What really matters to you? What brings you happiness? What would you change if you could?
These are a few of the same five questions that publishers Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday asked hundreds of women from Kolkata to Cape Town in order to create the book/exhibition of photographs and interviews, 200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See The World, which Brooks School is privileged to have on campus through December 14.
Copyright © Blackwell and Ruth Ltd, images copyright © Kieran E. Scott
One of just five U.S. independent schools to display the exhibit, Brooks is showcasing 40 portraits from the collection in the Robert Lehman Art Center. But students won't just walk through and observe the art. Classes of all kinds are delving into the collection and using it as inspiration.
A formal celebration of the exhibit will be held evening of December 4, when one of the women it features, Diane Foley, founder of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, is scheduled to speak at Brooks about 200 Women and her work advocating for the freedom of Americans held hostage abroad and safety of journalists worldwide. The following day, Foley will also offer students a talk in Chapel.
"I am so excited that [200 Women] is here, especially as we celebrate 40 years of coeducation at Brooks and the strength of community," said Gage Dobbins, director of institutional advancement, introducing the exhibit to students last month. "I look forward to exploring how we can share in the 200 Women experience together."
Already, history classes have been using the collection as a way to do research on historical women. Acting students are taking the biographies of the women — available to explore in detail through QR codes printed in signs hanging next to each portrait that provide digital access to the women's interviews in print and in video — that the participants have shared to create monologues that they'll each re-enact about the women.
Photography students are jumping off of the example and creating a portrait series about women at Brooks, and visual arts students are producing works of art using portraits and text from women in their lives they've interviewed asking the same questions posed to the 200 Women.
"When you look at Brooks' curriculum and our focus as a school on competency-based education — and collaboration is one of the components — that's where you can take what is a photography exhibit and ask, how can we integrate this and collaborate?" said Director of Robert Lehman Art Gallery and arts department chair Babette Wheelden. "Then you can look at it as, this is a show about women, or this is a show about narrative, and teach students how to connect with that. What I find so exciting is that almost every department is somehow engaging in it."
The opportunities this exhibit provides go to the very heart of providing a meaningful education. "There's so much opportunity to go deeper with this exhibit and that's my goal," added Wheelden, "connecting the work that goes into the gallery into what's happening in the Center for the Arts so that students see that the work that they're doing in the Center for the Arts can contribute to something greater, and have a bigger impact and a wider impact."
Ultimately her biggest hope, though, is that students develop "an appreciation for the greater story of what all of these women represent — every woman that is out there — and that each woman has a different story and how they contribute to society to organizations to movements is pretty remarkable!"
OTHER RECENT STORIES
Teachers as Students
Professional development throughout the school year allows educators to learn and grow so they can best help their pupils do the same.
Celebrating Brooks Diversity
Students recognized United Nations Day with a fun, and personal, flag ceremony.
Changing the Conversation About Mental Health
A former NH Supreme Court Chief Justice shared his heartbreaking saga with mental health, urging students to get talking about it too and break the stigma so others won't suffer as his family did.