Imagine Otherwise: Elizabeth Walker and Maria Novotny on the ART of Infertility

Imagine Otherwise: Elizabeth Walker and Maria Novotny on the ART of Infertility

August 17, 2016

Maria Novotny wearing a navy dress and Elizabeth Walker wearing a blue dress


Elizabeth Walker and Maria Novotny curate The ART of Infertility, a national art, oral history, and portraiture traveling exhibit. They met through their shared activist, professional, and personal work around infertility.

Maria studies rhetorics of infertility as a graduate student at Michigan State University, and Elizabeth’s first exhibit The ART of IF: Navigating the Journey of Infertility emerged from her own experiences with infertility.

Collaborating over several years, Maria and Elizabeth developed The ART of Infertility. Maria and Elizabeth see themselves then as infertile art activists who challenge what infertility means in popular discourse, politics, and representation. In contrast to the common misogynist refrain that tells women they need to “fix” infertility by becoming mothers, Maria and Elizabeth show how infertility can be something to embrace and a way to form community. Their collaboration and identities as infertile, childfree women has allowed them to collect hundreds of oral history interviews and accumulate nearly 200 pieces of art made by women and men diagnosed with infertility.

People and projects discussed

About Imagine Otherwise

Imagine Otherwise is a podcast about the people and projects bridging art, activism, and academia to build better worlds. Episodes offer in-depth interviews with creators who use culture for social justice, and explore the nitty-gritty work of imagining and creating more just worlds. Check out full podcast episodes and show notes at Imagine Otherwise is hosted by Cathy Hannabach and produced by Ideas on Fire, an academic editing and consulting agency helping progressive, interdisciplinary scholars write and publish awesome texts, enliven public conversations, and create more just worlds.

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