as a landing place but a point of collaboration between students, mentors, artists, texts, and history. It is these spaces of casual cooperation, where we are able to unbutton ourselves and exhale our worries, that we do the real work of living.

Relational exchange is at the core of feminist principles. It is the uniting thread between reproduction, continuance, kinship, solidarity, and collectivity among others. Rejecting the patronizing voice of academia means consenting to speak from where we are situated and to build real networks of collaboration with our peers. The university asks us to have individual schedules, theses, processes, and even ideas. Knowledge should not be an individualist process of personal accumulation, and to be fair, it hardly ever is. When possible, the center strives to be a place where students can step outside of these boundaries of self-ascension to learn and be with each other in the co-making of new worlds. 

So many of the texts we use to ground our work have been written collaboratively, too. Before the pandemic, we had planned to host Margo Okazawa-Rey of the Combahee River Collective, a Black Feminist organizing group from the 1970s. The Combahee River Collective statement continues to jolt the world into action around collective liberation from white supremacy and heteropatriarchy by providing an intersectional framework for analysis and action. The Collective’s work has uprooted and reconstituted the feminist movement, not through an individual process alone at a desk, but in its co-making process with peers and call to collective action. The Combahee River Collective is not just a singular miraculous case of mutual thinking, writing and calls to action–it is far from it. 

In feminist history an overwhelming amount of work has been produced/enacted from a position of collaboration instead of isolation. Texts like This Bridge Called My Back, Our Bodies Ourselves, countless essay collections, oral histories, the more recent Feminism for the 99% and Feminisms in Motion, speak to the power of collective writing as an intervention. This writing inspires us as another way to be in the process of knowledge production. We can challenge ourselves to be knowledge sharers rather than producers, and strengthen our commitment to justice over personal gain. 

Can we resist individualism in isolated times? How can we offer energy as well as support? What does our work need right now? What do students need right now? What is this center? These are questions whose responses have guided this idea. 

See this group as an opportunity–a tool that will be reshaped by the people who come to live in its space. It is an open floor, a support system, a rejuvenation, or a room with a ring of empty chairs. Join us. 

The Sarah Doyle Center Thesis writing group will meet on a regular basis over zoom. It is open to all students who are working on a thesis or capstone project that relates to gender or takes a feminist approach. 

For more information and to sign up, fill out our interest form linked here.

What is Feminist Art: A Virtual Exhibition of Children’s Artwork

By: Shanelle Haile, PhD Student in the Department of Sociology and Grad Parent Coordinator at the Sarah Doyle Center

We received 23 submissions during our open call for feminist art from the youth in the Brown community. Children were asked to create feminist works of art. The open call’s interpretation of “feminist art” includes abstract art submissions, such as the epic Dibble Dibble Dap Dap by Winter (age 3); depictions of historical figures Frida Kahlo, Harriet Tubman, and Annie Oakley in The Dessert Party by Lola (age 7); and a Lego sculpture by Milo (age 5). I was particularly inspired by the work of our teenage artists, Bella (age 15) and Natalia (age 16), who submitted thematic pieces (Grow Further and Crying), which invite us to reflect on varied gendered experiences. For example, when I look at Grow Further I think of the liberating nature of knowledge. Crying makes me think of the complexity of social norms surrounding femininity. I don’t know whether these interpretations are what our two young, talented artists had in mind but this is the beauty of art. Each of us take from a piece what speaks to us.

I hope you also enjoy this virtual exhibition of children’s artistic expression. The children in our community are certainly a creative group of budding young artists. Cultivating their talents continues our work at the Sarah Doyle Center to foster community and encourage the next generation of potential feminist thinkers and artists.

Note: Five submissions were selected at random to win one of our art kits. The winners are: Claudeline Chery, Chantel Pheiffer, Regina Peick, Laura Stokes, and Isabel Mattia! Winners will be contacted via email.

Children colorful painting drawing on the wall, child dreams, background texture

The Future of Feminist Art: An Open Call for Children’s Art

By: Shanelle Haile, PhD Student in the Department of Sociology and Grad Parent Coordinator at the Sarah Doyle Center

We are kicking off a new academic year of feminist parenting programming by inviting your children to submit works of art to the Sarah Doyle Center’s Radical Roots blog. Feminist art is often associated with the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, a movement that challenged male dominance, sought the recognition of women in society and questioned gender assumptions. Thus, artwork categorized as feminist often depicts images and concepts pertaining to gender in society. We welcome feminist art submissions that depict these images and concepts but also recognize that some of our little ones are only just learning how to hold a crayon. So we also invite “abstract art” submissions. Take a look at the short video linked here where my own toddler creates a doodle titled “Love”; doodling can be a great way for young children to express themselves during the early stages of their artistic development. Abstract art can also be a means for older children to create images that are unbound to gender or to gendered concepts. And the best thing about it is that no special tools are needed!

Submit your child’s work of art (whether feminist or abstract) by October 20th and be entered to win one of five art kits. Each art kit includes a book Women in Art: 50 Fearless Women Who Inspired the World and an art toolkit for doodling and drawing. All submissions will be digitized and added to the SDC blog/digital art gallery. Simply snap a photo of your child’s artwork and upload on this google form. We welcome artwork from children of all Brown University graduate and medical students, staff, faculty, and postdoc parents.

Be sure to check the SDC Blog for programming updates and to view your child’s featured artwork.

For an abstract art idea, take a look at the Dangerous Doodle instruction video linked HERE for an easy abstract art tutorial.

Image credit: Raimonds Kalva LV/Shutterstock.com