Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.
Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, Daring Greatly, 2012
For this, our second of three shows in the About Vulnerability exhibition series, we turn our attention to CSW Faculty & Staff Reflections on our yearlong theme. Our exhibition presents 18 individuals from various school-wide departments who responded to the call to “share something they have made or otherwise selected that highlights any aspect of vulnerability."
CSW Faculty & Staff Reflections—About Vulnerability is an exhibition that, like a rare flower that blooms only too briefly, will last only as long as the remainder of this module. It opens Friday, February 28, and runs through Friday, March 6, 2020—it lasts but one week. We hope you will return often during this short time period to reexamine the work on display that sheds light on a great many aspects of our theme.
Author Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, points out that each of us has gifts that only we can contribute. When we engage with our gifts and allow them “to be seen” the “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure,” and the “vulnerability we experience,” she affirms, “is not a weakness”:
When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.
Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be—a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation—with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.
In the checklist booklets below, visitors to the gallery will find information about each contribution on display and an accompanying statement expressing the rationale behind why it was selected. Visitors will notice many independent themes and several overlapping or shared themes in the room:
ephemeral things/ephemeral moments
steadfast humanity under vulnerable conditions
the risk of exposure
venturing into the unknown
play and shared experience
changes in the landscape and climate
Seven of our contributors are veteran exhibitors who teach in one of the Expressive Art’s disciplines. Eleven individuals from across the school present despite uneasy feelings of a lack of experience in one way or another with exhibiting. All participants feel their contribution “sheds light,” and each individual embraced the challenge to select something of interest. Each contributor embraced the opportunity to collectively reflect upon the nature of what it means to be susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. Their collective contributions, in turn, are empowering examples of community engagement. We invite you to reach out to the contributors about the work on display. Engage with them regarding your observations, and the theme of vulnerability.
Todd Bartel, Gallery Director
 Brené C. Brown, Daring Greatly, Avery (Penguin Random House), New York, NY, 2012, p. 2.