Envisioning Equality: UBC seeks support for new artwork series to honour the rich history of women (including cisgender and transgender women) faculty and staff

The university is seeking $50,000 in initial funding to commission a dynamic series of art banners to display across campus, to develop a digital home for the project, and design plans for more permanent outdoor artwork on campus.

Women (including cisgender and transgender women) faculty and staff have often been at the forefront of discovery and innovation. They have pushed the systemic, social, and academic boundaries of UBC throughout its history. In an often patriarchal setting, women have ushered in revolutionary ways of thinking and doing, to create the university’s future. Wendy Yip, member of the Envisioning Equality Outdoor Art Project committee, believes that UBC would be substantially different without the contributions of women faculty and staff.

“What we want to do with this project, is to get people to think about the contributions of women to the university.” Wendy adds, “At key inflection points in its history, the university could have gone one way or another. If UBC’s narrative had continued to reflect only the perspective of cisgender men, the university would be a different, less vibrant place of learning.”

The art project’s genesis came from an idea by Professor Naznin Virji-Babul, Professor Naznin Virji-Babul, Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty. In discussions with Dr. Judith Hall, emerita and steering committee member, the idea of art installations to recognize UBC women faculty and staff was born.

“Naznin wondered how we could enhance the awareness of the contributions that women make at UBC. We wondered about having art that highlighted those special contributions,” says Judith. “The more we kept talking about it, the more excited we got.”

The steering committee envisions a multi-tiered rollout for the outdoor art installations starting with banners featuring influential women placed near their faculties, research facilities, or admin hubs. There are also plans for a permanent installation of commissioned art, a digital presence on signage, and a website web. There are many perspectives to be collated and decided on for the evolving art project — but as Wendy Yip knows, the differing views of women are indispensable.

“Women, cis gender or trans, have brought their work backgrounds, their skill sets, and their experiences to make the university stronger. But they have also brought a different lens for looking at the world, and that’s important.”

UBC is seeking support from donors who understand the importance of celebrating women of the UBC community, and their notable achievements, to inspire the next generation of leaders and change makers. We are grateful to UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office for partnering with us on this project, and for kicking-off our fundraising efforts with a generous $10,000 gift. We also thank the UBC Office of the President for its support of this important project.

Thank you for considering a gift in support of this meaningful project. 

Credit: Student Housing & Community Services – Minn Lee