Inaugural Linda Stein Upstander Award seeks pro-justice artists, researchers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At a time when a pandemic is aggravating existing global inequity and social unrest persists following lethal acts of systemic racism, a new award challenges applicants: “What does it take to summon the courage to be an Upstander? What are the ways academic writing might inspire action?”

Justice activists from around the world whose artistic or scholarly work promotes upstander activities are encouraged to apply for the first Linda Stein Upstander Award, administered through Penn State University Libraries. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2021.

The award’s purpose is “to inspire publishable research that promotes upstander actions for justice, on either the micro-level (i.e., everyday bullying, teasing, ostracizing) or macro-level (i.e., state sponsored, systemic), from archival research with the Linda Stein Art Education Collection” in the University Libraries’ Eberly Family Special Collections Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus.

Applicants — including art historians, artists, educators, curators, critics, writers, academics, students and scholars — should have specific plans to research archival materials from the Linda Stein Art Education Collection.

The annual recipient will receive $1,500 and a framed certificate at a public award ceremony, and will have full access to Penn State’s Linda Stein Art Education Collection and Stein’s digital archives at Smith College, as well as her websites and The award winner’s resulting work will be published in ScholarSphere, Penn State’s online institutional repository managed by the University Libraries.

The Linda Stein Upstander Award honoring Joyce and Diane Froot was endowed by Diane Froot to honor her late mother, Joyce. An online legacy statement describes Joyce Froot and Linda Stein’s friendship spanning nearly five decades and Joyce’s active collection of Stein’s artwork. During her lifetime, Joyce Froot also served as a mediator, helping others to resolve personal conflicts, according to the statement.

“My archives elucidate how my work is attuned to marginalized voices, and how it scrambles dominant narratives to speak truth to power,” Stein said.

Stein‘s art and educational initiatives explore social justice, and the dichotomies of power/vulnerability, masculinities/femininities, and war-making/peacemaking. Her online artist statement notes that these themes were initially influenced by her experiences of displacement after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, then by global displacement themes from the Holocaust, followed by sexism and related topics.

Last Updated April 15, 2021