Twenty percent of all funding received for The White Women Project will be donated to the North Carolina NAACP. The remaining eighty percent of the funding received for The White Women Project will be used to purchase the materials for the project. Any funding received that exceeds the cost of the materials will be used to host in-person discussion/making circles for The White Women Project in locations outside of Durham, NC.
Thank you for your support!
THE WHITE WOMEN PROJECT is an anti-racist, community-based sculpture collaboration. It uses three-dimensional forms, symbolic materiality and group discussion to help white women explore and better understand how we are involved in systems of oppression. As a group, we use everyday materials that visually represent systems of racial and gender oppression to collaboratively build sculptures. For example, we consider how items like tampons, cotton balls, and q-tips represent harmful narratives about both race and gender.
• Participation Requirements: The only requirement to participate is that, based on your personal experience, other people most often identify you as white and female. You can join for one or several dates. Please see below for more information on why this project is currently limited to white females.
• Types of Events: Discussion & Making Circles and Translating Whiteness to Sculpture Workshops. You can join either or both.
1. DISCUSSION & MAKING CIRCLES
Using simple labor, such as cutting, we distort these materials and begin to transform them into small pouches that will be collectively used to build sculpture. While working with these materials, we have group conversations about these issues and consider, “What is white culture? How does it show up in our institutions? How are racial and gender oppression connected? How has being white affected our lives?” The pouches will collectively create a large sculpture that reflect our group efforts and discussions.
• Upcoming dates (2017):
Saturday, September 24, 2-4p
Saturday, September 30, 2-4p *This date is being organized by Gann Herman, though extra spots may be available*
Thursday, October 12, 7-9p
Tuesday, October 17 7-9 p
Saturday, October 28 1-3p
Thursday, November 9, 7-9p
Sunday, November 19, 12-2p
Sunday, December 3, 2-4p
Tuesday, December 12, 7-9p
Saturday, December 16, 12-2p
• Participate In Person:
You can join in-person (in Durham, NC), currently at my home.
• Participate Via Video Conference:
Those outside of Durham can join via video conference. To do this, send me your mailing address, and I'll mail you materials to us. Prior to the discussion/making circle that you signed up for I will email you a link to access the video conference.
• Cost & Registration:
These circle events are FREE, though, in the spirit of developing a sharing/community-based model of gathering and collective making, everyone is encouraged to bring snacks or drinks to contribute. Email me at meg [dot] stein [dot] artist [at] gmail [dot] com to sign up.
2. TRANSLATING WHITENESS TO SCULPTURE WORKSHOPS
These workshops are designed to help white women explore their feelings about whiteness and then translate those discoveries into sculpture that they create. During the workshop I lead guided meditations and group/individual exercises that helps participants investigate the emotions and thoughts that arise when they consider whiteness, being white, white people's legacy of violence, white culture and white privilege. Each participant builds their own sculptures from the symbolic materials discussed above. During the workshops participants will have access to a wide variety of sculpture materials.
• Upcoming dates (2017):
Saturday, October 14, 1-3:30p
Saturday, November 18, 1-3:30p
• Participate In Person:
These workshops take place in person in Durham, NC and you cannot join via video conference. To schedule an in-person workshop for a location outside of Durham, email me at meg [dot] stein [dot] artist [at] gmail [dot] com.
• Cost & Registration:
Each workshop costs $15, which helps cover the cost of the materials used. You can register below for one or more workshops. After you register, I'll email you details including the address.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Do I have to join every discussion/making circle in order to participate?
No, you can join for only one discussion/making circle date or you can join for more than one. Ultimately, you're welcome to join as many as you'd like as long as there continues to be space.
2. Do I have to live in Durham, NC to participate?
No, if you live outside Durham, NC, you can join the discussion/making circles via video conference. If you want to join the workshops but live outside of Durham, NC, please email me so that we can set up an in-person workshop date in your area.
3. Do I have to go to a discussion/making circle before I can attend a workshop?
No, you're welcome to do one or the other or both.
4. Is there a way I can participate in the project without joining any of the events?
Yes, if you can't or don't want to physically join the project, you are welcome to contribute to the project by donating. Please see the "Support the project" button in the left-hand column.
5. None of these dates work for me. Can I still participate?
Yes, you can still participate in a few different ways. First, you could make some pouches on your own time and could email me answers to several questions that I'll send you. If you want to do that, please email me. Second, you can email me to set up an additional date for either a discussion/making circle and/or a workshop.
6. Why does this project only include white females?
The project is currently limited to people who are most often identified as white and female (you do NOT have to be a cisgender female to participate). This requirement asks white women to do their own self-awareness work and emotional labor required for racial justice. As a group we will discuss ways to be accountable to women of color while ensuring that we do not ask them to do our work for us. We will consider the statement of Black radical feminist Claire Heuchan that, "the onus is on white women to reach out [to women of color] and repair any rift that occurs on the basis of race.” For more information or to participate, please email me at meg [dot] stein [dot] artist [at] gmail [dot] com.
7. Are women of color included in this project in any way?
Yes, there are a few different ways that women of color are being included in this project. First, the thoughts, quotes, writings and speeches of women of color are included in the group discussions, through both prompts and comments that I offer the group. Secondly, I am currently working with several friends who are also women of color to set up opportunities where a wide variety of women from non-white backgrounds can use video and audio to share their thoughts and messages for white women. Third, I am always open to talking with anyone (including non-white and/or non-female people) who is interested in participating in some way.
8. What materials are used in the project and how were they selected?
The symbolic materials used were selected because they visually represent harmful narratives about whiteness and gender. Every participant is given some combination of materials from this list: tampons, maxi pads, cotton balls, cotton face wipes, panty liners, gauze pads, and q-tips. These materials all use cotton, which is, obviously, a racially charged material in the US. As a plant, cotton is actually an off-white color, so these bright white materials have been bleached to become ivory white. Part of what the materials provide is a lens through which we can look at narratives around whiteness, such as the idea that bright white means “clean, sterile, pure” etc. These materials only come in the color bright white. They are also all used in an intimate bodily way, which also allows us to consider how those ideas of cleanliness and purity affect white women and women of color.
9. How will authorship of this project work?
Everyone who participates in this project (either in the discussion/making circles or the workshops) will be credited by name as a collaborator for contributing to the large-scale sculpture and/or the project as a whole. The only exceptions to this will be for people who wish to be listed as Anonymous. As the lead artist, I, Meg Stein, will retain copyright and license rights for the project and the final large-scale sculpture. However, if the collaborative sculpture is ever sold, all of the profits from the sale (so all of the money received that exceeds the cost of covering the materials used in the project) will be donated to a racial justice organization, such as Black Lives Matter and/or the NC NAACP. Also, there will be specifications for who can purchase the final work, to ensure that the work will only be used and exhibited in ways that uphold the values put forth by this project (if you want to contribute ideas on how to do this, please email me). For those who participate in the workshops to create their own sculptures, each participant will retain the copyright and license rights for their own individual sculptures. Each participant will then be able to sell their own sculptures if they'd like to. I will ask each participant to consider including their sculptures in any exhibitions that result from this project.
Here is a list of organizations and online/print materials that have greatly aided me in my racial justice work:
• The Racial Equity Institute (based in Greensboro, NC)
• Triangle SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
• White Supremacy Culture (produced by SURJ)
* White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness by Ruth Frankenburg
• Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter by Chris Crass
• "Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Racism in the Feminist Movement" by Claire Heuchan