THE BIAS INSIDE US: Traveling Smithsonian Exhibit Coming to Pablo Center
Eau Claire arts venue was among two statewide facilities to host new exhibit about the basis of bias
When it comes to our internal biases, we often don’t think about why we think the way we think. The Bias Inside Us exhibit shows us the science behind how we think, but – more importantly – it shows us how we can change our own preconceptions.
The Bias Inside Us – an exhibition exploring the social psychology of implicit bias – is slated to hit The Pablo Center's James W. Hansen Gallery from 10am to 2pm beginning Feb. 26 to March 27.
The exhibit has been in the works since 2015 when Laura Zelle – project manager for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service – was inspired by the traveling educational group Tolerance in Motion and The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Bias is an innate human trait, and we all have it.
Much of what goes on in our minds is automatic without our conscious knowledge. So because you don't have control over these firings, it can affect your preferences for people and groups.
“Bias is an innate human trait, and we all have it,” Zelle said. “Much of what goes on in our minds is automatic without our conscious knowledge. So because you don’t have control over these firings, it can affect your preferences for people and groups. These preferences can be positive and negative, which can lead to prejudices. It’s really a self-reflection narrative pass in this exhibition.”
The Bias Inside Us first opened in the Science Museum in Minnesota and will travel throughout the Midwest in the coming months. The transportation, set-up, and admission to the exhibit are all free and provided by The Smithsonian.
Zelle describes this exhibit as a community engagement project, which means it is meant to help facilitate conversations about bias circling throughout the community. This is one of the main reasons that Eau Claire was selected to host it.
“This is really about people coming in and learning how their brain works,” Zelle said. “The strength of it coming to Eau Claire is evident in the partnerships they have pulled together. They have the Pablo Center, the school district, UWEC. It’s really a testament to the community in Eau Claire that brings this (here). They’re not backing away from the self-reflection piece.”
And it was a collaborative effort that made it possible to bring the exhibit to Eau Claire, according to Robin Miller, associate professor at UW-Eau Claire and academic librarian at McIntyre Library. Miller helped coordinate community events to go along with the exhibit, as well.
On March 1, an online discussion about the book Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Stanford University psychologist Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt is slated. Free copies of the book will be available by contacting Miller (email@example.com), with additional copies available to check out from the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. You may also purchase the book from Dotters Books. The discussion will explore the scientific basis of biases and how to change them.
“UW-Eau Claire is a very excited and enthusiastic partner because this is a fantastic learning experience,” Miller said. “We are so excited to be able to bring this experience to the community. It will be great for students.”
Braille transcription of The Bias Inside Us will be available upon exhibit entry. A virtual exhibit is accessible with screen readers. People who are blind or visually impaired may contact Robin Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anna Zook at email@example.com to arrange a tour of the exhibit. Miller and Zook have received audio transcriber training from Kathie Schneider.