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Announcement
May 18, 2022

Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is Healthcare a White Space?

University of Chicago Arts

Julia Kuo, Candace, 2021. Digital process drawing. Courtesy of the artist.

The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry are proud to present Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is Healthcare a White Space? A special exhibition on view in the Café Logan, 915 E 60th, from April 25 through August 19, 2022.

Participants include Julia Kuo, Elizabeth L. Tung, MD, MS and Monica E. Peek, MD, MPH featuring contributions by Adriana Bellet and Adisa Kareem, along with narratives from local residents.

Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is HealthCare a White Space? is an exhibition that grew out of a Gray Center Fellowship between Illustrator Julia Kuo and University of Chicago physicians and researchers, Monica E. Peek and Elizabeth L. Tung of the Department of Medicine, for a project that considered how illustration might play a role in examining the barriers that distrust and difference can form between patients and their doctors.

Although the project began as a broad examination of barriers to medical treatment due to racial differences and distrust, the collaborators on this fellowship were forced to reconsider their approach in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Independent of this project, Dr. Peek became a leading voice in drawing attention to how racial health disparities only deepened at the onset of the pandemic in the United States as the virus disproportionately impacted Black populations in this country. The trio focused their efforts on these concerns, conducting interviews with and drawing portraits of individuals who identify as Black whose life and/or health has been adversely affected by Covid-19.

“White people typically avoid black space,” says Elijah Anderson, a sociologist at Yale. “But Black people are required to navigate the white space as a condition of their existence.” The Covid-19 pandemic has accentuated racial health inequities and illuminated the role of structural racism in unprecedented ways. As America has grappled with the ways in which healthcare is experienced differently among Black Americans, the team conducted a series of interviews with Black patients and doctors to ask the question: Is healthcare fundamentally a white space?

This exhibition features the narratives of four Black Chicagoans as they navigated health and healthcare during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The topics at hand—Black maternal mortality, lack of access to prescription drugs, a higher burden of underlying medical conditions, and limited representation in the healthcare workforce—all existed before the pandemic began. But the pandemic exposed and complicated these issues, offering a glimpse into the intangible space between Black and White experiences of healthcare in the United States. Viewers are invited to contemplate, in particular, the juxtaposition between a common threat and uncommon burden.

Live storytelling on Black resilience and Covid-19
Wednesday, May 25, 6:30–8pm
Café Logan, 915 E 60th Street,
Free and open to the public
This is a community-focused storytelling event where a storyteller can share a five-minute story on their obstacles or triumph accessing healthcare with doctors and healthcare providers, especially during the pandemic.

Sign up in person at the event or beforehand by emailing us: arts [​at​] uchicago.edu.

Eight storytellers will be picked from a hat and have five minutes to tell the audience their story. Open also to poetry, spoken word, and other forms of artistic storytelling. Please, stay within the time frame and stick to the theme. A story should have a beginning, middle, and end. Each chosen participant will receive a 40 USD gift card.

Exhibition hours
Monday through Friday, 8am–9pm
Saturday and Sunday, noon–8pm.

Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is Healthcare a White Space? is sponsored by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, the Logan Center for the Arts, and UChicago Arts. The exhibition is conceived and organized by Julia Kuo, Dr. Monica Peek, and Dr. Elizabeth L. Tung in coordination with Zachary Cahill, Juelle Daly, Leigh Fagin, and Mike Schuh.

Press contact: Mike Schuh, Gray Center Assistant Director of Fellowships and Operations, at mikes1 [​at​] uchicago.edu.

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