Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thinking About Urban Spaces

Our ongoing series “Thinking about Urban Spaces” involves Black Studies participants in the production of mixed media exhibits and a series of blog posts concerning artistic interpretations, documentary work, and social commentary related to cities. The project is specifically designed to raise awareness about black American engagements with urban spaces and to provide multiple perspectives for understanding cities.

Our first audio-visual exhibit, “14 Ways of Thinking about New York City” took place on September 1 and 2 and showcased raps and poems by black studies contributors Dometi Pongo, Joy Howze, and Cassaundra Sampson based on their experiences in NYC. Shelley Houk and I provided respective commentary about listening in the city and visiting Strand Bookstore.

Our next exhibit “14 Ways of Thinking about Chicago” will take place on Oct. 11 from 9 – 11 and October 12 from 10 – 12 in the Eugene B. Redmond Room in Lovejoy Library. The exhibit will feature new selections by Pongo, Howze, Sampson, and Houk. The exhibit will also include maps and photographs based on Chicago.

In November, we’ll organize another exhibit “14 Ways of Thinking about East St. Louis.” More information to follow.

At the moment, our series of exhibits are exploratory, which is to say we’re still discovering what it means to produce and share knowledge about New York City, Chicago, and East St. Louis in order to enhance views of how groups of people engage cities.

We’re wondering: What are the benefits of encouraging students to think about urban spaces from multiple perspectives, and how can raps and poems about cities by SIUE students build cultural knowledge and creativity skills? What can documentary work and social commentary about cities teach us? How can we use maps and photographs to better enhance how people understand and appreciate African American engagements with urban spaces?

Our exhibits over the next few months might assist us in coming to some answers.

Related posts:
C.H.I. to N.Y. Part II
NYC: A Dreamer's Playground
This NYC Journey (2010)
we do black studies

We extend a special thanks to the folks at SIUE’s Institute for Urban Research for serving as a source of funding, guidance, and motivation for our pursuit of this project.

No comments: