Mental Illness Awareness
Eight students in WMST 325, “Encountering Art in the Unexpected: Borderlands and Story in Contemporary American Visual Art,” taught by professor Susan Harbage, used BeAM to create focusing items aimed to bring awareness to student mental health issues. Their idea started with a thought to utilize the publicity around the UNC Basketball Team’s National Championship Win, in combination with upcoming semester finals. Finals are when when academic stressors affect students the most, and that was to what the students wanted to put attention.
The group used the BeAM@Murray Hall facility to create basketball jerseys and accompanying signs, showing statistics correlating to the number on the shirt. They then strung the shirts out by a well-traveled path in the quad, placing the signs they had laser cut below each jersey. By installing in the quad, the students drew attention to mental health issues on campus.
This project, according to one of the students, Anna Henderson, could not have been completed without the resources provided at the BEAM space. Throughout the semester, the students received training during their Women’s and Gender Studies course, where Susan Page showed them how to use the laser cutter and the sewing machines. The students used these skills to create the materials they needed for this project.