Campus Life

Being & Becoming: Artist's talk with Chuck Egerton

August 22, 2019


Guilford College Art Gallery and the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies are pleased to present the exhibition, “Being and Becoming: An Inquiry with Bahá’í men into cultures of peace,” in the McMichael Atrium, 2nd floor, Founders Hall on the College campus. A talk by the artist, Chuck Egerton, will be held Thursday, August 22, beginning at 7 p.m. in the East Bauman Gallery, adjacent to the exhibition. Refreshments will be served. Admission to these events is free, and Founders Hall is open to the public daily from 9 am-9 pm. Visitors may park in in any visitor parking space and may also park in spaces designated for students, faculty and staff.

The exhibit emerged in a collaboration between Chuck Egerton, and Dr. Zulfiya Tursunova, chairperson of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at Guilford College. Both studied at the Mauro Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba where Chuck is a currently a PhD Candidate. This event kicks off the Greensboro International Storytelling Festival: Stories for Peace and Justice, a new initiative presented by the Peace and Conflict Studies department at Guilford College, supported by the James Fleming Lecture Series. The goal of the festival is to build cultures of peace through storytelling to enhance global citizenship and social justice in local communities.

Being and Becoming is Chuck Egerton’s doctoral research study and the topic of his nearly completed thesis. Using photographic art-based methods, it accompanied ten Canadian Bahá'í men over two months in a process of deep introspection into their masculinity. The study asked how they know, experience and perform their own masculinities as told through their stories and photographs. Within the spiritual context of the sacred Bahá’í tenet of equality of the sexes, it sought new knowledge about how these men negotiate their masculinities in a world of inequality. What is it to be a man today and attempt to construct “a new understanding of masculinity” working shoulder to shoulder with women in a process of building cultures of peace and justice?

The study practiced a new photographic method Egerton devised called PhotoSophia (light and wisdom) that uses a real-time portrait/interview session asking questions as men studied their own portrait to delve deeper into male self-identity. These portraits, inscribed with the personal thoughts and aspirations of the participants will be on display in the exhibit along with their photovoice photographs. This showing is the first in the United States for the study. Its premier public exhibition was mounted at University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada in September 2018.

Chuck Egerton was selected by the Guilford College Department of Peace and Conflict Studies as the first featured storyteller in the premier Greensboro International Storytelling Festival: Stories for Peace and Justice. An educator, photographer, artist, writer and Peace and Conflict Studies practitioner, he has been a Lecturer in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro since 2016. In pursuit of his art he attained a Bachelor of Fine Art degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Photography at Randolph Community College in Asheboro. He worked as corporate photographer for Nortel in Research Triangle Park. Inspired to life-long learning and to find solutions to human conflict he completed a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) at the University of North Carolina Greensboro in 2013. In 2015 he moved on from Randolph Community College, where he had served as head of the Department of Photographic Technology and taught photography for twenty five years, to start in the PhD program in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba in 2015. Egerton has been a local advocate for social justice based in his identity as a Bahá’í and has designed and co-facilitated workshops and community dialogues aimed at overcoming racism for almost a three decades.

In addition to the exhibit and artist’s lecture Egerton will facilitate a workshop for Guilford Initiate students. Along with a team of Guilford professors including Dr. Tursunova, the workshop will use the PhotoSophia method to delve into self-identity, helping students know themselves, set academic and co-curricular goals and envision career objectives as they begin at Guilford College.