“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
When we first began scrolling through all of the pictures we had posted to our #selfie360bmc hashtag, the first thing that struck me was how far-reaching our pictures were geographically. Surely, a majority of pictures were taken at Bryn Mawr either in the classroom or in the exhibition space, but each of us had also contributed pictures from our home and elsewhere. As a result, I found this photographic trend to be symbolic of two important aspects of our exhibition and ourselves as student-curators:
- We are a diverse group of students entering this 360 from all sorts of geographic spheres, which is evident in the diversity of pieces and cultural backgrounds represented in our exhibition. It is these spaces that serve as the foundation of our identity as within them we are continuously sculpted by the interactions that occur. These are the carved identities that we brought to the class and ultimately to our exhibition.
- The 360 course cluster is designed to be an interdisciplinary program not only for the purpose of scholarship but also for the purpose of taking today’s learning for tomorrow’s future. As a result, as we entered our Fall 2016 semester, we took our carved selves from our foundational spaces into the 360 only to return to our respective spheres (or for our seniors, enter new ones!) carved even more.
My curatorial aim thus is to record the fluidity of these transactions through the spaces they took place in. Seamlessly, our identities are formed and continue to be melded even after we leave the classroom.
Whether it was our childhood homes, Haverford, or our spring break excursions, the “outside” allows us to grow outside the spheres we associate with academia. Both the milestones and the mundane in places both far and near fashion a multivalent identity.
The classroom served as the space where our identities and backgrounds converged as we learned together and installed an exhibition together. From the lectures of Professor Schoneveld and Jessica Todd Harper to the many group discussions, all of the various classroom experiences contributed to our burgeoning identity as student-curators. Interestingly enough, just as varied as our experiences, the classroom was not limited just to the Special Collections room or to Thomas 111 as we took the classroom to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. to visit the Barnes Foundation and National Portrait Gallery.
And so came the penultimate project we had all been working so hard on: the exhibition! In its preparatory stages, the opening event, and regular daily hours, the exhibition had gone through different spatial identity shifts as we configured walls and wall hangs, and it had welcomed people of all different identities to peruse through. As a result, similar to the classroom where it had acted as a convergence point for all of these different identities, the exhibition acted as another convergence point but for the Bryn Mawr community to join our class in discovering our fluid identities.
This part of the story is still being written (or being photographed!), but from the exhibition we move beyond: back into our old spheres or entering into new ones! However, we leave the classroom and exhibition spaces a little bit different: a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a little bit stronger. From here we’re ready to take whatever comes next, building ourselves and letting ourselves be built patiently yet steadily.