ON EQUAL TERMS is a site-specific 800-square-foot touring mixed media art installation by Susan Eisenberg that combines poetry, audio, found objects, photographs, historic artifacts, and 3-D mixed media –– including Stella, a life-sized figure on a ladder in a diamond hardhat –– to bring viewers into the experiences of women who work on construction sites; and the conversation about employment equity. Developed with a “Liberty and Justice for All” grant from Mass Humanities, the installation’s 2008 launch coincided with the 30th anniversary of federal affirmative action policies that in 1978 opened construction jobs and apprenticeship programs to women. Had those regulations been enforced beyond the initial years, today’s construction workforce would likely be 25% female. Instead, women hold roughly 2.5% of building trades jobs. Questions raised by that discrepancy — between policy expectation and policy outcome — inspired the installation.
ON EQUAL TERMS has exhibited at the Kniznick Gallery, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Adams Gallery, Suffolk University, Boston, MA; Main Gallery, Smithsonian-affiliated Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, MI; and the Abrazo Interno Gallery, Clemente Soto Velez Center, New York, NY. Programming is also site specific, working with local sponsors to create events, including poetry readings, Building Our Futures high school student tours, conferences, talks and panel discussions. A celebration of area tradeswomen has been a highlight of opening receptions.
Colorlines review of the On Equal Terms Installation with slide show of images
ON EQUAL TERMS SHORTFORM. Selected elements tour where small venues or short exhibition-time requires more versatility and portability.
Installation elements have exhibited at the Women Build the Nation Conference (Sacramento, CA), Women in Non-Traditional Careers Conference (Peosta, IA), Washington Women in Trades Career Fair (Seattle, WA), University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN), IBEW District 6 Progress Meeting (Green Bay, WI), Curry College (Milton, MA).
For more information about touring or programs: OnEqualTerms@brandeis.edu