During Women’s History Month, Nichols College Institute for Women’s Leadership Exhibit Sends Powerful Message


DUDLEY, Mass.—In honor of Women’s History Month in March, the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) at Nichols College presents “Don’t Table It — Talk About It,” a powerful photographic installation featuring women and men of the Nichols community. The portraits will be on display across campus through March 31 in the academic building, Fels Student Center, Davis Hall, Lombard Dining Hall, and the Athletics Center.

Late last fall, IWL staff invited campus community members — students, faculty, and staff — to talk with them about how gender stereotypes and inequalities have affected their lives. IWL staff also asked participants to identify a woman who made history. Those questions culminated in a provocative, thoughtful, and powerful exhibit: 50 black-and-white, head-and-shoulder portraits of Nichols faculty, staff, and students that feature a personal quote from each individual as well as a quote from their selected inspirational woman. The photos were taken by Nichols College senior management major Paul Parks of Cumberland, R.I.

“I didn’t do this alone; I had a vision, and I had 50 people trust me with their stories and experiences to create this installment,” said IWL Director Rachel Ferreira. “Imagine 50 stories—all different, and all important—with these images set up all over campus. I’m so excited and humbled because of all that I got to experience during this process.
“We are honored to share this with our community,” she added. “It was truly a collaborative effort among many different people, and we hope that the installation will spark thought and conversation.”

Ferreira found inspiration for “Don’t Table It — Talk About It” from two United Nations exhibits, one of which she saw in person during a Nichols-sponsored trip to New York City on Nov. 1, 2018.

“I had been thinking for some time about how to engage our campus community outside IWL’s physical space,” she said. “Then, after traveling to the United Nations and seeing two photo exhibits in the lobby about the refugee experience and one online, I started to develop the project from there. I thought that it would be useful for our campus to start talking about some of these topics on their own, without it being moderated by staff and faculty.”

Men are also a part of the installation.

“I am so happy to have men part of this effort,” said Ferreira. “I want the Institute for Women’s Leadership to be a place for all our students to come together and learn how gender expectations and stereotypes impact our choices and decisions.”

The only way for there to be change in the wage gap or underrepresentation, according to Ferreira, is if everyone (men and women) works together.

“IWL is not anti-man because we’re pro-women,” she pointed out.

IWL Graduate Assistant Sam Walther helped execute Ferreira’s vision. Parks, who works in the Nichols green screen studio, took the photos and served as one of the 50 subjects. Visiting Assistant Professor Rob Russo participated in the exhibit and also brainstormed ideas with Ferreira and Walther.

“We want to thank each and every dedicated person who was willing to share their stories and be a part of this installation,” said Ferreira. “They—along with the Nichols green screen room team and the Office of Facilities—made this possible.”

Lorraine U. Martinelle is director of public relations and social media at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. Read Lorraine’s Lean In story on leanin.org. 



FACULTY: Jean Beaupré, Erika Cornelius Smith, Ph.D., Luanne Westerling, Megan Faulkner, Robert Russo, Danielle Levya

STAFF: Tahkeya Blake, Katelynn Havener, Brittany Jacobs, Katie Moulton, Olivia Normandin

STUDENTS: Karen Velasco, Lynn Thibault, Alyssa Smith, Callie Andrews, James Singletary, Sarah Hemphill, Megan Gardner, Brooke Downey, Sachelle Mercado, Mandy Laporte, Paul Parks, Mikayla Castro, Kamarie Eddington, Benjamin Lawson, Nadiv Bangura, Shane Crayton, Jared Locke, Mel McAleer, Jose Baez, Ronnie Joseph, Pietro Fina, Bryce Boggs, Ariff McLaren, Kash Jackson, Marge Ready, Cassie Goyette, Khrisan Grant, Jensen Wurm, Kara Santoro, Em Eagan

Part of the exhibit, in Nichols College’s academic building




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