Smithsonian’s Implicit Bias Community Engagement Project Comes to Watford City

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The Long X Arts Foundation and the Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County announced on October 8 that they will host the Smithsonian exhibit “The Bias Inside Us” from November 13, 2021 to January 3, 2022. The Smithsonian Institution’s Community Engagement Project The Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) will raise awareness about the social science and psychology of implicit bias, the impact of this bias and what people can do about it.

“The Bias Inside Us” presents a traveling exhibit that serves as a centerpiece for local programs and activities. Through compelling images, practical interactions, and powerful testimonials and videos, the exhibition unwraps and demystifies the concept of prejudice. The exhibit has six sections: Introduction, The Science of Bias, Bias in Real Life, Serious Consequences – Bias are All Around Us, #RetrainYourBrain and Personal Reflection.

Visitors will explore the foundations of prejudice, the psychology of its formation and its influence on behavior both consciously and unconsciously. The interactive elements show how implicit and explicit prejudices appear in the world and how prejudices influence systems and policies that have consequences for many people and communities. An interactive experience invites visitors to reflect on how biases are reflected in product design, advertising, architecture and technology. Among the videos in the exhibition is a series that features eight voices from various points of view sharing personal experience with prejudices.

The exhibition also features the Humanae project by Spanish photographer Angélica Dass, which reflects on skin color that challenges the concept of race. In this work, Dass documents the true colors of humanity through portraits, rather than the “white”, “red”, “black” and “yellow” labels.

“Bias is part of being human,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “Our goal through ‘The Bias Inside Us’ is to help individuals understand and challenge their implicit biases and to help communities thrive through conversation and better understanding.”

The Long X Arts Foundation and the Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County will be hosting events and community engagements focused on these conversations throughout the duration of the exhibit, including the ‘An Evening at the Smithsonian’ event at the Pioneer Museum on Saturday, November 27. like in addition to offering special programming in area schools.

“The Bias Inside Us” draws on the scientific research and educational work of psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji, of Harvard University and Anthony G. Greenwald, professor emeritus at the University of Washington. They defined the term “implicit bias” through their work on unconscious and conscious mental processes. Their book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (Delacorte Press, 2013) explores the biases people carry based on their exposure to cultural attitudes in areas such as gender, race, social class, and disability status.

“Having an exhibition of this caliber close at hand is a unique opportunity for our region,” said Jessie Scofield, director of the Long X Arts Foundation. “We invite all members of the public to come explore and look forward to the dialogue it opens in our community which, at one point, included residents from all 50 states and over 20 countries.”

The exhibit “The Bias Inside Us” opens November 13 and can be viewed free of charge during regular Pioneer Museum hours, Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.

Otto Bremer Trust provides major support to “The Bias Inside Us”. Additional support provided by Acton Family Giving, Anonymous Donors, The Beverly Foundation, Steve and Sheri Lear, Target, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund of Minneapolis Foundation, Thomson Reuters, Alabama Power Foundation, Allianz of America, Valerie E. and William A. Anders, Atlanta Gas Light Foundation, Julie and David Burton, Dreier Family, Lennart Ehn and Ginger Lew, Expedia, Trevor and Melissa Fetter, Roger S. Firestone Foundation, Brenda J. Gaines, Myra Hart and Kent Hewitt, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, Judy and Bob Huret, Dr Christine C. Jenkins and M. Pierre A. France, KNOCK, inc., Sarah Lawer and Frank Guanco, Leaders Forum, Kathleen Mason, Elyse Rabinowitz and Jim Porter, Dr Philip S. and Alice Hoolihan Randall, Gloria del C. Rodriguez, family of Leona Roen and Naoma Tate.

“The Bias Inside Us” is based on an original concept developed by Tolerance in Motion: Steve Lear, Laura Zelle and Elyse Rabinowitz, founders; Ellen Glatstein, Laura Lipshutz, Alice Randall, Joanne Jones-Rizzi and Susan Shapiro, directors; Don Shelby, founding advisor; and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Steve Huegs, executive director.

SITES has shared the richness of the Smithsonian’s collections and research programs with millions of people outside of Washington, DC, for over 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibits on art, science and history, which are presented wherever people live, work and play. For a description of the exhibition and visit times, visit sites.si.edu.


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