Behind the Scenes: African Art Storage

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A picture of the author in front of Racks 5 and 6. Photo: Marianne Weldon.

 

Hello! My name is Allison, and I am a graduate student in the Winterthur Art Conservation program at the University of Delaware. I received a summer internship placement at Bryn Mawr College to develop my preventive conservation skills. While treatment-focused conservation is concerned with knowing how to stabilize and repair individual objects, preventive conservation is focused on controlling the environment where those objects are stored and displayed through HVAC control, pest management, emergency planning, and storage and housing. With good preventive measures in place, there is a low risk for new damage to occur that may result in the need for specialized treatment. For this reason, a lot of museums and collections are focusing their efforts on preventive conservation, and it is a skill set I wanted to develop.

When I connected with Bryn Mawr Special Collections, the African collection and its storage layout was identified as one in need of evaluation and reorganization. Marianne Weldon, the Collections Manager for Art & Artifacts, and I discussed the following goals:

  1. To assess the layout of the collection space and reorganize the African collection objects to improve ease of access and safe handling.
  2. To examine the collection housings and determine where there was a need for adjustments or altogether new housing.

An overall view of Canaday 204 before my reorganization. Many types of objects from multiple collections are housed in this space.

 

 

 

When I began, I could see that all of the collections are overcrowded. But my project was focused on the African collections. These were located across five stationary shelving units, three rolling racks, and two cabinets with pull out shelves. Our main concerns were the proximity of some items to the ceiling, which can be a fire hazard, and the difficult nature of accessing some of the large but fragile objects, such as dance crests and headdresses with suspended elements. The priorities of the reorganization became regaining a ceiling clearance of 18 inches wherever possible and making retrieval and handling safer for the user and the object.

Some objects that are tricky to handle were stored on the highest shelves where they were hard to see and difficult to handle safely.

 

Work began in a hybrid format. My days on site were spent collecting data. I was given a list of the objects that comprised the African collections and slowly but surely I worked my way through it. I took notes about the objects themselves (materials, geographic origin, name and use) as well as about the housing they were in, be it contained within a box or wrapped in plastic or both. While this data collection was time consuming, by the end I had a good understanding of the materials I was working with and a good intuition for where everything was in the space.

A small snapshot of the numerous spreadsheets that kept me organized all summer.

 

 

At home I spent time researching methods to approach storage reorganization. Overcrowding is a problem that every collection ultimately faces, regardless of size, so I knew I didn’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel. Entire reorganization systems have been developed, and there are brief guidelines published by organizations like the National Park Service. As luck would have it, a comparison of the most popular methods was written in 20141 and this was a big help in determining the pros and cons of each approach.

After comparing some options, I had several takeaways.

  1. Accuracy is important and will save you time and effort
  2. Much of what has been published is designed with creating new spaces from scratch in mind, rather than making minor adjustments
  3. There is no one perfect system that can address the needs of every project

By far the most robust system I found is the RE-ORG2 program put together by ICCROM, the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage. This program is based on a workshop developed by ICCROM and UNESCO to introduce individuals with little prior experience to collection storage management and design. It lays out step by step, with worksheets included, how to assess the current state of a collection, makes plans for a redesign, and execute object moves and relocations. There is a survey that allows a user to examine four areas that impact collection storage (Management, Building and Space, Collection, and Furniture and Small Equipment) and get a score for how their collection ranks in each area.

A screenshot of  the RE-ORG program’s “scoring” chart for the African Collections at the onset of this project. Calculated scores are circled.

 

While I knew I had no control over most of these factors, I found the exercise of filling out the survey a useful way to get a handle on how many ways a collection can be impacted by its surroundings both from a material and managerial standpoint. I was pleased to see that in each category except for “Building and Space,” only minor adjustments were recommended. This solidified my decision to work with my own process, informed by the research I had done, but not prescribing to any one method because none exactly suited my needs.

Each box and item in the collection is a custom size, so I couldn’t make rough estimates based on standards. Because I was dealing with a relatively small space and a manageable number of objects, I decided that I needed to think at an object-specific level to find the best layout.

When I would talk about this project to friends and family, I would often say, “I’m basically playing a big game of 3D Tetris.”

