I’m Still Surviving is a living women’s history of HIV/AIDS. In this digital exhibition, you will find hundreds of excerpts from 39 women’s oral history narratives, each of whom comes from cities and towns in one of three states: New York, Illinois and North Carolina. Their lives share similarities and differences that can be tracked in minute detail, even as the connections among them can go in infinite directions. We invite you to engage and participate in this material, all of which when taken together raises a set of surprising issues and experiences about what health means and how we can live in a world that centers wellness in direct response to systemic violence and racism.
Through a participatory process that included workshops, collaborative working sessions, the use of specially designed history-making toolkits and plenty of candid dialogue, the History Moves team worked with the women of WIHS Chicago to create their own chapter in the history of Chicago. The women worked in pairs to interview one another, producing stories of staggering heartbreak and courage, tremendous loss and pain, and incomparable tales of redemption, determination, and spirit. Ultimately, these overlapping personal narratives produce a collage of all forms of social inequities and injustices—a mosaic of recent and contemporary urban life. With the individual oral histories as a guide, we then worked with the women to collect visual materials—photos, documents, hand-written stories and poems—to accompany their words.
In Plain Sight: A Women’s History of HIV/AIDS in Chicago
In Fall 2015, students from the University of Cincinnati worked with the women of WIHS Chicago to present their stories as a public and collective history. This exhibition, In Plain Sight, shows that women living with HIV have moved from the margins of what was once a deadly epidemic to becoming survivors and history makers.
Currently on tour in Chicago, the exhibition will make stops at Sulzer Public Library, Hyde Park Art Center, and Beverly Arts Center this winter. See below for the dates and locations, and check here and on our facebook page for special events and updates.
In Plain Sight
Winter 2016-17 Tour
November 19th, 2016 – January 16th, 2017
Sulzer Regional Library
4455 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Hyde Park Art Center
5020 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL 60615
February 26th- April 16th, 2017
Beverly Arts Center
2407 W 111th St, Chicago, IL 60655
In the news:
“Exhibition Inspired by Chicago Women’s HIV Stories” from UIC News Center
“UIC Exhibit Shares Stories of Chicago-area Women Living with HIV” on WBEZ’s Morning Shift
“HIV Positive Chicago Women Share Oral Histories in New UIC Exhibit” on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight
“In Plain Sight: Shining a Spotlight on Women Living with HIV” from AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Jennifer Brier, Project Director
Matthew Wizinsky, Lead Designer
Catherine Jett, Research Assistant
Marie Rowley, Research Assistant
Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), Chicago
Mardge Cohen, M.D., Principal Investigator
Kathleen Weber, Project Director
Ellen Almirol, Assistant Project Director
University of Cincinnati School of Design Students:
Simple Wood Goods
In the collaboration between History Moves and WIHS Chicago, this book is the first output that aggregates the personal stories into a shared history—using the methods of design to translate the individual into the collective. Working from the book, the team continues to expand and distribute the material with a few more projects in the works: a short film as well as a mobile exhibition.
— project team —
Jennifer Brier, PhD: lead historian
Matthew Wizinsky: lead designer
Catherine Jett, MPH: research assistant
Alexander Hayashi: asst. designer
Mardge Cohen, MD: principal investigator, WIHS Chicago
Kathleen Weber, project director, WIHS Chicago
Ellen Almirol, asst. project director, WIHS Chicago