Margaret Bellafiore is an artist and a professor of art at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. She has never served in the military, but over the last few years, she noticed that some of her students were creating art that included militarized imagery. The students were veterans who had returned home and gone to college, many on the post-9/11 GI bill. “For several years I did not even notice them,” Bellafiore writes in the September-October issue of Academe, because “the 336 veterans who are now students on the Bridgewater State University campus in Massachusetts are almost invisible.”
So Bellafiore decided to investigate what life was like for members of the military on campus. She decided to create an art project featuring interviews with campus veterans. Twelve students responded to her request for interviews, and the final product (which was presented, in different foramts, both on campus and at a Boston gallery) featured unedited audio of the students speaking and photos Bellafiore took of them.
Bellafiore’s full story in Academe, “From Combat to Campus,” includes extensive excerpts from her interviews and her own thoughts on the project and veterans on campus as well. It’s a thoughtful look at students who too often are invisible on campus.