 

From the measurements of each box and item, I knew I was going to have to change some of the heights on the shelving units to bring the taller objects away from the ceiling. What I needed was a quick and easy way to play with space and see what could fit where without having to move the shelves and objects ten times over. Enter the computer aided design (CAD) app Shapr3D3. Using my iPad, I could literally play 3D Tetris by modeling the whole storage room, shelving units, and objects to scale. From there I could adjust the heights of shelves move objects around and get a plan in place all without having to move a thing in the real world. Starting from zero CAD experience, this intuitive app was a game changer for me, and I can see it having many uses in my future work.

A screenshot from Shapr3D showing Racks 4-7 with adjusted shelf heights and specific objects in proposed locations. This is exactly where these objects ended up!

 

 

With a plan mapped out, it was time to enlist some help for the physical move. Margalit Schindler, a classmate in my graduate program, visited for a day to help adjust the heights of shelves and make some of the initial object moves. With a bit of muscle and a lot of clear communication and teamwork, we made the necessary adjustments and brought most of the fragile and hard to reach objects into their new locations. Having a second pair of hands and an outside critical eye was a huge help at this phase of the project. Over the next two days I finished the rest of the object moves, and I am pleased to say that all of my goals were met. Fragile headdresses from up-high traded places with sturdy boxes that were down low, heavy items that were moved to shallower shelves, and the ceiling clearance I wanted was regained nearly everywhere.

A view of Racks 4-7 after the reorganization. The objects that were once high up and on the back of deep shelves are now accessible from the floor with minimal reaching required. Photo: Joy Kruse.

With the big move complete, I was able to focus briefly on housing adjustments. When I was gathering measurements, I took note of the boxes and items I thought could benefit from new padding, wrapping or housing. With the help of Joy Kruse ’23 and Katie Perry ’21, we were able to implement these changes, improving visibility and better immobilizing some of the objects housed in boxes. We also got to discuss what the ideal conditions for objects housed within boxes are in general and the numerous methods and materials one can use to achieve them. It was a good chance for me to practice my teaching the skills and an excellent way for the students to be introduced to different aspects of collection management and preservation. In the end we adjusted more boxes than I had planned, and even built a brand-new box! Many hands truly do make for light work.

Joy and Katie working on different elements of a new box for the toy elephant pictured below.

Previously wrapped in tissue paper and resting on its side, the new mount on its underside holds the elephant upright, relieving pressure from its delicate ears and preventing it from tipping when the box is handled.

I am so grateful that Marianne and Bryn Mawr trusted me with this project. I gained project management and technical skills, while contributing to the preservation of an excellent collection. I am also pleased that this work can contribute to the overall efforts of Special Collections to confront the legacies of racism and colonialism within their collections. As a conservator, I ask myself two questions when I work on a project: how is my work benefiting the object(s) temporarily in my care and how is my work facilitating interactions with the object(s) be it for research, educational, spiritual purposes or otherwise? Preservation for the sake of making a thing last longer is empty without the motivation of human interaction or engagement with the object driving the work. My hope is that the improved access to the African collections will allow more opportunities for research that can illuminate the complex histories of these objects and aid in any relevant repatriation.

 Footnotes

1 Lambert, Simon & Tania Mottus. 2014. “Museum Storage Space Estimations: In Theory and Practice.” ICOM-CC 17th Triennial Conference, 2014 Melbourne.

2 RE-ORG: A methodology for reorganizing museum storage developed by ICCROM and UNESCO https://www.iccrom.org/themes/preventive-conservation/re-org/resources

3 Shapr3D is a computer aided design (CAD) app. During this project, the iOS version of the app was used on an iPad Air 4 with a 2nd generation Apple Pencil. https://www.shapr3d.com/

 

Allison Kelley is a graduate fellow in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. This project was completed in partial fulfilment of her second-year curriculum. All images taken or collected by the author unless otherwise indicated.

Confronting the Legacies of Racism and Colonialism in Special Collections

For almost a year, we in Special Collections have been working on a statement documenting the ways in which we are trying to confront the legacies of colonialism and racism in our collections. In June 2020, Black students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford composed an open letter to the Bi-College community. Their letter, which demanded that Bryn Mawr Special Collections acknowledge the colonial racism present in Bryn Mawr’s African Collections and, where possible, create a plan to repatriate objects, represents ongoing, student-led anti-racism efforts at the College—efforts that came to the fore again with the Student Strike in fall 2020. The effects of colonialism and racism in the collections are part of the historical and present-day forms of racism and inequity at Bryn Mawr College that we are committed to addressing, foregrounding, and remediating in the department and at the College as a whole. In response to student voices, the concerns of the wider college community and society, and our own professional ethics, we began working on this statement. 

