Alexandra Bell, a multidisciplinary artist who has used art to shine a light on racial biases in the media, will deliver Lawrence University’s Winter Term Convocation address at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in Memorial Chapel.

The in-person Convocation is open only to Lawrence students, faculty, and staff due to pandemic protocols but it will be livestreamed at for others to access. A question-and-answer session will immediately follow her address.

Bell holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. It was while at Columbia that she started looking closely at news coverage from major media outlets, noting the ways language and imagery informed and often misdirected conversations about race.

Counternarratives, a public art series launched in New York in 2017, dissected pages of the New York Times. It drew considerable attention to media coverage involving people of color.

The Village Voice wrote in July 2017: “Bell’s public art series … reworks or redacts text from real stories that ran in the New York Times, exposing the long, ongoing tradition of media reliance on stereotypes—itself a print term—in coverage involving people of color. By deploying marginalia, obscuring whole passages with fat black ink, and rewriting headlines, captions, and other text, Bell, who is 34 and a Chicago native, highlights the often overt bias that still survives the editing process. The series is a trenchant questioning of these sometimes baffling choices, made by workers in an industry that prides itself on its fairness, from reporting and writing to photos and layout. Next to her annotations, Bell presents an alternative.”

Bell’s work has been exhibited at numerous galleries across the country. She received the 2018 International Center of Photography Infinity Award in the applied category and is a 2018 Soros Equality Fellow.

The Convocation will include a performance of Form the Fabric by the Lawrence University Flute Ensemble and a postlude by organist Daniel Schwandt.

President Laurie Carter delivered her first Convocation address in September. Read about it here.

The Winter Term Convocation is one of three convocations held each year at Lawrence.