Tag Archives: parenting

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

Radical Roots: Still Planting Seeds, Still Nourishing Feminist Work

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

Our home garden in Cranston, Rhode Island

“Humility in relationship to nature’s power made survival possible” (hooks 2009:67)

This semester has been difficult. We are all wading through uncertain waters as we navigate our way out of a global health pandemic. My own fears and anxieties have worsened many times since the beginning of this crisis. I worry about the health and safety of my family, my friends, and many others more vulnerable than myself. The worry can be mentally and emotionally crippling. Someone recently asked me how I am managing to balance being a graduate student and a parent who desires to continue doing feminist work during this time?

My answer is that I get my hands dirty. By that, I mean that I literally put my hands in dirt (or soil, rather) as a way of grounding myself amidst all that is happening around me. Grounding oneself is a common therapeutic technique used to help those experiencing anxiety in anchoring themselves to the present. There may also be biological evidence that gardening is a particularly valuable grounding practice. Lowry et al. (2007) found that harmless bacteria present in soil activate serotonin and thereby act as an antidepressant. Although these findings pertain to laboratory mice, I am sure this could be true for humans as well! 

Certainly, gardening has been one of the most calming and centering activities in my daily life. It is also an activity that promotes food and environmental sustainability, community, and care. It is a radical practice, which my grandmothers and at least one of my great-grandmothers also used for anchoring themselves from uncertainty as black women living in the Jim Crow South. I recall words from bell hooks’ essay, “Earthbound on Solid Ground,” in which she reminds us that reconnecting with earth has always been a practice rooted in racial and psychological resistance,“Reclaiming our history, our relationship to nature, to farming in America, and proclaiming the humanizing restorative of living in harmony with nature so that the earth can be our witness is meaningful resistance” (hooks 2009:70). 

I will pass this history and practice to my daughter, Hanna, pictured here gathering leaves this month for composting and fertilizing our squash seedlings. There couldn’t be a better time to teach her how to get her hands dirty!

This year, the Sarah Doyle Center kicked off our Radical Roots theme to acknowledge prior feminist work and plant figurative seeds for the future. Although our spring gardening event had to be cancelled, we are still planting and cultivating figurative and literal seeds! 

Stay tuned for a future blog post in which I will share photos from my family’s budding garden as well as photos provided by others from the Brown community who continue to engage with us about their own gardening practices.

We may be physically separate, but we are still planting seeds together and still nourishing feminist work. 

“To tend the earth is always then to tend our destiny, our freedom, and our hope.” (hooks 2009:68)

We will continue to do the work. This is how. 

Image credit: Photos by Shanelle Haile


hooks, b. (2009) Belonging: A Culture of Place.Taylor and Francis

Lowry, C. A., Hollis, J. H., de Vries, A., Pan, B., Brunet, L. R., Hunt, J. R. F., Paton, J. F. R., van Kampen, E., Knight, D. M., Evans, A. K., Rook, G. A. W., & Lightman, S. L. (2007) Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimbocortical serotonergic system: Potential role in regulation of emotional behavior. Neuroscience, 146(2), 756–772.

The kitchen table (a.k.a. my new office)

By: Felicia Salinas-Moniz, Senior Assistant Director, Sarah Doyle Center

A kitchen in Riverside, Rhode Island

Yesterday, I showed up to a video conference call with a sticker on my forehead. As I was sitting at the kitchen table (a.k.a. my new makeshift office) my 5-year old came and placed a holiday sticker on my face. She must have grabbed it out of a pile of art supplies that I had strewn on the floor for the day’s “home school” activities. When my spouse came down from a bedroom makeshift office, I ran upstairs to take this conference call and the first thing that was made apparent (of my being a parent working remotely) was the glittery decal.

Like many working parents our household has dramatically shifted in the past few weeks with the lines of work, home, and school explicitly blurred. There are many “parenting in the pandemic” stories out there — a good amount speaking to sexism and the gender/labor divide, with others that highlight the ways in which racism, classism, ableism (among other structural inequalities) are colliding to impact the experience of families during covid-19. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of “intersectionality” as a freeway collision visibly felt in homes (and at kitchen tables) around the globe. 

The kitchen table, as a symbol, has roots in black feminist and other women of color feminist cultural production. Barbara Smith describes the formation of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press during the early 1980s as follows:

We chose our name because the kitchen is the center of the home, the place where women in particular work and communicate with each other. We also wanted to convey the fact that we are a kitchen table, grass roots operation, begun and kept alive by women who cannot rely on inheritances or other benefits of class privilege to do the work we need to do (1).

Rereading feminist texts like This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (second edition published by Kitchen Table press in 1983) provides helpful perspective in this moment. In this groundbreaking anthology, women of color feminists wrote extensively about navigating life, work, and creativity under often difficult situations. Today, as we close week 2 of social distancing, I am reminded of Gloria Anzaldúa’s advice “Forget the room of one’s own — write in the kitchen….” (2)

Today, I will write, work, and parent — in the kitchen.

Image credit: Marina Andrejchenko/Shutterstock.com

Works Cited

  1. Smith, Barbara. “A Press of Our Own Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3. (1989) p. 11-13.
  2. Anzaldúa, Gloria. “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to 3rd World Women Writers.” In This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. 2nd edition. Eds. Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa. Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1983.