Tied to College and LITS-wide efforts towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, our statement, Confronting the Legacies of Colonialism and Racism in Special Collections, is meant to serve as a starting point for conversation. It is by no means complete or final, and we plan to continue to modify the document as we identify additional ways in which we can address racism and colonialism in Special Collections. As we’ve worked on the statement, we have shared it with some internal stakeholders—the LITS Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Team, the BMC Collections Committee (which includes faculty and trustees), the President’s Diversity Leadership Group, BMC Alumnae/i Relations and Development, and members of the Bryn Mawr administration. We hope to create a space that allows for on-going discussion, including hosting community-wide conversations about the document in the coming year. 

In the meantime, Special Collections staff are engaged in work aimed at addressing the on-going effects of racism and colonialism in our collections, and at increasing the transparency around them. This is a multi-part, long-term project. In addition to addressing our current collection and how we are presenting the material we currently have to the community, we also need to think about future collections. This means identifying and redressing harmful language in descriptions and metadata, actively and ethically acquiring material from a diverse range of voices, and recognizing that we have a professional and ethical obligation to do this work. Special Collections, comprised at Bryn Mawr of Rare Books & Manuscripts, Art & Artifacts, and the College Archives, is primarily intended to be a teaching collection. As educators and caretakers of these collections, we have a responsibility to continue to learn and grow, and we welcome interrogation, critique, and insight into how we can improve our practice. 

Read the statement: Confronting the Legacies of Colonialism and Racism in Special Collections 

Current, concrete efforts towards this work include: 

Ellie Ga: Artist in Residence (2020-22), rescheduled event Mar 10

Still from Strophe showing messages in bottles

Still from Ellie Ga, Strophe, A Turning (2017) 2 channel video, loop (37:00)

In collaboration with the Center for Visual Culture, Special Collections welcomes artist Ellie Ga to campus virtually (during the current school year) and in person with a residency (as soon as that is possible). While in residence, Ga will “comb” Special Collections in the process of producing a new work of art, commissioned for the College. Before then, she wants to connect with us by sharing her work and conversing with community members as she gets to know Bryn Mawr. 

The first virtual event is a screening at 12:30pm on March 10 of her piece, Strophe, A Turning (2017, 37 min.), with a virtual studio visit and conversation between the artist and Bryn Mawr faculty members Lisa Saltzman (History of Art) and Madhavi Kale (History).

Please visit our related website to learn more about all Ellie Ga related events and activities at Bryn Mawr College as they are scheduled.

Please also view Sayed, a work by Ellie Ga, made available by the artist and her gallery through the Center for Visual Culture’s Virtual VIsual Culture event series.

***

Ellie Ga (b. 1976) is an American artist living in Sweden. Her work is included in collections at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Bard College. Her most recent work, Gyres 1-3 (2019), was a commission for the Whitney Biennial and was reviewed in The New York Times and Artnews. Art historian Tom McDonough (SUNY-Binghamton) wrote about it for the fall 2019 issue of Osmos Magazine.

Ga works between memoir, travelogue, and visual essay connecting ideas and presenting them as multichannel videos or performances with live narration. Her recent film Stophe, A Turning (2017) looks at water as the site of political exile, religious pilgrimage, and forced migration across the Aegean Sea. Her working process is a kind of “beach-combing” that embraces chance encounter with artifacts and how they find their way to her. It involves extended periods of research, including conversations with people in roles, such as museum directors, scholars, or Arctic explorers. Her interests are interdisciplinary and cross-temporal. She speaks of her work as a collection of chance encounters, what is lost (and accrued) in translating between spoken and written words, and archaeological discovery.

Ga will be in residence at Bryn Mawr College twice during the 2021-22 academic year and virtually throughout the 2020-21 school year. Throughout this process, we hope you will join us in a collective note-keeping practice, responding to your own experience of Ga’s work and the chance encounters you collect along the way. 

Triarte: Newly Improved!!!

Since Spring Break LITS staff and students (Megan Sligar (PhD candidate CNEA), Kaylee Verkruisen (Graduate Student, HART), Esme Read ‘22 and Katie Perry ‘21) have been working to upgrade our online collections database with a new server, software and expanded cataloging.  Upgrading the software gave us more robust features for the user. 

