Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Oak Square: A Walk Back in Time" features Women of Vision!

Brighton Allston Historical Society Vice President, Charlie Vasiliades, and Wilma Wetterstrom, BAHS Board Member Emerita, led an evening journey through Oak Square, Brighton over time  an event hosted and co-sponsored by the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library. Charlie's presentation highlighted one of the town's Women of Vision: Mary Faneuil Bethune.

As announced by BAHS,

BAHS presentation in the Art Deco Faneuil Library reading room
"Ever wonder what the Oak Square area USED to look like? Join Charlie Vasiliades and Wilma Wetterstrom as they present a program showcasing over 70 historic photographs from the collection of the Brighton-Allston Historical Society, taking you back in time for an imaginary walk through Oak Square and its surrounding streets and hills. You will see a landscape that changed from a rural New England scene to the vibrant neighborhood of today — a fascinating journey!"

Charlie explained to the assembled audience that Mary Faneuil Bethune was credited with saving the magnificent Faneuil estate from destruction through her intervention with General George Washington. The Faneuil Gatekeeper's House survives to this day, and is featured as Stop 17 on the Brighton Allston Women's Heritage bus tours and in the Trail Guide, the latter available at the Brighton Allston Heritage Museum and in an e-version at this link on the website.

Faneuil Gatekeeper's House - Stop 17, Brighton-Allston Women's Heritage Trail Guide

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Harvard Ed Art Gallery Opening Reception for UVA Exhibition: The Context of Community!

                                                            Photo: Karen Smigliani, UVA Council of Advisors

Unbound Visual Arts is delighted to announce that an exhibition titled    The Context of Community, is being hosted at the new Harvard Ed Portal Gallery. Curated by Julia Ryan, the exhibit features work of members of UVA's Board of Directors and Council of Advisors: Tsun Ming Chmielinski, Heidi Lee, Susan Loomis, Francis Gardino, Ruth Rieffanaugh, Brenda Gael McSweeney and Sarah Berry and UVA members Marian Dioguardi and Sarah Smigliani. The exhibit will show at the Harvard gallery throughout June 2015.

Below are some photographs taken at the full-to-capacity opening!

Also, see here a set of photographs by Eric West:

Pictured are l. to r.: Curator Julia Ryan, UVA Founding Council of Advisors Member Brenda Gael McSweeney, and Guest Majid Bensellam hailing from Meknes, Morocco; displayed are Brenda's 'Community' photographs taken in Burkina Faso in the mid-1970s and 7 years ago.
Brighton Allston Historical Society (BAHS) Board Members came out in force to participate at the opening events: at left, BAHS Co-Treasurer Mary Regan, speaking with BAHS Board Member Sharon Cayley. Displayed are the oil painting 'Time to Come Home' by Marian Dioguardi and an acrylic on canvas titled 'Together' by Sarah Smigliani.
Eminent Massachusetts politicians joined to support the work of UVA - above center is State Senator Will Brownsberger pictured with State Representative Kevin Honan, enjoying the art and culture festivities with other guests.
UVA's President, artist Ruth Rieffanaugh explains her work to photographer Eric West.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

UNITWIN Affiliate Member Turns to Educational Books for Children

                             Photo: Andrew Werner
 Mina Mauerstein-Bail, affiliated with our network through the Sirleaf Market Women's Fund, has now branched out her educational initiatives to include authoring a series of children's books set in European and other countries that carry a message of tolerance and accepting diversity. 

The first volume of this series is set in Ferney-Voltaire, where Mina lived and worked with the United Nations for a number of years. It was there that she met Max and Voltaire, the main "characters" in her first book. 

Mina writes of her most recent work:

"Many years ago I was asked, “What is the best gift one can give to a child?”  I thought about this for a long time. I have come to the conclusion that the best gift would be to instill a sense of curiosity and kindness in children -curiosity about people and the world we live in and kindness, a virtue and a value that can turn despair into hope. The touching and humorous adventures of Max and Voltaire and their furry pals challenge us to think about how  embracing both the familiar and the different can make our lives interesting and rewarding and that no matter how bad a situation is, how it can change for the better."

