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Guerrila Girls

COLUMBUS, Miss.--Dr. Jill Drouillard and Amanda Clay Powers want to inspire your inner activist.

Thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi University for Women will partner with the Guerrilla Girls, a group of feminist activists that uses political art to fight sexism, racism and corruption in society, for a virtual event at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, on Zoom.

The event is a collaboration between the Ina E. Gordy Honors College, the NEW Leadership Mississippi program, the National Organization of Women (NOW) chapter at The W, the Fant Memorial Library, the MUW Galleries and the Departments of History, Art and Languages, Literature & Philosophy. Drouillard, who is the project director/organizer of the event, said local businesses Friendly City Books and the Columbus Arts Council and Colin Krieger, who was voted “local hero in the Golden Triangle 2021,” also will help promote the event.

“I’m teaching Aesthetics: Philosophy of Art this semester and we’re looking at the Guerrilla Girls’ latest book ‘The Art of Behaving Badly’ as inspiration for their political art assignment,” said Drouillard, who is an assistant professor of philosophy. “When I saw that the Guerrilla Girls were offering virtual events during the pandemic, I thought it would be a great opportunity for my students and the Columbus community at large, as it inspires activism while allowing social distancing.”

Drouillard said she remembers seeing the Guerrilla Girls when she was an undergraduate student at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, and being impressed with the group’s use of humor and catchy visuals to illustrate and resist corruption. She said the Guerrilla Girls will give a presentation that highlights the posters, billboards and fliers in “The Art of Behaving Badly” that fight discrimination and corruption in culture, politics and art. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

Drouillard said the activism of the Guerrilla Girls inspired her to work with Powers, Hillary Richardson, Russell Brandon and Kelsey Damms at Fant Memorial Library to create a zines workshop where students can express their inner activist by creating a zine, which is short for magazine and is a small self-published booklet that focuses on a specialized topic or cause.

“The COVID-19 crisis has shed light on a number of gross inequalities throughout our community, including inequality in access to healthcare, systemic racism, sex disparity regarding who bears the burden of childcare, classism and unequal distribution of educational resources,” Drouillard said. “Yet, from such crisis has emerged a call for positive change, as we’ve witnessed with protests centered around racial justice, voting rights and climate change. Youth activism has been on the rise. I hope the Guerrilla Girls event will act as an impetus for positive change on our campus.” 

Powers, the dean of library services, said her brother and sister-in-law were very involved in the 1990s punk scene, so she knew what she wanted to do when Drouillard asked her how the Fant Memorial Library could be involved with the Guerrilla Girls program.

“Zines were a critical method of communication for that movement, and they are a great way for building community and a way for our students to share all kinds of things they are passionate about,” Powers said. “With our new Fab(rication) Lab(oratory), this was a perfect opportunity to create a programming and provide the resources for students to discover, learn about and create zines.”

Powers said Erica Dawn Lyle from the long-running “Scam” zine and Lauren Jade Martin from The Soapbox Community, Print Shop and Zine Library also will be part of a panel that will discuss zine history and activism, diversity and inclusion in zines and collecting and creating zines in a spinoff event inspired by the Guerrilla Girls Thursday, Nov. 4. Powers said Fant Memorial Library will follow up by offering zine creating workshops for campus through the Fab Lab. She hopes the Guerrilla Girls event, the panel discussion and the zine workshops encourage The W students to get involved in their communities.

“We hope giving our students a way to express themselves creatively through zines will increase opportunities for activism and community-building across campus,” Powers said. “Offering space in the Fab Lab for creating zines, as well as a way to distribute any zines the students want to create, the library will continue to facilitate creative projects outside our current 3D and Cricut printing (and button making). We will have all the materials for traditional and technology-enabled zine creation available, and we plan to encourage students to attend our workshops and connect with each other to share ideas and start new collaborations.”


Oct. 20, 2021
Contact: Adam Minichino
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