Thursday, August 29, 2013

East St. Louis and the Humanities

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, N 9th Street & Summit, East St. Louis

How might we utilize the arts, humanities, and technology to enhance views and engagements with East St. Louis?

That question has been driving my imagination, research, and planning activities for the last few months. Between August 2007 and May 2013, my public programming energies were primarily devoted to directing the Black Studies Program at SIUE. We did projects beyond the university, including exhibits in East St. Louis, but for the most part, our projects were often based on campus.

Moving forward, my work with the East St. Louis Action Project will provide me opportunities to engage the city in more active ways. Given my experiences with literary, humanities, and digital humanities projects, we'll seek out ways to apply those fields to our work on and in East St. Louis. We're working with a group of residents, writers, graphic designers, photographers, artists, students, and teachers to think about and produce compositions featuring East St. Louis.

In the meantime, I'm starting to write about the city on a more regular basis. My writings will appear here and over on Andrew Theising's site. I've been consistently thinking and talking with people about the ongoing histories of East St. Louis for about a decade now. I'm excited to finally start sharing observations and reporting on projects.

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