UTS Library

Ella Cutler: Just Spaces Exhibition

Ella Cutler: Just Spaces 

Ella is a UTS Masters of Design student who works extensively on the production of zines, illustrations, and text-based works exploring the representation of women and non-binary identities,  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQI) communities. Her works draw upon conversations and experiences of gender and sexuality.

Exhibition opening
UTS Library | Level 2
5:30pm - 7.30 pm, Thursday 5 April 
All are welcome, refreshments will be served

On Display
3 - 27 April 2018
UTS Library | Level 2 Stairwell 

Just Spaces presents the work of UTS Master of Design student Ella Cutler. This body of work has emerged from Ella’s thesis research into the microaggressions experienced by Lesbian, Bisexual, Pansexual and Queer (LBPQ) women and non-binary identities in their everyday lives, and how she as a designer can help facilitate and imagine safe spaces for this community.

Ella’s investigation begins with her personal experience as a young Queer woman feeling tired, exhausted even, with the constant and daily discrimination towards the LGBTQI+ community that exists within the media, politics, society and everyday interactions between people. It seems that recently there has been an extra amount of news and social media coverage of discriminatory events towards the LGBTQI+ community, for example, the plebiscite on same-sex marriage, which was a particularly tiring event for the community. This experience of tiredness is shared broadly by marginalized communities and identities, which can lead to minority stress and impact the mental and physical health of people. Although an LBPQ identifying person may not experience outright discrimination on a regular basis, they are faced with microaggressions that can take the form of intentional or unintentional comments and actions that question and demean them.

Using design practices and methods, Ella’s research aims to communicate the effect that microaggressions have on LBPQ identifying people to activate dialogue and instigate change surrounding the creation of safe spaces for this community. In 2017, Ella facilitated two workshops with a group of anonymous LBPQ identifying people where they were asked to reflect on moments where they felt their sense of safety had been breached and then to imagine and plan new safe spaces for the future, for them and their community. The series of six double-sided risograph prints are Ella’s visual translations of the stories, anecdotal data and the solutions that the workshop participants offered. Workshop outcomes included the necessity for safe spaces to be: for all (identities and sexualities), accessible, inclusive of narratives so they become culturally accepted, maintained and committed to by everybody, educative, equipped with medical and counselling facilities, and to be everywhere.