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Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Art for Women's Agency

This program designs and facilitates eight hour and a half long workshops between USC faculty-researchers, students, and residents of local shelters. These workshops are provided 2 to 3 times a year and integrate mixed media art practice with critical feminist pedagogy. Because local shelters are transitional homes for women (and their children) from periods of a few months to years, WWBI art workshops aim to create a space for them to express and work through their feelings and memories while gaining a sense of agency and community. The unique artworks produced in these workshops reveal the hidden layers of who these women are and embody a common strength and sense of self and subjectivity-in-transition.

Among communities of color, women are often uniquely affected by various forms of violence. Our workshops attempt to facilitate healing with women who have struggled with violence or instability by helping them to rebuild their perception of themselves, others, and society. In fall 2019, the workshop was provided to women aged 20-60 at Killingsworth, a local shelter located in Columbia. In spring 2020, several female sexual violence survivors aged 20-30 from the USC campus participated the workshops. Each semester since fall 2020, we have offered a series of art workshops to women aged 20-60 at Hannah House, a Columbia-based shelter for women and their children.

Dr. Hyunji Kwon is an Assistant Professor of Art Education and Women’s and Gender Studies Department Affiliate at USC. She designs and facilitates art workshops and curates the exhibition of participants' artworks with the help of WWBI graduate students.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.