The UofMosaic Fellows on each campus plan and participate in initiatives that build a culture of meaningful and peaceful exchanges of ideas on campus. These initiatives are typically connected to current global conflicts or social justice issues that are relevant to the Fellows and their broader student body. They range from moderated dialogues, to seminars, to art exhibits and more.
The UofMosaic Fellows at the University of Guelph recently completed their first initiative – keep reading to find out more!
On November 7th, we (UofMosaic Fellows at the University of Guelph) in collaboration with the Fine Arts Network, organized an Art for Education event to engage in a discussion about accessible education. We were very pleased with the amount of individuals this event reached. Hundreds were reached virtually and about 60 members were physically present to partake in the planned activities.
The purpose of this event was to create a safe space for the Guelph community to have much needed conversations about the challenges girls and women around the world still face in accessing meaningful educational opportunities. According to the Malala Fund, more than 130 million girls worldwide are out of school. What’s more, in over 70 countries, violence has prevented girls from attending school (Malala Fund). It goes without saying that reducing conflict and the right to education go hand in hand.
When we think dialogue, we think discussion, listening, back-and-forth and connection. And these concepts, in terms of dialogue, are usually realized in words. However, with our event, we tried to stretch the boundaries of what dialogue is, and reach people with whom a panel discussion or written stories might not resonate, and we chose to use art as our medium for stimulating discussion. Over the course of the afternoon, students filtered through our art exhibit, button making, and other stations, exploring the idea of women’s access to education through the art they saw and participated in. We think that art, created by so many women and students from the community, planted important seeds of curiosity and dialogue.
In putting together this event, we also learned that time and meticulous thought are key considerations in organizing and creating of safe spaces on campus. Knowing what we know now, in the future, we plan to incorporate moderated discussions to help facilitate more reflective conversations between individuals from different backgrounds and varying perspectives. All in all, it was wonderful to see members of our campus community convening to talk about the empowerment of girls and women; and we hope that something resonated that will inspire us and others to turn these dialogues into action.
We would like to generously thank everyone who attended the Art for Education event for we were able to raise $430 CAD for the Malala Fund, an organization that is committed to breaking down the barriers to girls’ education. Additionally, we also raised $70 CAD for local artists. Thank you so much for your support! Please stay tuned for more UofMosaic events at Guelph as we keep the conversation going on inclusive, safe and quality education.
Blog written by: UofMosaic Fellows at University of Guelph (Madison Milne-Ives, Katrin Bell, Emily Nunez, Danielle McNabb)