She is contemplating Max and Voltaire "traveling" to Italy, where she was born, and to Dakar, Senegal, where she served with the United Nations Development Programme for several years. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Photography Exhibition on India just launched at the Faneuil Library!

An art exhibit on India was launched by photographer Richard Wood at the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library on 8 March 2015 - International Women’s Day. Richard’s exhibit consists of several dozen magnificent color photos taken across India. Appropriately enough, a number of the photographs capture the daunting workloads that Indian women carry out daily, headloading water, making dung patties for fuel, and crushing and carrying gravel for road construction. Many others capture an insightful glimpse of daily life and often reflect Richard’s keen sense of humor.

The exhibit was hosted by the Faneuil Librarian Dorothy Keller and organized by Ronni Komarow, Board Member of the Friends of Faneuil, also of the Brighton Allston Historical Society, our UNESCO/UNITWIN Affiliate.

Here is the photographer’s statement for the India exhibition:

In December 2011 my wife and I went to India, to see, to listen and hopefully to learn something about an ancient culture and over a billion people who live on the other side of our planet.

We were immediately engulfed and entranced by a surfeit of colors, sounds, smells and contradictions – unbearable poverty, unimaginable wealth. Life everywhere amidst extraordinary celebrations of death.

We came home sated and spellbound, incapable of intelligently commenting on the political or socio/economic structures of India, but knowing that somehow there are such things as calm intensity and ordered chaos.

“Most governments are run by people, mine is run by the gods” – 
Anil Dwivedi 

Richard Wood, Photographer, Brighton, MA 

Do stop by the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library at 419 Faneuil Street in Oak Square, Brighton to visit this photography exhibition on India throughout the month of March.

Speakers' Bios: March 19th GaIDI Panel on "Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth: A Global Perspective" - (Event details below the bios)

Ming Foxweldon was adopted from Kunming, China in 1994 at age three and a half. Raised mainly in New England, she majored in Chinese and minored in Anthropology at the University of Vermont. Her interest in adoption-related topics has grown through college-oriented activities and her involvement with adoptee-run organizations, such as China's Children International, Land of Gazillion Adoptees, and The Anya Project, among others. She responded to the call for submissions by the Anya Project for the Dear Wonderful You anthology and was elated to have been included as a contributor. She felt free to express herself and was able to connect with others who walk a similar path, thus expanding her horizons on adoption-related issues and finding support to continue on her life journey. 

Olivia Lunardo is an undergrad nursing student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. They identify as genderqueer and use they/them/their pronouns. They were adopted from Hunan, China a little over the age of 2. Since then, they grew up in Massachusetts their whole life. Although most of their time is dedicated to studying, they like to occasionally get involved with other projects such as participating in plays, LGBTQIA+ advocacy work, panel discussions, and research. 

Raymond Pillidge, LICSW, MSW, Boston University, MA in Social Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University, is a Social Worker and Child Welfare Administrator. His professional interests are in organizational development and change, and in restorative justice practices in Child Welfare. Former Adjunct at Salem State where he taught ‘Community Practice and Social Change,’ Ray has also taught in the Urban Leadership Program at Simmons College School of Social Work. Ray was born and adopted in New Zealand at a time when all adoption records were closed. After a search he reunited with his birth family 30 years ago. He is interested in policy and justice issues for people separated from their families and countries of origin and in adopted people’s complex identities. 

Tien Ung, LICSW, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Simmons School of Social Work and Director of the Urban Leadership Program. Dr. Ung teaches courses on research, leadership, trauma, and social work practice. As a practitioner-scholar, Dr. Ung works with clients, trains practitioners, and provides organizational consultation in child and family settings with specific expertise in child protection, adoption, forensic social work, child and family trauma, and immigrant and refugee mental health. Consequently, Dr. Ung’s research is broadly focused in the field of transnationalism, with particular attention to the effects of culture and intercultural dynamics on identity, mental health, and family well-being. 

