On October 4, five School of Visual Arts majors presented papers at the 13th Annual Red River Women’s Studies Conference in Grand Forks, North Dakota. As MSUM art history professor Dr. Anna Arnar points out, this conference presents a unique opportunity for students. Unlike student conferences in which students present only with other students, the Red River Women’s Studies Conference is a “challenge because students are presenting material along side professors and independent scholars.”
Although challenging, presenting at a conference can be a very rewarding experience for students. Chantel Fugere, who presented a paper titled, “The Art and Critical Reception of Mary Cassatt,” commented:
It was exhilarating and exciting to speak in front of a room full of people you don’t know that are generally interested in what you’re speaking about. I think the best thing about it was how accomplished I felt after presenting.
Additional art history papers were presented at the conference by students Shannon Hokstad (“Women in the Posters of Alphonse Mucha”) and Linnea Fitterer (“Vivienne Westwood: Harnessing Rebelliousness and Femininity for Success”). Art historian Dr. Holly Silvers also presented her paper, “A Monstrous Regiment: Interpreting the Stigma of the Feminine through Re-gendered and De-gendered Bodies in the Middle Ages and Beyond.”
Students in the studio areas of the School of Visual Arts also presented at the conference in a session titled, “The Art of Identity.” Ber Vasquez, a candidate in the Certificate in Studio Research program, discussed her sculptural works, which she defines as “political action” informed by her culture and life experience. Photography student Takara Geck presented her photographic commentaries about women and their prescribed social roles. Drawing faculty member, Sherry Lee Short, also participated in the session, presenting a paper titled, “The Ethics of Pedagogical Power: Masculinist ideologies at play in women students’ works exploring identity in the visual arts.”
Students who are interested in presenting at conferences should discuss opportunities with their professors and advisors. The Student Academic Conference, which is held in April each year at MSUM, is a great opportunity for students.