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Above: Portraits of VCU, UR and CHAT students, shown in alphabetical order.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Course Title: Social Practice in the Museum

Funded through a VCU Community Engagement grant and co-taught by professors and museum professionals Traci Garland and Michael Lease, the fall 2014 service learning course Social Practice in the Museum brought together twelve students from the VCUarts departments of Art History and Photography & Film, each of whom contributed his or her unique skills and creative talents to this project.

We began by considering the myriad ways that contemporary artists have created socially-engaged art, and then turned research into practice. Our intention was to craft a multi-media exhibition with our project partners that tells the story of Church Hill—and its past, present, and future—through the lives of its residents.

We worked with Church Hill Academy students and engaged with our partners to learn more about what this project has meant to them. In doing so, we formed our own community—a multi-faceted group of university and high school students, professional mentors, artists, teachers, volunteers and residents.

Students: Jennifer Bade, Steven Casanova, Whitney Cole, Liesa Collins, Emily Driver, Jessica Evans, Micaela Gore, Kiersten Koenig, Dominique Munoz, Maggie O’Connor, Carson Parris, Faith Witherspoon

Class Blog

Throughout the semester, VCU students– as part of the service learning aspect of the course– were required to draft regular self-reflective blog posts.

Visit blog (Coming Soon)

University of Richmond

Course Title: Archiving Richmond

This past fall University of Richmond professors Patricia Herrera and Laura Browder collaboratively taught the course Archiving Richmond, with the collaboration of Lynda Kachurek, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boatwright Library. Our students worked with youths at CHA to conduct community interviews, do archival research at the Valentine, and create poems about the Church Hill community. 

To gain residents’ perspectives we hosted “history harvests” at the East District Family Resource Center and the East End Fellowship. Members of Fourth Baptist Church gave generously of their time, memories and insights during two afternoons of conversation, and leaders of the Better Housing Coalition offered us valuable background on the changes in the neighborhood. We also hosted a community dialogue, moderated by Hope in the Cities, that brought together political representatives, community organizers, business owners, longtime residents, and faith leaders, among others. To learn more, visit our digital archive thefightforknowledge.org.

Students: Ama Ansah, Alan Corbett, Tom Emmons, Hayley Gray-Hoehn, Brendan O’Connor, Miranda Rosenblum, Arthur Tartee

Church Hill Academy Students: Robert Brickell, Ja’Taisha Coates, Donnisha Daniels, Franiqua Davis, Na’jir Dipasalegne, NeeCee Kittrell, Dezhane Lurk, Deloris Miles, Atysheyona Nash