College Connections

/ In the Community - Press Release

Continuing its commitment as a resource for local colleges and universities, the Museum recently partnered with local colleges on several exhibitions that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham: Etched in Collective History, Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project, and Question Bridge: Black Males.

Students from Samford University, Miles College, Birmingham-Southern College, and UAB enrolled in a BACHE (Birmingham Area Consortium of Higher Education) class this fall, “Birmingham in Civil Rights Memory.” It was organized by Samford University’s Christopher Metress, Ph.D., and aimed to teach students about the Civil Rights Movement through film, literature, music, and art. Twelve students enrolled in the class, met with Museum educators to explore the exhibitions, and created artwork for their final projects.

Birmingham-Southern College students, led by Sandra Sprayberry, Ph.D., worked with Museum educators to create writing projects inspired by the exhibitions. The students presented their work at the Museum at a private function on December 10.

UAB participated in many ways during the fall semester. UAB faculty Jessica Dallow, Ph.D. (Art History) and Michele Forman, Ph.D. (History) co-taught a class, “Race and Representation,” organized around the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement exhibitions at the Museum and the UAB Visual Arts Gallery. The overarching theme for consideration was: How do we, as artists, art historians, and other art workers, create art and projects about the past in the present that are meaningful and complex? Students learned not only about the history of the Civil Rights Movement, but also how art can reflect on and re-present historical events. Dallow and Forman wanted to get students to think critically and creatively about how to make and write about socially-engaged, historically-informed, provocative artwork through discussion, debate, writing, and reenacting historical moments.

UAB Office of Student Life, Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs organized a community dialogue around the exhibition Question Bridge: Black Males with faculty, community leaders, and students from the Blazer Male Excellence Network. UAB Office of Student Life also co-hosted a College Night for nearly 200 UAB students in September. The evening included a panel discussion on the role of art in civil rights and featured distinguished speakers Cleo Thomas, Attorney and Art Collector, Ahmad Ward, Head of Education at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and Darius Hill, Chair of Visual Arts at Alabama School of Fine Arts, moderated by BMA Curator of Arts of Africa and the Americas Emily Hanna, Ph.D. After the panel, students toured the entire Museum, went on a civil rights-inspired scavenger hunt, learned about resources from the Hanson Library, participated in a community art project, and feasted on gourmet fare from Oscar’s. It was a first-time visit for many of the students, and we hope that we will begin seeing them more often!

The Museum is looking for more ways to be a resource for the local college community. If you are interested in becoming more involved as a student or faculty member, please contact Associate Curator of Education Kristen Greenwood at [email protected].