Jennifer Berry

Digital Fabrication for Women's Empowerment

Each evening as I wind down here in the Bay Area, my partners in Nepal begin their work day. Though worlds apart, we have been in such close contact online that I feel a part of me is already there. In just three weeks, the rest of me will catch up, and I will be whole again in Kathmandu.

My residency will culminate in a workshop at Nepal Communitere, a cool makerspace in the heart of a vibrant art and tech zone in the Pulchowk district of Kathmandu. I’ll be leading a group of students and professionals to use digital fabrication to foster economic opportunities for women. The participants range from artists and engineers to entrepreneurs and teachers, with each bringing a passion for social change and valuable skills to support a community.

My practice has historically been to bring science and art together for projects that address environmental justice, and I wasn’t so sure at first that I could take on women’s empowerment as a focus. In researching women’s issues in Nepal, I became curious about what empowerment looks like for the women in my own community. What I’ve learned is that empowerment can’t be taught, but something we must all find in ourselves, and we can only do it within a supportive community.

Like Uroborus, the mythical snake who eats its own tail, empowerment and community are forever entwined: community supports us and must be supported by us. In creating a program for women’s empowerment, I find myself feeling more confident and connected in ways I didn’t know I had in myself.

I’m most excited about the opportunity to connect the participants to one another, and I can’t wait to see what they develop for the open house at the end of the month!



Jennifer Berry

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