Connecting Threads: Fashioning Identity in a Global World, Part 2
Like all material culture, items of clothing and fashion have “social lives”— biographies containing the unique stories that have produced these objects. Clothing and fashion connect people across space and time, physically and symbolically. The curatorial process that created this exhibition resulted from a collaboration between two courses at CUNY LaGuardia Community College and Bard Graduate Center over the 2020-21 academic year.
In Fall 2020, Professor Filip Stabrowski’s Cultural Anthropology (Honors) students from LaGuardia selected and studied objects of clothing and fashion to which they felt connected. The artifacts they chose span the globe from Japan, Nepal, Tibet, Mexico, Yemen, and Ivory Coast to Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United States, reflecting the diversity of New York City and LaGuardia. The students’ papers and photos, included in this exhibition, attempted to go behind the label and fabric, exploring the social relationships required to produce, consume, dispose of, and reuse these powerful objects. In Spring 2021, a new group of students in Professor Liena Vayzman’s Urban Study: Art and Society (Honors) course curated the presentation of these objects to the public by writing the object descriptions and participating in the design of the exhibition. The Art and Society students created Self-Portrait artworks as part of a workshop co-sponsored by Transformative Learning in the Humanities at CUNY and wrote Artist Statements to present their own voices and identities.
The objects on display in Connecting Threads: Fashioning Identity in a Global World, Part 2 are thus manifestations of social connections of a different sort. Selected and studied by one group of LaGuardia students last fall, these artifacts subsequently were curated into an exhibition by another group this spring, across disciplinary boundaries. Drawing inspiration from the research papers, videos, and photographs of the objects’ owners, LaGuardia students offer their own interpretations of these powerful objects as well as artistic self-representations of their own identities. The result of this interdisciplinary collaboration is Connecting Threads.
This digital exhibition project has come to life during an extraordinary time of the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning at both BGC and CUNY LaGuardia. Thanks to the many LaGuardia and BGC staff and students who persisted to make Connecting Threads possible.
Connecting Threads invites you, the viewer, to enter into the social lives of these objects, to write yourselves into their biographies. Though we are unable to form and build upon these relationships in person, still we are able to connect. The exhibition may be virtual (and our connecting threads may be fiber-optic), but the connections remain very real.
Dr. Filip Stabrowski, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Social Science Department, LaGuardia Community College, The City University of New York
Dr. Liena Vayzman, Assistant Professor, Fine Arts, Humanities Department, LaGuardia Community College, The City University of New York
Faculty Mentors, Connecting Threads: Fashioning Identity in a Global World
A project like this requires the support and collaboration of many people. As Faculty Mentors for Connecting Threads since 2019, we give our sincere thanks to Professor Filip Stabrowski and Professor Liena Vayzman.
Mr. Kenneth Adams, President
Dr. Paul Arcario, Provost
Dr. Gail Mellow, President (2000–2019)
Dr. Bojana Blagojevic, Chairperson, Social Science Department
Dr. Payal Doctor, Chairperson, Humanities Department
Dr. Noam Scheindlin and Dr. Ana Fuentes, Directors, LaGuardia Community College Honors Program
Arthur Simms, Professor, Fine Arts Program Coordinator, Humanities Department
Dahlia Elsayed, Associate Professor, Fine Arts, Humanities Department
Maureen Drennan, Associate Professor, Commercial Photography Program, Humanities Department
Lidiya Kan, HEa and Adjunct Lecturer, Commercial Photography Program, Humanities Department
Dr. Richard Lieberman, Director
Soraya Ciego-Lemur, Deputy Director
Dr. Molly Rosner, Assistant Director of Education Programs
Dr. Stephen Petrus, Historian
David Mezick, Archivist
Douglas DiCarlo, Archivist
Oleg Kleban, Information Systems Associate
SSA101 Cultural Anthropology (Honors and Regular), Fall 2020, Professor Filip Strabrowski
HUN192 Urban Study: Art and Society (Honors), Spring 2021, Professor Liena Vayzman
Edgar Daniel Herrera
JunHui (Erik) Chen
Mosamad Karun Nahar
Dr. Christina Katapodis, Executive Director, Transformative Learning in the Humanities
Khanh Le, Assistant Director, Transformative Learning in the Humanities
Dr. Susan Weber, Founder and Director
Dr. Peter N. Miller, Dean
Emma Cormack, Associate Curator
Amy Estes, Director of Marketing and Communications
Tim Ettenheim, Chief Operating Officer
Benjamin Krevolin, Chief Advancement Officer
Jocelyn Lau, Designer
Dr. Jesse Merandy, Director of the Digital Media Lab
Emily Reilly, Director of Public Engagement
Carla Repice, Senior Manager of Education, Engagement, and Interpretation
Nadia Rivers, Coordinator of Public Programs, Education, and Engagement
Hellyn Teng, Web Manager
Maggie Walter, Coordinator of Marketing, Communications, and Design
Bard Graduate Center's partnership with LaGuardia Community College has been made possible through the generous support of Bard Graduate Center's Board of Trustees and other donors to the institution. To support future projects, please visit www.bgc.bard.edu/donate
Bard Graduate Center is very grateful to Lisa Selz for her leadership on this valuable partnership with LaGuardia Community College and to both Lisa and Bernard Selz for their ongoing, generous support of our students.