Photo by William White

By Nan Eileen Mead, MA

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Journal of Engaged Research (JoER), a publication of Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC). SPEC opened its doors in June 2020 to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and social injustice facing their communities. Our mission “is to empower individuals to become globally-minded change agents by helping them learn the essential skills required to build sustainable careers and make a positive impact in their communities.”

As an extension of SPEC, the JoER functions as a learning and service space, where everyone who participates (from editors to writers)…


By Anthony Alterio

Untitled, №56 is part of a series of 100 Dance Films made by LGTBQIA+ activist, choreographer, educator, and dancer Anthony Alterio (he/him/his). 56 was inspired by Alterio’s upbringing within American Italian Catholic culture. This intersectionality of identities played a part of how Alterio had navigated the world at a young age, often hiding or “playing” straight. As he grew up however, a revolutionary reckoning of self-acceptance caused Alterio to go down the path that he is on today. A path of advocacy, a path of storytelling, and fighting for social justice. 56 not only embodies Alterio’s story but is also a tribute to all in the LGBTQIA+ who feel societal pressures to conform or give up. Representation matters, support matters, and we all must move forward together as a community leaving no one behind.


By Boris M. Torres

In 2019, I saw a portrait that Joaquín Sorolla had painted of his children at the Sorolla Museum in Madrid, and I was very moved by it. The painting glowed with love. I thought about how wonderful it is for me to be a dad, and how lucky I am to be having the experience of fathering my two children. In that moment, in front of Sorolla’s portraits, I also realized that I had never seen a painting in a public art space like a museum or a gallery that represented a family like mine, a…


By Fernando Vieira

Unlabeled is a reflexive documentary that explores the boundaries of masculinity and femininity within one person, challenging the established relationship between sex and gender. The author discusses how these different personas first emerged, the type of relationships that they have with different types of people, and how these personalities have come to clash.


By Samo Shalaby

This photographic / interview project blurs lines across gender, culture, identity, and sexuality. It explores the queer experience from a culturally oppressive and haunting perspective, visualizing how through the art of shapeshifting and transformation, I found power in myself through other selves. A man named Youssef El Sayed has joined me to share his stories and his monsters. Discussing our Egyptian journeys, on where they differed and where they met. These photographs are a visual reaction to all the monstrosities we experienced, a way to reclaim, define, and own ourselves.


By Patrick Webb

I first came across the humorous and deadly serious figure of Punchinello in 1989 at the Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice in the frescoes and drawings of G.D. Tiepolo. I was immediately attracted to Punchinello. His phallic red nose and white hat struck me with their sexual provocativeness. His mask not only disguised him but marked him as an outsider. I realized that Punchinello, the trickster or fool from the Italian theatrical tradition of the Commedia dell’Arte could become the protagonist for my contemporary queer narratives.

My version of Punchinello is distinctly different from that found in the…


By Shan Kelley

Shan Kelley(b.1977) was raised in the prairie backdrop of Alberta, Canada’s beef and petroleum heartland. His work sits amidst a slippage of intersections between art and activism. In his fascination with language, Kelley uses text as material, to scrutinize the manner in which relationships to self, identity, body, and power are deconstructed, created, and curated.
After an HIV+ diagnosis in 2009, he became increasingly inspired to find his voice within the context of disease and adversity, and to push forward using art as action against apathy or surrender.

5 x 7 in. photo transfer, oil, acrylic, semen, hair, resin, 2015


The Buffalo Project in partnership with Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC) and SUNY Empire State College proudly presents the exhibition Identity Speaks: LGBTQ+ Art and Community.

The goal of this digital gallery show is to share LGBTQ+ art, in its broadest interpretive sense, into a unique gallery viewing experience. We sought artwork that expresses authentic and diverse viewpoints from LGBTQ+ communities and the artist’s position within it.

Identity Speaks: LGBTQ+, Art, and Community, focuses on art as a way of helping create intercultural competencies/understanding and its impact on art and art-making for LGBTQ+ artists. We are interested in varied artistic approaches to LGBTQ+ identity, relationships, community, position in societies, and the widespread injustices against them. Our hope is to showcase LGBTQ+ arts and culture in Higher Education as well as represent cultural diversity and inspire dialogue around social activism and resilience.


By Ben Cuevas

Year: 2014
Dimensions: Variable
Description: These photos document a performance where the artist sat nude in a gallery for the duration of a 40-hour work week, knitting a nude-toned bodysuit. As a queer, non-binary person, assigned male at birth, Cuevas inserts their male-coded queer body into a temporal, work-oriented, space while performing an activity often associated with craft, femininity, and woman’s work. This queering of gender and work asks the viewer to question and reevaluate gendered hierarchies of art and craft, work and action, time and space.

Journal of Engaged Research

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