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Traveling Smithsonian exhibit at Pablo Center to examine bias

| Denise Olson

Photo caption: One of the sections of "The Bias Inside Us" takes a deep dive into the neuroscience behind the complicated facet of human nature known as internal bias.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Pablo Center at the Confluence and the Eau Claire Area School District will present “The Bias Inside Us,” a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service that will be in Eau Claire from Feb. 26-March 27.

"The Bias Inside Us" is an exhibition and community engagement event that explores the social science, psychology and consequences of implicit bias. According to exhibit curators, “Being aware of our various biases can help us recognize its influence and impact on our behaviors and worldview.”

This interactive experience is designed to engage young adults in scientific evidence. Through compelling images, hands-on interactives, and powerful testimonials and videos, "The Bias Inside Us" introduces the concept of bias and how it impacts society. The exhibit features several sections, including a general introduction, and exhibit segments titled “The Science of Bias,” “Bias in Real Life,” “Serious Consequences,” “#RetrainYourBrain” and an exit opportunity for personal reflection.

Through a series of associated events on the UW-Eau Claire campus, in the community at Pablo Center, "The Bias Inside Us” exhibit will serve as an anchor event for monthlong learning opportunities for all ages.

Robin Miller, an exhibit steering committee member and head of discovery and assessment for UW-Eau Claire's McIntyre Library, helped plan for the exhibit and define the many ways to deliver the experience to different demographics in the community.

“Building and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive community is hard work and requires continuous learning and reflection,” Miller says. “Attending ‘The Bias Inside Us’ is an opportunity to learn about how our brains work. The exhibit is an engaging and beautifully designed learning experience, and it’s a way to learn how an individual person can retrain their brain and disrupt bias in all its forms.”

Watch the official Smithsonian Institution preview video about “The Bias Inside Us.” 

EDI training credits

A core component of the equity, diversity and inclusion mission at UW-Eau Claire includes providing training for students, faculty and staff through workshops, lectures, media studies and other events to help build a culturally competent campus environment and prepare students to thrive in an increasingly global society.

Organizers say this national touring exhibit opens the door to many events to help the university reach its EDI goals.

“The opportunity to host this exhibit has given us the chance to weave a critical equity, diversity and inclusion topic throughout our curricular and cocurricular experience,” says Jodi Thesing-Ritter, manager of the Center for EDI Training, Development and Education at UW-Eau Claire.  

“The potential for dialogue on the topic of bias to be happening among all of our students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways in multiple venues throughout the semester is incredibly exciting. This type of seamless interdisciplinary learning is what we strive for at UW-Eau Claire, so this project has been incredibly meaningful for me,” Thesing-Ritter says.

Faculty, staff or students visiting the exhibit should swipe their Blugold ID using the card reader on-site to track attendance and enroll them in the corresponding EDI Professional Development Tier 2 workshop.

“The Bias Inside Us” exhibit details

Exhibit dates: Feb. 26-March 27

Pablo Center at the Confluence, James W. Hansen Gallery

  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday; also open evenings during scheduled Pablo Center performances.
  • Pablo Center safety protocols regarding COVID-19 must be observed by all exhibit visitors. See guidelines.

Associated event series

In connection with the exhibit at Pablo Center, several events have been scheduled to build upon the ideas and topics presented in “The Bias Inside Us.”

  • Keynote address by Dr. Calvin Lai, professor of brain and psychological sciences at Washington University. March 15, 6 p.m., Jamf Theatre, Pablo Center. See event details and ticketing information.

  • "Silent Sky," UW-Eau Claire theatre production. March 4-13, Riverside Theatre, Haas Fine Arts Center. See ticket information and production details.

  • "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution," a discussion and Q&A with disability rights activist Judith Heumann. March 7, 4-6 p.m., Woodland Theater, Davies Center. See calendar post for details.

  • String quartet concerts, Cohen String Quartet and Blugold String Quartet. Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m., Jamf Theatre, Pablo Center. Free event, ticket reservation required.

  • Student art exhibits, openings in Ojibwe Ballroom, Davies Center
    • Opening of “Take a Stand” exhibit of posters on social justice prepared by art & design students. March 2, 2 p.m. 
    • Opening of “Internal Interior,” an exhibit of sketches of spaces that are comfortable and uncomfortable, prepared by art and design students. March 10, 4:30 p.m.
    • Opening of installation of vinyl window-cling designs around campus. A map of art installation windows will be created and shared at the opening and via social media during the following four weeks. March 14, 5 p.m. 
  • “The Bias Inside Us” Poster Series: On display in McIntyre Library, Davies Center, Brewer Hall, Hibbard Hall and residence halls. Student designers:
    • Allison Rae Buchli, senior graphic communications major from Rice Lake.
    • Isabelle Mya Hutchison, sophomore graphic communications major from Wausau. 
    • Emily Ann Popp, senior graphic design major from Lodi. 
    • Daniel Robert Reich, senior graphic design major from De Pere. 
    • Alexis Marie Zellmer, senior graphic communications major from Poynette. 

Throughout the exhibit, partnering sponsors will host a community read of “Biased,” written by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt. See McIntyre Library website for details.

For more information about the Pablo exhibit and associated events, contact Robin Miller at millerob@uwec.edu

See the Center for EDI Training webpage for more details.