New or Greatly improved features include: Browse by Donor, Exhibitions, Publications and User Portfolios. The Advanced Search has been enhanced and the Advanced Search of Artists (including ULAN biographies), Exhibitions, and Bibliography is new.  Additionally, Donor Biographies, an Enhanced Bibliographic Section with Images of Comparanda and a Conservation Section for some Object Records are all new.

Browse by Exhibition lists Exhibitions that Tri-Co Objects have been in on campus and at outside institutions internationally. Within the exhibition you can find things like the objects exhibited, installation views, and catalogs.

Here you can see information about the recent conservation of The Bibliophile; Accession Number: 2011.6.121. The conservation report and technical study conducted by The University of Delaware/Winterthur Museum Art Conservation Program are included along with images before, during and after the treatment.

 

 

We hope you will take the time to explore Triarte.brynmawr.edu and let us know what features you would like to see expanded and what features you find most helpful.

Remembering Jane Martin

Photograph of Jane Martin and workers at Nyema Smith's sugar cane production in Liberia (April 15, 1976); Catalog Card written by Jane Martin (c. 2000) from The Jane Martin Papers, Bryn Mawr College Archives

Photograph of Jane Martin and workers at Nyema Smith’s sugar cane production in Liberia (April 15, 1976); Catalog Card written by Jane Martin (c. 2000) from The Jane Martin Papers, Bryn Mawr College Archives

Special Collections remembers Dr. Jane Martin (Class of 1953, MA 1958), the generous donor of a significant collection of African Art and related papers from her professional work in Liberia, who died on April 14. After graduating from Bryn Mawr with two degrees, Martin went on to earn her PhD in African History from Boston University in 1968. Her research focused on the Glebo of Eastern Liberia, and many of her interests there are reflected in the archives she donated to the College, including material on specific individuals in the Kru tribe, African women and their roles in education and society, and governmental and non-profit organizations in Africa.

Martin lived and worked in West Africa for several years, teaching African History at the University of Calabar in Nigeria and the University of Liberia in the 1970s. Her papers demonstrate her careful thinking about how to teach history and what to teach, as well as research interviews she conducted during this time. From 1984 to 1989, she was Executive Director of the United States Educational and Cultural Foundation in Liberia, administering the Fulbright Program and other cultural exchange programs. She was a strong advocate for binationalism between the US and Liberia for all of her life, continuing this work at the African-American Institute in New York, when civil war forced Martin to leave Liberia in 1989.

Throughout her travels in Africa, Martin collected a wide variety of art and cultural objects, some 150 of which she donated to the Art & Artifacts Collection at Bryn Mawr. These include helmet masks danced by women of Liberia’s Sande society, Ashanti gold weights, baby carriers, toys made by the artist Saarenald T. S. Yaawaisan from recycled flip-flop sandals, and a Baule Chief’s chair. She documented her collecting with various field notes, photographs, and correspondences, all of which serve to enrich the gift of objects immeasurably.

Works from Martin’s Collection have been featured in exhibitions organized by students since their arrival at the College in 2016, including On Selecting: Profiles of Alumnae Donors to the African Art & Artifacts Collection (Spring 2017) and Mirrors & Masks: Reflections and Constructions of the Self (Spring 2017). These materials are regularly used in courses across a variety of fields at the College.

To learn more, visit:

The Jane Martin Papers Finding Aid in College Archives

The Jane Martin Collection in Art & Artifacts

Bauhaus at Bryn Mawr: Museum Studies Praxis Intern Organizes Fall Exhibition

by Rachel Grand (BMC ’21)

Rachel Grand (BMC '21) stands next to an Egyptian Byzantine textile on view in the exhibition ReconTEXTILEize (Spring 2019).

Student curator Rachel Grand ’21 at opening of ReconTEXTILEize, the 360 course cluster’s exhibition that helped prepare her to organize her own exhibition this fall.

I began my internship with Special Collections as part of the Museum Studies Praxis course, where students find placements in local museums for a practical learning experience. I was placed with a History of Art PhD candidate, Nina Blomfield, who is curating an exhibition in the fall on Lockwood de Forest’s decorative arts program for the College. My initial assignment was to help with her research, but it grew into an opportunity to curate my own smaller exhibition in conjunction with hers on Marcel Breuer, another artist commissioned to design furniture for the College. Compared to my past internships, I felt extremely fortunate for this opportunity with Special Collections because of the real responsibilities that were entrusted to me. In this internship, I felt that the research that I produced for Nina was valued and impactful, and the exhibition that I was able to curate myself, has taught me an invaluable amount about curatorial work.  Because of the research opportunities afforded to me in Special Collections, I learned more about the history of Bryn Mawr College than I ever expected to know about my temporary home. 

