[NetBehaviour] YOUgenics education resource packet now available

Ryan Griffis ryan.griffis at gmail.com
Fri Dec 30 22:46:29 CET 2005


December 30, 2005
An education resource packet for high school teachers, based on the 
exhibition YOUgenics 3.0 at the SAIC's Betty Rymer Gallery, is now 
freely available as a PDF from the YOUgenics website.
For questions and comments about the resource, please email us at:
More information about the resource is below.

The following resource package was designed as an educational project 
to accompany the presentation of the exhibition YOUgenics in the School 
of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Betty Rymer Gallery. Prepared by Amy 
Gerber and Kate Loague, candidates in our Master of Arts in Art 
Education program, this packet is part of the gallery’s educational 
initiative and includes various resource documents, select glossary and 
timeline, as well as suggested lesson plans. Information is based on 
various sources (cited within the packet). Much appreciation is 
extended to curator Ryan Griffis, the exhibiting artists, and the 
faculty and staff at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for 
their insight and guidance.

This packet is meant to respond, primarily, to the artworks and ideas 
presented within the exhibition as a means of furthering the cultural 
dialogue in which these artists engage. It is a complex challenge, and 
the packet emerges not as a “definitive statement” but as a “spring 
board” or “starting point” for further educational inquiry. A list of 
recommended websites is included to encourage additional research and 
to reflect the opportunity for in-depth critical assessment from 
various perspectives.

This packet is intended as a working educational project that examines 
one of many pedagogical approaches to such thematic material. The 
following documents are offered to other educators in the spirit of 
mutual inquiry. It is hoped that fellow educators freely adapt the 
lesson plans to suit their individual needs.

We invite you and your students to experience and explore these complex 
and thought-provoking works of art.

With best regards,
Trevor Martin
Managing Director, Betty Rymer Gallery
Associate Director, Exhibitions and Events 

Who decides which people, animals or plants are valuable in society and 
which are not? Do genes determine this value? Do we have the right to 
control genes? If so, who will be the controller?

YOUgenics 3.0 is an exhibit of contemporary artworks that asks visitors 
to consider the ethical and social issues surrounding genetic research 
and practice. Many of the artists represent perspectives missing from 
the mainstream. From genetically modified foods to stem-cell research, 
the artworks are intended to inspire dialogue and debate about how the 
field of genetics affects our lives.

The title YOUgenics references the American eugenics movement of the 
early 20th century. Eugenicists argued that so-called human traits, 
such as intelligence and “criminality,” were determined biologically 
and transferred from parent to child. Eugenicists aspired to “improve” 
the human race through social engineering: encouraging reproduction 
among the genetically “superior” and preventing reproduction among 
those designated inferior or “unfit.” These categories were subjective 
and reflected the social prejudices of those in power. Although it has 
long been discredited as science, many of the participating YOUgenics 
3.0 artists maintain that the cultural sensibility of eugenics lives 

This guide was created for high school teachers. Our goal is to provide 
a classroom resource that allows students and teachers to critically 
investigate the artwork and issues presented by YOUgenics 3.0. Through 
interactive presentations, group discussions and art-making lessons, 
this guide challenges users to develop their own interpretations. In 
this way, we believe that students may enter into the discussion of 
genetic technologies as critical and active participants.

- Amy Gerber and Kate Loague 

YOUgenics: art interrogating genetic technologies

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