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Worker Health and Art

Worker health has traditionally been thought of as protection from work-related safety hazards like physical dangers. Newer ideas of healthy work have expanded to include diversity and inclusion, equitable pay, paid time off, work-life programs, supportive supervisors, and other policies and support that promote worker well-being. Our sponsor, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has collected a list of issues relevant to advancing worker well-being. View their graphic here.

Art has been historically a means to express ideas and arguments. The Utah Center for Promotion of Work Equity Research (U-POWER) is seeking commissions from undergraduate students at the University of Utah in the arts—visual art, film, music, sculpture, digital art, dance, photography—that explore worker health, work equity, and how the workplace has changed. Commissions will be paid a minimum of $500, depending on project, and will include support for material costs. 

Examples to serve as inspiration:

Labor Arts: a website that presents powerful images to further understanding of the past and present lives of working people.  The site includes curated Exhibits on particular subjects and the Collection, where one can search images from exhibits and other sources.

Artists Honoring COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers 

The Seven Greatest Depictions of the Workplace in Art

58 Pop, Rock, and Country Songs About Working, Jobs, and the Environment

9 Movies about Work to Watch on Labor Day 

How to propose:

If you would like to create a piece on worker health but are uncertain of where to begin, please contact Camie Schaefer ( to discuss possibilities. 

Have an idea of what you'd like to do? To propose a commission, please e-mail Camie Schaefer ( with a 250-word abstract explaining your idea, medium of choice, proposed timeframe to completion, and the name of your faculty advisor. All applications are due by October 31, 2022.


U-POWER will be granted the right to reproduce and display the art commissioned on U-POWER swag, social media platforms, and exhibitions on and off-campus. The artist will retain copyright of the work.