Mei-Mei Ellerman, PhD, was adopted at the age of 7 months in a closed adoption in NYC. A former academic, she is now a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center where she focuses on memoir writing and social activism She has both spoken and written on adoption-related issues, based on her life journey and her two decade-long search for her origins as well as her adoptive family’s history - she is working on two memoirs. Founding director emerita of Polaris, leading anti-trafficking and modern day slavery NGO, Mei–Mei is committed to addressing the growing industry of transnational trafficking in adoptions. She is also a passionate advocate for legislation granting all adoptees free access to their original birth certificates. A board director since 2006 of Chinese Adoptee Links International and co-founder of Global Generations, she regularly contributes to the One World, blog. Recent publications as Co-founder of the An-Ya Project with Diane René Christian include: Perpetual Child, Dismantling the Stereotype, an Adult Adoptee Anthology and Dear Wonderful You, Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth, which Mei-Mei also co-edited. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pls. Save-the-Date for WGS Co-sponsored Panel, March 19th 4-6pm at WSRC/Brandeis!

Please  save-the-date for a WGS (Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies/BU) co-sponsored March 19th Panel and book-signing on Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth: A Global PerspectiveGaIDI, the Gender and International Development Initiatives of the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University is hosting this Spring Event. Discussions will include a focus on international and gender-differentiated aspects of adoption experience. Dr. Mei-Mei Ellerman, panel moderator and book contributor, studied for her Masters degree at BU.

When: March 19th, 4-6pm

Where: Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) in the 
Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall (opposite the Brandeis-Roberts commuter rail stop), Brandeis University, 515 South Street,Waltham MA

Co-sponsors: The Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program at Boston University
The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis
The Gender Working Group, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Brandeis University
The Women's Studies Research Center (WSRC), Brandeis 

Grateful share this invitation with all who might be interested! 

Poster design: Derek Ellerman

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Second E-Book of Gender Case Studies Launched!

The Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender celebrates the release of the second e-book of gender case studies: Gender Perspectives in Case Studies across Continents, Volume II, edited by Brenda Gael McSweeney, Initiator of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture, and Development.

This second volume opens with a Foreword by Saniye Gülser Corat, Director for Gender Equality at UNESCO Paris, followed by ten case studies that explore gender equality around the world, and concludes with an Afterword by Gloria Bonder, Coordinator of the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender anchored in Buenos Aires. The broader themes of this volume are women's political empowerment, economic livelihoods, gender gaps in education, and combatting exploitation. The authors who are UNESCO Chairs, also Partners and Affiliates of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network share gender perspectives on key challenges in nine countries around the globe. 

Here are the links:

To the volume itself:

To the Global Network announcement:

To the PDF version:

Please enjoy and share!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BU’s Dr. Roberta Micallef presents “Facing the Skeletons: Trauma and Narrative for Turkish Women in Prison”

Dr. Roberta Micallef presented a chapter of her ongoing exploration of women’s autobiographical works in the late Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, on 22 October 2014 as part of the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies’ lunch discussion series. The chapter she shared concerned prison narratives by political prisoners. Micallef’s study of Turkish women’s autobiographical works starts with late nineteenth century first person narratives by Ottoman royal women and women in the employ of the Ottoman household as well as important figures of the Turkish War of Independence such as Halide Edib Adivar. Women intellectuals, poets and writers of the Republic of Turkey and their changing notions of self over time and their changing notions of what should be included in life writing are covered in the intervening two chapters. 

Following a chapter on “Dutiful daughter of the Republic,” that on prison narratives on which the lunch talk was based explores the limits of autobiography and women’s autobiographical writings. Micallef examined when and under what circumstances language fell apart or what particular stories were simply too overwhelming to be narrated by the subject but were supplied later by other interlocutors. Micallef explored the effects of incarceration on the prisoners and their families, notably the impact of daughters’ imprisonment on their mothers. 

