Alumna artist helps celebrate outstanding women students at Brandon University

Morganna Malyon shows off the 2023 bookmarks.
Morganna Malyon shows off the 2023 bookmarks.

As Brandon University celebrates some outstanding women students for International Women’s Day, each of those being highlighted will also receive an art memento created by a previous honoree.

“We are so excited to unveil a new tradition this year, one that builds on existing traditions in a meaningful way while also highlighting BU talent,” said Morganna Malyon, a member of BU’s Status of Women Review Committee, which organizes and presents the annual awards as part of Women’s Week and International Women’s Day.

“Each year, we present selected students with a gift card for a local bookstore along with a list of women authors curated by the committee,” she said, noting that the gift cards were initially a pandemic pivot that has now become its own tradition. “This year, we’re adding a custom bookmark, printed with specially commissioned art to reflect the theme of the event: Embracing Equity.”

Chosen to produce the art was BU alumna Nikki Brasseur, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree last year and is pursuing graduate studies in Winnipeg. Last year, she was recognized as an outstanding woman student herself. For this year’s honorees, she created a continuous-line drawing of a group of silhouettes, with 3D watercolour paper flowers placed overtop that appear to be in bloom.

Nikki Brasseur

“Equity involves a collective embrace of the community, and the individuals there-in; that each person has worth and is deserving of fair and just opportunity. When this embrace is realized, the community flourishes,” Brasseur said. “That is why I utilized a continuous line drawing to reference equity that has been embraced, and the flowers to symbolize a flourishing community.”

Brasseur contrasts her approach to the images that were being used for the theme on the International Women’s Day website, which showed many people with their arms crossed, embracing themselves.

“A continuous line is symbolic of relationality,” she said. “If one person in the line falls, we all do. When we Embrace Equity, our community blossoms.”

This year’s awards event will see the community again coming together virtually — a format that was found to permit wider attendance by the women being highlighted, their friends and family, and other members of the BU community.

“We had always done an in-person ceremony before, but it was a real revelation when we switched to a virtual event over the past few years,” Malyon said. “Suddenly families from around the world were able to take part, and it was easier even for our students to attend, when otherwise they might have to commute some distance to campus or give up a shift at work.”

About 25 students are expected to be highlighted at the event, scheduled for Tuesday, March 7 at noon. It will be open to the public and will be recorded and posted on the SWRC website. A Zoom link and details about the honourees will be circulated ahead of the event.

About Nikki Brasseur

Nikki Brasseur (she/her) is a graduate student at the University of Winnipeg in the Cultural Studies program – Curatorial Practices stream. During her B.F.A. Honors at Brandon University, she saw a disparity in the arts sector when it came to accessibility. In achieving her Masters, she hopes to not only address these gaps but challenge the colonial institution by advocating for artists and patrons who exist at the intersections of disability. Through a praxis rooted in ethical imperatives and socially engaged methods of care, she hopes to establish means of access and engagement which engender space and place-making for communities and sectors still struggling to achieve it.

About the BU Status of Women Review Committee

The Status of Women Review Committee (SWRC) was established in 1988 and is a joint committee of the Brandon University Faculty Association and Brandon University. Among its work is an annual recognition of exceptional student leaders who are making outstanding contributions to our community and beyond. This recognition is held in conjunction with International Women’s Day a global day celebrating the economic, politics, and social achievements of women past, present, and future.


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