For the past two years (2018 + 2019) ATMA has teamed up with the Augustana Public Health Program to host programming to help students understand issues of reproductive justice, access to abortion care, combat abortion stigma, and center storytelling in discussions of abortion. The programming was supported by grants from Shout Your Abortion, “a decentralized network of individuals talking about abortion on our own terms and creating space for others to do the same.”
Such events ATMA allows space for our communities to grapple with issues through different avenues of discussion - something that is core to a liberal arts education and tied to Augustana’s mission and student learning outcomes.
In 2018, we hosted #AbortionIsNormal, a pop up art exhibit featuring the work of a number of graphic design artists and organizations whose work centers on abortion care. In addition, the event hosted 7 speakers who work for regional abortion care providers, speaking telling their own stories. The event welcomed over 150 attendees, including Augustana students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Quad Cities community members. This was an unexpected turnout, especially because the area experienced an ice storm that evening that prevented many people from traveling and the event was only directly advertised to campus.
Whereas the art exhibit took on a passive learning approach (attendees listened to speakers and looked at art), 2019’s events actively engaged participants through a student-organized book club discussion of Shout Your Abortion’s recently-published book and a zine-making workshop that encouraged participants to think and talk about abortion while creating art that represents their thoughts and experiences in order to continue dialogue and critical thinking. The book club was student-organized and hosted 57 participants over three sessions in the ATMA galleries. Participants (Augustana students, staff, and faculty) dialogued with each other around the stories and art shared in the book, shared their own perspectives and experiences, and The zine-making workshop was hosted by members of For the People Artists Collective, “a radical squad of Black artists and artists of color in Chicago. As artists who also organize, it is our duty to create work that uplifts and projects struggle, resistance, liberation, and survival within and for our marginalized communities and movements in our city and our world.”