Art and design students from Griffith University are celebrating Brisbane’s female pioneers, with a new interactive exhibition that showcases some of the city’s early risk-takers.

The Women Who Dare exhibition explores the social justice work undertaken by the Sisters of Mercy in Brisbane over the past 160 years.

Dr Beer and the QCA design students who created works for Women Who Dare

Students were commissioned by Adderton:house&heart of mercy to develop participatory works that would spark conversation about social issues today and give visitors a chance to create, share and be empowered.

The project was led by Queensland College of Art senior design lecturer Dr Tanja Beer, who said the diverse group of student artists brought a fresh perspective to the project.

“This brief allowed a really diverse group of artists from Griffith the freedom to explore social justice issues that are challenging our community today,” she said.

“The students came up with beautiful and thought-provoking ways to address issues like gender equality.

QCA student Sookyoun Lee

“The centrepiece of the exhibition is a 3D laser-cut map of Brisbane that allows visitor to mark meaningful places and add messages.

“We also created a jacket covered with badges and embroidered messages to open up conversations about social justice issues like gender equality.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to work with a client, create an exhibition and explore interactive design.”

Design student Romina Mosalmani used her personal experience as a migrant to shine a light on the challenges faced by refugee women.

“I know from personal experience the kind of everyday racism that migrants and refugees face and I wanted to highlight some of those issues in the work for this exhibition,” she said.

“It was a great opportunity to use my design skills for something that really resonated with me.

Design students Joyce Alberto (left) and Romina Mosalmani

“We were up for the challenge of delivering a message and raising awareness in a really fun, colourful way.”

For fellow design student Joyce Alberto, the project was a chance to gain some valuable industry experience.

“Working to a client brief was a big learning curve, but this project gave us a chance to grow as designers,” she said.

“This tested us in so many different areas — we had to do research, source materials, work to deadline and use our creative skills to create something really important that could be shared with a wider audience.”

Adderton: house & heart of mercy manager Anne-Marie Hammond said the exhibition and workshop program provided an opportunity for local artists, change-makers and design experts to spotlight important social justice issues.

“We encourage visitors to take inspiration from the Women Who Dare exhibition, join in the workshops and activities, and find new ways to speak out, create positive change and dare to make a real difference,” she said.

Six QCA students collaborated on the exhibition:

Joyce Alberto
Jacinta Hickey
Georgia Kelly
Sookyoun Lee
Romina Mosalmani
Noah Yeung

Women Who Dare runs until 3 October at Adderton: house of heart & mercy, 547 Ann St, Brisbane.

5: Gender Equality
UN Sustainable Development Goals 5: Gender Equality