Based on the texts she analyzed, Micallef’s preliminary conclusions are that women in their daily lives face trauma simply because they are women, whether it is in the form of domestic violence or sexual harassment; that women who engage in political activism gain a new more independent and confident voice; that women who face sexual violence are able to overcome it if they can contextualize in terms of a larger pattern of violence; and that writing or speaking about their experience helps them to overcome the trauma.

Watch this space for news of her next publication!

Introduction of the speaker by Professor Deborah Belle, BU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and former Director, WGS:

“Roberta Micallef is Associate Professor of the Practice, Head of the Turkish Language Program, and Master Lecturer in Turkic Languages and Literatures at Boston University. She is also a deeply valued member of the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program. Roberta earned her doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas in Austin. She then gained considerable cross-cultural experience when she taught at the University of Uppsala in Sweden and then at the University of Utah, coming to Boston University in 2005, where she has been a valued teacher and colleague ever since. 

In recent years, among many honors and activities, Roberta has been:
- participated in a Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies Distinguished Lecture and Research Workshop;
- invited by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to serve on the Critical Languages Scholarship Turkish Language Advisory Board; and
- invited to join a network of 17 international scholars examining Muslim women’s autobiographical writings, which was sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom.

She is co-editor (with Sunil Sharma) of On the Wonders of Land and Sea, a collection of essays on Muslim travel narratives.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yennega Featured in UNESCO Award-Winning E-Learning Tool

Exciting news came our way that we want to share with you - UNESCO's E-Learning Tool on Women in African History just won first prize from UN Women and ITU (International Telecommunications Union)!

This tool was developed with input from the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network anchored at Boston Unversity's Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program. It features a module on Warrior Princess Yennega, a powerful figure in Burkinabe history who is famous for her leadership in defending her territory from invasion in the 12th century. 

The managers/developers of this unique site aimed at African youth, UNESCO's Sasha Rubel and Edouard Joubeaud, used photographs from Brenda Gael McSweeney's portfolio on Burkina, as well as published articles by women's education pioneer Scholastique Kompaoré and Brenda with Casey Fox. For a glimpse of some of this material from the Women in African History interactive site, please click here

The E-Learning tool is an enticing combination of comic strips, music, quizzes, and resource material to engage learners from all backgrounds and boost awareness of women's historic roles across Africa and in the African diaspora. Do check out this award-winning site here! For more information about the Gender Equality Through Technology First Prize Winner and the impact of the Women in African History site, please see this article.

Monday, November 17, 2014

UNESCO/UNITWIN Congratulates Unbound Visual Arts on Enlivening the Creative Economy: Allston Arts District!

Unbound Visual Arts participated as a guest organization in the Allston Open Studios 2014, to help boost the creative economy for artists, art supporters, and all in the Greater Boston area.

Christine Winship, Board of Directors of Unbound Visual Arts at the
Allston Open Studios: 9-10 November 2014. Famous as the Pedigree Artist, Christine specializes in painting animals, frequently people's pets!

Sharing the studio space is UVA artist Nadia Richman -
featured are her dramatic seascapes 
from Hull and  other nearby coastal vistas.

UVA Executive Director John Quatrale curated the exhibit in the UVA Suite. Here we catch a glimpse at left of the Warrior Princess Yennega (Burkina Faso) by Brenda Gael McSweeney, UVA Council of Advisors, from UNESCO's prize-winning African Women in History e-learning tool.
At right is a painting by UVA artist Robin Dawkins,
and one by Sustaining Member Barbara Sawin at top.

UVA Photographer Fran Gardino's exhibition occupied the top floor of the Allston Open Studios.  Fran also screened an advance viewing of his Brighton-Allston Time Travels 360-degree photos!
Fran is on UVA's Council of Advisors, and the
 Board of Directors of the Brighton-Allston Historical Society. 

Unbound Visual Arts is the UNESCO/ UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture & Development's newest affiliate - bringing an additional accent to our engagement in the cultural arena and educational outreach.