In honor of Women’s History Month, lecturer Miki Turner and her photojournalism class (JOUR 330) spent a week taking portraits and videos of women who work at USC Annenberg. The photo shoot “Women of Annenberg” features more than 50 women and will be in an exhibit and on screens around Wallis Annenberg Hall throughout March.
“I think one of the things is there’s so many of us, but all of us don’t know each other really well,” Turner said. “So this was kind of an opportunity to bond and also to celebrate ourselves and our accomplishments collectively and individually.”
When Turner extended an invitation to all women who work at the school — including faculty members, staff and custodial workers — she said the point was to leave no one behind.
“The plan and the initial intent was always to include everyone who works in these buildings, the original Annenberg building and Wallis Annenberg Hall, because we’re all part of this family,” Turner said. “We all do great work at whatever level we’re at, and it’s time to celebrate all these people.”
With the help of Turner’s photojournalism students, professors Amara Aguilar and Rebecca Haggerty and their JEDI (Journalism and Emerging Digital Innovation) class, more than 50 women had their portraits taken and were filmed talking about the most inspirational woman in their lives.
Professor Alison Trope said that once she saw the kind of momentum the photo shoot was gaining, her initial shyness dissipated. Trope, who teaches gender, media and communications, applauded the way the photo shoot was recognizing a wide landscape of inspirational women.
“It really opens up the fact that an everyday woman can be an inspiration,” Trope said. “It doesn’t have to be a great historical figure or someone who has a political role or power. It can be, in my case, my 99-year-old grandmother who still lives by herself and bakes and always has a full fridge. She’s amazing.”
Turner’s students were also excited about how the photo shoot creates dialogue about uncomfortable topics, such as gender inequality, diversity and stereotyping. Following studies conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA) and the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg, such as the recent “Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment,” the students felt “Women of Annenberg” to be a timely accompaniment.
Laura Bouzari (B.A. English Literature ‘17) was glad the photo shoot opened up opportunities to discuss female working professionals, as well as validate that these issues exist.
“I think a project like this makes it more concrete,” Bouzari said. “There are these women that do teach, do have families, work in the entertainment industry, do all that kind of stuff, and they should be celebrated for it and not just shock people that they do.”