Fund the Change 2019: Ashley Fairbanks


We are thrilled to introduce you to Fund the Change recipient Ashley Fairbanks

Close-up headshot of Ashley Fairbanks

Pronouns: She/Her 








Ashley in her own words…

I started my post-college career developing and designing exhibitions at a major institution. It was an incredible experience, not many people get to do their dream work right out of college. The exhibition I worked on allowed me to spend almost two years doing research into the topics that interested me most: Anishinaabe and Dakota history, modern narratives about the indigenous experience, and more. But as the work was being installed, text that had went through multiple rounds of approval was whitewashed to be less disruptive to the dominant historical narrative.

After that experience, I realized I wouldn’t be able to do the narrative shifting, anti-oppressive work I wanted to do within a major institution. I stopped thinking about my career as a straight path, and started to think about how I build a toolbox of skills that would allow me to do the work I feel called to do: using arts, cultural narratives and organizing to shift power.

Since then I have done a variety of work, but the overall context to me is storyteller.

I’ve worked in politics for over half of my life, I create art installations, I manage social media programs and design brands. Other people see this work as all living in separate silos, but I don’t see the boundaries. It excites and energizes me to do work that crosses through planes of expectation, and brings together knowledge from different sectors to question traditional notions of power.

One of the ways that I engage with people most frequently is through the work I create on social media. I write almost daily on Facebook, sometimes on Medium, and create graphics that are sometimes educational, sometimes just a relief valve.

I miss museum work. But I can’t be in a place where I am all too frequently a statistic on a diversity scorecard, where my lived experience is not seen as an asset.

Let Them Lead diagram from Ashley Fairbanks

We asked Ashley…

How can we support your work?

Back me on Patreon! Follow me on the social media, comment, share, you know the drill.

[See top of post for links.]

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