In the spring of senior year, Putney students are given the opportunity to drop two of their classes and pursue a large independent project. Known as exhibitions, these projects are usually deeper investigations of topics or disciplines a student has already studied at Putney that simultaneously bring a new lens or idea to the table.
I emerge from the depths of my exhibition to write this blog post, so I can definitely say first hand how engaging and rigorous they can be!
For my project, I decided to expand upon a topic I became interested in after making a linoleum block print on gender inequality in the Academy Awards, specifically the experience of women in male dominated industries. But instead of printmaking or creating a zine (which I did for my fall project week), I decided to produce a documentary film. In retrospect, it was a slightly crazy idea to direct, edit, film, and conduct interviews all by myself. From about the halfway point now, I can say that I am somehow making it work and developing helpful techniques along the way.
Living in Vermont, many of the women I have talked to work in agricultural or manual labor based industries such as logging, farming, stonemasonry, carpentry, etc… It has been amazing traveling around New England to meet people and hear their stories. I think that too often we focus on statistics and not the real people who live within the ramifications of those statistics every day. I hope that in the end my film can provide some sorely lacking representation and help young women see that certain industries don’t have to be considered a “man’s job”.