Check out the recent feature on Women of Color and the Academy in the UM SOE Educational Studies Newsletter!
Women of color are strong. We are beautiful. We are resilient. As women of color persisting in this predominantly white institution, we are always looking and hoping for spaces that center our identities and that enrich and sustain us. As student leaders in this community, we considered the tangible ways that we could practice our own commitment to the values of diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity. We chose to create a space that centers the voices and experiences of women of color. We wanted this space to be one where women of color can hear each other, support each other, and take up ideas in meaningful ways because we as women of color wanted a space where we felt heard, supported, and uplifted. This space became the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop titled Women of Color and the Academy.
Women of Color and the Academy brings together education scholars and practitioners to examine issues related to race, research, representation, and positionality. Participants of this group work in various fields that intersect with education. Our work across these fields provides us varying insights into the representation and positioning of women of color within and outside of the university. This workshop has two primary objectives:
To expand what is considered to be academic by exposing the larger community to works created by or featuring women of color
To provide spaces where women of color can engage deeply with issues that impact them personally and professionally in a way that is responsive to their identities, time, and energies
We have designed this workshop series around two primary learning goals. First, we hope that participants will be equipped with resources to support personal and professional development around the topic of race and research. Individual sessions use resources by and about women of color to prompt discussion and collaboration on a particular theme. These resources range in type and include journal articles, documentaries, podcasts, and museum and gallery visits. Our goal is to work as a community to develop knowledge of resources and materials that support rigorous thinking about race, research, and representation. Second, we hope that participants will be prepared to engage with topics of race and research in other personal and professional contexts and communities. This preparation includes practice with both specific materials and general topics and practice developing meaningful questions to employ in a variety of contexts to enrich future learning in other communities. Our goal is to empower community members to continue this work beyond the boundaries of this workshop series.
We created this workshop series as a space where women of color can reflect on their experiences and think deeply about the ways they see themselves contributing to their school and larger communities in ways that are sustaining. Often in academic contexts, women of color have these conversations in contexts where we have limited opportunities to engage with relevant issues in ways that center our experiences and perspectives. Often in institutional contexts, women of color may be invited to share about their own experiences in a way that supports institutional work but that ignores the ways in which we need support in order to persist.
For questions or comments about this workshop series, please contact student coordinators Laura-Ann Jacobs (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ebony Perouse-Harvey (email@example.com) or faculty sponsors Dr. Maisie Gholson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Maren Oberman (email@example.com).