Lockwood de Forest was a designer and architect who first came to Bryn Mawr College in the 1890s. His boss, and friend, was none other than M. Carey Thomas, for whom he designed and decorated a significant portion of her residence and other parts of campus. De Forest is not a well-known name nowadays among students and facultycompared to M. Carey Thomas, so it was surprising to learn that his architectural touch is all over the College, from the campus center and health center, to the ceiling of the Great Hall! When I walk around on campus now, knowing the history of the buildings enforces a sense of home. While reading correspondence between de Forest and Thomas, I got a sense of Thomas’ strong will, in regard to both interior decoration as well as the future of the college, which provided me with an educated perspective, amidst the controversy surrounding the renaming of Old Library. 

The second artist that I studied, Marcel Breuer, was commissioned for a specific project on campus. When Rhoads was built in 1937, he was approached by the college to design a set of furniture for the new dorm rooms. Marcel Breuer was a famous designer and architect who was trained at the Bauhaus, a radically modern art school in Weimar Germany.  

In order to learn more about Breuer’s furniture, I looked through the college’s archives. As I searched, I could not help but notice how the College used to place an emphasis on Bryn Mawr being “male friendly. The yearbook from 1939 boasted that women who lived in Rhoads were more likely to be engaged (to men) than any other dorm. Photographs of students in Rhoads dining hall in the 1960s depicted at least one man in each group of smiling students.  

I am told that the student body here has changed in recent years and learning more about the college’s history has only confirmed that. Today, Bryn Mawr students would not tolerate M. Carey Thomas, her elaborate expenditures, nor yearbooks boasting their marriageability. It was very impactful to be able to situate myself, as a student, in the timeline of Bryn Mawr’s past through this research at Special Collections.  

Rachel’s exhibition, Bauhaus at Bryn Mawr: Marcel Breuer’s Furniture for Rhoads, opens October 24 in the Coombe Suite Display Case on the second floor of Canaday Library.

 

On Gardens Speak by Tania El Khoury

Student Intern Tanjuma Haque

Tanjuma Haque (BMC 2021)

REFLECTION by Tanjuma Haque (BMC 2021)

Even though I had already seen the set-up of Gardens Speak before and knew what was going to happen, the moment I stepped in through the doors, everything felt completely alien. The lights were dim on the two pews where the ten of us went and sat as the guide handed us one card each person.

As I entered the space where the garden with the graves was made, honestly, I was scared for a moment or two. Since we all had to take off our shoes before we entered the space, the soil was cold under my bare feet as I searched for the person’s grave whose headstone’s picture was on my card.

The humming noise clarified into words as I dug the soil near the headstone with my hands. I put my head next to the pillow with their name, in front of the headstone, and lied and listened quietly. I heard Mustafa’s narrative of how everything was before and after he died, spoken by a man in the first person.

I had taken a Middle Eastern Politics class last semester and I had seen movies from the Middle East that showcased the different uprisings and killings and I knew about the conflicts, but those were nothing compared to when I heard, what seemed to me, Mustafa’s voice, speaking about how he died with many others when a missile struck a peaceful rally and that his girlfriend came and saw him in pieces and that he wanted to say that he loves her, but he no longer could.

I am not a very emotional person and I did not cry then, but when I was writing the letter to Mustafa, I thought that he probably could see me write the letter or something. Later, I went to Tell Me What I Can Do and that is when I almost cried when I saw so many letters full of hope and prayers and support for all the martyrs.

Gardens Speak, possibly the best live artwork I have seen, was a phenomenal experience. From my perspective, it is an extraordinary piece of art, it has the ability to bring people from different parts of the world, with different beliefs, religions, and races, together because nothing motivates love more than the sense of unfair loss. When we, the audience, write letters to the martyr, we all get bound by the same affection.

