Beyond the Checkbox Explores Diverse Social Identities

Beyond the Check Box, a collaborative project conceived by Thurgood Marshall College at UC San Diego and the UCLA Bruin Resource Center, is currently on view on the first floor of Geisel Library in the West Wing thru June 14. A reception for the exhibit will be held on April 17 at 4 p.m. adjacent to the exhibit site.

Inspiration and motivation for the project are rooted in The Hapa Project, an exploration of multiracial identities, carried out in 2011 by artist Kip Fulbeck. According to project director Shane Moise, Beyond the Checkbox aims to illuminate the “beautiful and ever evolving identities of the inspired, intellectual, and determined people who make up our university communities.”

Beyond the Checkbox features a series of portrait photographs of UC San Diego students, faculty, and staff, including their responses to the question “Who are you?” Respondents were given the opportunity to “tell their stories and experiences” on their own terms and from their own perspectives, challenging labels and stereotypes others might attach to them.

Beyond the Checkbox, says Moise, “encourages the viewer to transcend typical social and ethnic labels so he or she can engage in the redefinition of individuals through more personal lenses, regardless of traditional social group definitions. In doing this, the salience of different identities becomes apparent in what people share about themselves. Some may see themselves through more traditional lenses, but what those identities mean is made into their own sources of power, pride, and individuality.”

Shane is an assistant resident dean at Thurgood Marshall College. His vision for Beyond the Checkbox, realized in partnership with Marshall College resident dean eeman agrama-minert, who served as the project photographer, is to create a community journal that captures our attention with stunning insight and imagery. He is developing research with partners at UCLA and the UC Office of the President, focused on answering the questions about whether the expressed power and presence of individuality can create sustained social justice mindedness in our communities.

For more information about Beyond the Checkbox: http://beyondthecheckboxucsd.tumblr.com/

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