This week the UTM Historical Studies Society will be hosting a photo exhibition called Our Grandmothers, Ourselves. The exhibit, composed of photographs containing quotations from the granddaughters in English and in the grandmothers first language, aims to draw attention to immigrant grandmothers who have made extraordinary contributions to the lives of their granddaughters in adverse circumstances.
The exhibit will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday, January 26 to Thursday, January 29 in the Student Centre. Renowned academic Dr. Gina Valle will also host a lecture from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 29 in Room 137 of the Kaneff building.
The Medium spoke to Rahul DCunha, Vice-President of the UTM Historical Studies
Society, about the event. How were you able to enlist Dr. Gina Valle ?
I found out about her book through Prof. Simalchik’s WGS335 class, which is called Women, Migration, Diaspora , and contacted her in November to see if she would be willing to have the exhibit displayed at our campus. The exhibit was in Portugal at the time, so she booked us for January. She also kindly agreed to give a talk on campus. I contacted Professor Simalchik. She was ecstatic and suggested that we have Dr. Valle give her lecture in the WGS200 class in room 137 of the Kaneth building.
We have since invited other faculty who have confirmed their attendance, such as Professor Rubincam and Professor Berns- McGown. We are quite excited about this event as it is hard to get an internationally acclaimed exhibit to come to campus, let alone have the creator give a talk too. I think the visual element should appeal to students, while the stories themselves will touch a cord with many of our student body who are first or second generation immigrants.
What inspired the UTM Historical Studies Society to organize this event?
Students taking WGS335H5, which is a course on women and migration, were inspired to organize this event, because Gina Valle was mentioned in the course and shes an expert in the field. We looked her up and decided to hold an exhibition on women and migration, training, second language acquisition and curriculum development.
Why do you think its important to explore the relationship between immigrant grandmothers and their granddaughters?
Its important because this topic hasnt been explored a lot, and we wanted to explore the different experiences of immigrant families. Its also important because it ties into other subjects, such as history, womens studies, and religion.