 

On Assisting with Gardens Speak & Camp Pause during ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury

Photo of Intern Author, Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler (BMC 2021)

REFLECTION by Rachel Adler (Class of 2021), Sept 24, 2018

This past week of training and working on Camp Pause and Gardens Speak has been both exciting and slightly overwhelming in the best way. I started off training for Gardens Speak, but had not realized how jarring it would be to see a piece- especially one I’ve been so thrilled to experience in real life- behind the scenes. Seeing how many people and elements go into the piece makes it more authentic and meaningful in a unique way. I have yet to experience Gardens Speak as an actual showing, but I am eager to see how it differentiates from merely training around it- the different lighting, smells, and feelings that I know I will experience because I was told just how it all happens.

The Camp Pause Training was significantly shorter and more tech-based, but it was also nice because it was the training where I got to see Tania El-Khoury again. It’s interesting to hear how objects in the piece, such as the colorful little chairs, are put there with a specific purpose, for more than just for sitting. The chairs and their coordinating cords were specifically made those colors, and invoke feelings of childhood. The type of chairs are children’s chairs in Palestine and Lebanon. All of which I wouldn’t have known and didn’t know until Tania explained it in training, which I thought was a lovely bonus. Art is always purposeful in what it does, says, and expresses. I felt similarly with the Gardens Speak training and learning that the dirt is sprayed with an earthy essential oil, and flowers are thrown onto the audience while they rest on the graves. These little aspects of the overall piece shape it and make it special.

I have worked both the Camp Pause and Gardens Speak pieces at this point and feel a sort of peculiar feeling watching audiences going into an exhibit and walking out. I feel that particularly with the Gardens Speak piece, there is an intimate, unspoken element of trust required from the artist and the audience. Trust that the audience will respect the piece, trust that they will not make it about themselves, and I feel that this trust is not necessarily always kept up on the audience’s part. Hearing audience members leave the Camp Pause piece, saying things like, “That made me so sad,” and “What a depressing video,” feels selfish and lacks the maturity to realize that as a viewer, you only experience something that is someone else’s entire life for 10 minutes, something which you don’t have to live with once you leave the exhibit space. I suppose that is the side effect of interactive pieces, because self-centered people will turn an interactive piece and make into how they feel about their own lives, their own political climates, when that’s not what these pieces are about. But the beauty of the pieces are their interactivity and the ability to turn an issue that feels remote- like the Syrian war or the Israel-Palestine conflict- and make it feel next door to a viewer, and personal. Humans empathize with other people when they feel like individuals rather than masses, and that’s why pieces like Camp Pause and Gardens are so important.

On Meeting Tania El Khoury…

Image

REFLECTION by Maya Stucky (Class of 2020)

I applied to intern with artist Tania El Khoury for both personal and academic reasons. As the daughter of a Lebanese immigrant, I feel deep-rooted connections to the country and what occurs within its borders. I make a conscious effort to be aware of its triumphs and of its downfalls, and the presence of refugees in Lebanon has, in my experience, caused controversy. Thus, my involvement in El Khoury’s work is my own personal way of combatting that controversy and being part of the exploration of Middle Eastern politics.

The first thing I noticed about El Khoury is that everyone in a room with her seems to be drawn to her – not only as an artist but also as a person. She has this fascinating energy to her that makes you want to learn more about her or just listen to her speak. She exudes authenticity and warmth. Originally, I could not tell if I felt this energy simply because I feel an innate connection to all Lebanese women because of my own Lebanese heritage, but as I observed the rest of the room and spoke to other interns, it seemed to me that everyone else was just as intrigued. Her presence is not stately and intense, as she truly is very humble and kind, but she radiates strength and knowledge in a way that has you hanging on to every word she says. Conversely, just as El Khoury’s interns attempt to get to know her better, she is doing the same with us. She cares deeply for her work, her subjects, and her audience and wants to ensure those who are representing her and guiding her audience can do so in the appropriate way.

In terms of discussing her work, El Khoury is incredibly particular and precise about every detail about her pieces and the acquisition of her material. Where she falls short, especially in terms of accessibility, she recognizes and seems to be making a conscious effort to create a sensorium that attempts to include all audiences. Accessibility at Bryn Mawr is something that is constantly being brought up, and I think El Khoury was impressed by the students’ advocacy for the utmost amount of inclusion possible. Although she is incredibly particular in her work, I believe she appreciates that her works lose effect the less accessible they become.

I truly am so excited to work with El Khoury in the fall. I know that she has much to teach us about her work, her inspiration, and all the various factors that go into the production of live art. Through her work I hope to grow and witness the growth of her audience through such cathartic and important stories.