‘The Bias Inside Us’ Smithsonian exhibit coming to Evanston Public Library April 9-May 8

The Bias Inside Us logoThe Evanston Public Library announced today, Friday, March 11, that it will host the “The Bias Inside Us” from Saturday, April 9, through Sunday, May 8, 2022. The community engagement project from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) will raise awareness about the social science and psychology of implicit bias, the impact of this bias and what people can do about it.

“The Bias Inside Us” features a traveling exhibition that serves as the centerpiece for local programs and activities. Through compelling images, hands-on interactives and powerful testimonials and videos, the exhibition unpacks and demystifies the concept of bias. The exhibition features six sections: Introduction, The Science of Bias, Bias in Real Life, Serious Consequences—Bias is All Around Us, #RetrainYourBrain and Personal Reflection. 

Visitors will explore the foundational blocks of bias, the psychology of how it forms, and how it influences behaviors both consciously and unconsciously. Interactive elements display how implicit and explicit bias show up in the world and how bias influences systems and policies that have consequences for many people and communities. One interactive experience invites visitors to think about how bias is reflected in product design, advertising, architecture and technology. Among the videos in the exhibition is a series that features eight voices from diverse perspectives sharing personal experience with bias. 

Woman visiting The Bias Inside Us exhibit

The exhibition also features Spanish photographer Angélica Dass’ Humanae project, which reflects on the color of skin that challenges the concept of race. In this work, Dass documents humanity’s true colors through portraits, rather than the labels “white,” “red,” “black” and “yellow.” 

In addition to the exhibition itself, the Evanston Public Library along with partners, YWCA Evanston, and Kids Create Change, will host a series of events throughout the Evanston community to explore issues of bias more personally: 

  • On Saturday afternoons throughout the duration of the exhibit, Kids Create Change will be on site to host a Community Art Build Workshop for all ages. Join us to create a community art project based on the ideas in the exhibit “The Bias Inside Us.” No prior art experience necessary. Register for the April 23, April 30, or May 7 workshops.  
  • On the third Wednesday of each month, the YWCA hosts “Let’s Talk @ Lunch” as an opportunity to talk through the issue of racism, instead of around it. View the “The Bias Inside Us” exhibit and join the YWCA Equity Institute at noon on Wednesday, April 20, to reflect on the content and concepts in “The Bias Inside Us.” More info.
  • Just as a book is more than its cover, a person is deeper than your first impression. Go deep with someone unlike yourself at the Human Library. Talk to real people in a one-on-one 30-minute conversation from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 24, and practice the motto of the Human Library, “Unjudge someone.” More info.
  • Consciously or not, all of us carry biases toward individuals or groups. In this interactive Bias & Accountability Workshop, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2, we’ll explore how bias shows up in and around us, shaping the world we live in and our interactions with one another. Participants will learn how to name what is implicit and step into accountability in order to manage bias in themselves and the places they live and work. Hosted by the YWCA Equity Institute. More info.

“Bias is part of being human,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “Our goal through ‘The Bias Inside Us’ is to help individuals understand and counter their implicit bias and help communities thrive through conversation and greater understanding.” 

“The Bias Inside Us” draws from the scientific research and educational work by psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji of Harvard University and Anthony G. Greenwald, professor emeritus at the University of Washington. They defined the term “implicit bias” through their work on unconscious and conscious mental processes. Their book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (Delacorte Press, 2013) explores the biases people carry based on their exposure to cultural attitudes on areas such as gender, race, social class and disability status.Major support for “The Bias Inside Us” is provided by the Otto Bremer Trust. Additional support provided by Acton Family Giving, Anonymous donors, The Beverly Foundation, Steve and Sheri Lear, Target, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, Thomson Reuters, Alabama Power Foundation, Allianz of America, Valerie E. and William A. Anders, Atlanta Gas Light Foundation, Julie and David Burton, the Dreier Family, Lennart Ehn and Ginger Lew, Expedia, Trevor and Melissa Fetter, the Roger S. Firestone Foundation, Brenda J. Gaines, Myra Hart and Kent Hewitt, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, Judy and Bob Huret, Dr. Christine C. Jenkins and Mr. Pierre A. France, KNOCK, inc., Sarah Lawer and Frank Guanco, Leaders Forum, Kathleen Mason, Elyse Rabinowitz and Jim Porter, Dr. Philip S. and Alice Hoolihan Randall, Gloria del C. Rodriguez, the Family of Leona Roen, and Naoma Tate.

“The Bias Inside Us” is based on an original concept developed by Tolerance in Motion: Steve Lear, Laura Zelle and Elyse Rabinowitz, founders; Ellen Glatstein, Laura Lipshutz, Alice Randall, Joanne Jones-Rizzi and Susan Shapiro, directors; Don Shelby, founding advisor; and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Steve Hunegs, executive director.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.  For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

Admission to “The Bias Inside Us” and all additional activities and programming is free and open to the entire community. 

The exhibition will be open from Saturday, April 9, through Friday, May 8, 2022, during regular Library hours, 10 a.m. to 8  p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, at the Main Library, 1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston. No registration is required to view the exhibition.

Donate your yarn!

We need yarn for the community art project happening in tandem with “The Bias Inside Us.” If you have yarn scraps to spare, bring them to the second floor desk of the Main Library now through April 8, 2022.


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