Jennifer Bloxam (1995-1997)

A member of the Music Department, Professor Bloxam was the first Scholar to come from Division I (Languages and the Arts). Her projects developed along two lines: working to foster experiential education within the curriculum, and organizing students and faculty to undertake extracurricular public art projects that addressed matters of public concern.

Professor Bloxam began her activities by organizing a conference on “Experiential Education at Williams: Past, Present and Future.” A summer project with faculty and students led to the creation first of a Winter Study and then of a multidisciplinary course called “Practicing Feminism: A Study of Political Activism.” A course in environmental studies, “Environmental Planning and Analysis Workshop,” also developed an important experiential dimension when revised by a professor of biology. And an interdisciplinary course called “Sited Scripted Public Acts,” created by teachers in studio art and theater, entailed working with and within the local community on performances in public spaces.

The second focus of Professor Bloxam’s tenure was on public art projects designed and executed by a group of faculty and students who were known only by the rubric Just Another Avon Lady. Acting as “guerrilla artists,” the Avon Ladies created an AIDS Wall outside the Baxter Hall student center (an enormous supine A, upon whose outer walls all were invited to write, and whose inner chamber was a memorial); the Dummy Project (identical suspended human figures with ethnic labels, upon which all were invited to write); and a Talk/Listen Project (a two-chamber booth, on one side of which listeners could hear unidentified students talking about matters of ethnic identity, while on the other side they could record their own thoughts).