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Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center

Wilmington Archives Project

Overview

Wilmington Archives Project 2017

Wilmington Archives Project (WAP) explores experiential learning and community-building through the collaborative exchange of knowledge, resources and networks between UD faculty and the community-based organizations in Wilmington, Delaware. Designed to expand the capacity for digital pedagogy and the public humanities at UD, WAP has launched six courses during its pilot phase in Spring and Fall of 2018 in partnerships with 1) the Wilmington 1968 coalition, 2) the community advocates of the Southbridge neighborhood, and 3) The Creative Vision Factory.

With the benefit of close contact and exchange with our Wilmington partners, the students in these courses have created video shorts and oral histories in the form of digital storytelling, and developed digital archives with catalog records, maps and exhibits. These outcomes have provided hands-on learning experience for the students, with the added intention of creating resources for our community collaborators and the public for research and advocacy.

WAP also organized summer workshops on digital media (lead by Nico Carver, UD Library) and community mapping (lead by Tim Stallmann, Research Action Design) with the community organizers, cultural and social services administrators, and the writers and artists of Wilmington. With the additional support by Partnership for Arts and Culture (PAC), the artists of the CVF joined the project as registered students for Art & Sociology, taught by Anne Bowler.

People

David Kim is a Visiting Assistant Professor in digital humanities and the Project Manager of the Colored Conventions Project, is the Lead Coordinator of the project. His research and teaching interests include race and gender in the US, new media studies, and the community-based archives of minoritarian cultures. Prior to Delaware, he was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Occidental College where he co-developed and taught courses for the Center for Digital Liberal Arts, Critical Theory/Social Justice and History.  Alongside of his academic work, he has developed numerous digital archives projects with cultural institutions in New York and Los Angeles.

Michael Kalmbach  is co-coordinating the Wilmington Archives Project with David Kim.  Michael received his MFA at the University of Delaware in 2008. Shortly after graduation he accepted a position at the Delaware College of Art & Design, and founded the New Wilmington Art Association, an organization that organized exhibitions of contemporary art in Wilmington’s vacant retail spaces from August 2008 to April 2013. This work led to Michael’s involvement with the Chris White Community Development Corporation, which developed the 23-unit artist live/work space, Shipley Lofts. Kalmbach served the CWCDC as Board Chairman from 2013-2016. In June 2011 he accepted a contract with the State’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to develop and direct an art program in downtown Wilmington. The Creative Vision Factory has been open since December of 2011, and fosters the creative potential of individuals on the behavioral health spectrum in a studio art environment that cultivates integration with the community through a program of exhibitions, workshops, and communal work space.   Kalbach is the founder/director of the Creative Vision Factory in Wilmington, DE.

McKay Jenkins, Tilghman Professor, English Environmental Journalism (ENGL 409)

The course will engage students in a series of journalism projects designed to explore and understand complex environmental and social issues in both urban and rural settings. For our urban project, we will focus on South Wilmington to try to understand the effect of climate change and rising sea levels on low-income neighborhoods, using both journalism and oral histories to record residents’ perspectives on these difficult issues.

Margaret Winslow, Curator of Contemporary Art, Delaware Art Museum The 1968 Occupation of Wilmington in Pictures (Africana Studies, AFRA 205)

Race riots erupted throughout the United States in the long, hot summer of 1967, but the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, escalated demonstrations as the country mourned the loss of the civil rights leader. Following the response, National Guard troops occupied Wilmington, Delaware for nine months—the longest occupation of a United States city—until newly-elected Governor Russell W. Peterson was sworn into office the following January. The National Guard’s prolonged presence in the city left an indelible mark on Wilmingtonians, one that has been previously visited but not thoroughly examined. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of this important historical moment, this course will survey primary documents that recorded the nine month occupation. Utilizing the recently discovered News Journal photographs of the occupation, archival materials from the Delaware Historical Society, various media coverage—newspapers and film—of the events, and oral history accounts, students will engage in a visual investigation of the incidents preceding, during, and following the occupation as a means to understand the impact of this incident on the Wilmington community today.

Anne Bowler, Associate Professor, Sociology and Criminal Justice Sociology of Art and Culture (SOCI/MCST 449)

This course provides students with a sociological lens for understanding the arts in society. In a typical semester it is organized around a series of substantive themes (e.g., art and revolution, the social construction of high versus low culture, public controversies in the arts) through which students are introduced to core theoretical concepts and perspectives in arts sociology. For the Creative Wilmington/Digital Pedagogy semester, the course would focus on Wilmington’s Creative Vision Factory. The course would engage students in the creation of a living history of the organization that would include a digital archive of members’ work, artist biographies, and a broader sociological account of CVF that places its founding and day-to-day functioning in the context of socioeconomic issues related to deindustrialization, institutional changes in the social response to cognitive and psychological disability, and community-based art worlds.

Victor Perez, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Criminal Justice Environment and Health (SOCI 335)

This course’s foundation is embodied health social movements (EHM), which examines the social processes of how community members come to understand the impact of local environmental burdens on their health. It explores the basic principles of ethnographic research and citizen-science alliances, and also deeply explores how alternative forms of knowledge (e.g., anecdotal experience) can complement traditional forms of scientific, epidemiological evidence. The digital components of this course include: 1) interactive, “impact mapping” that shows geo-spatially coded areas where people experience environmental burdens; 2) interactive, “impact mapping” that shows Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) data on environmental burdens in that area; 3) digital storytelling in the form of interviews in the areas where people experience environmental burdens (these videos can be included in the maps).

David Teague, Professor, English, Associate in Arts Program Creative Writing: Wilmington StoryCorp (ENGL 227)

Working from the NPR Story Corps model, “Listen, Honor, Share,” students in this class will work in conjunction with the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, the West Center City Stabilization Initiative, Wilmington Parks and Recreation, Creative Vision Factory, and the Wilmington Police Department, to collect, document, curate, and publish the microhistories, block by block, of West Center City Wilmington. Our axes will include, but not be limited to: narrative, photography, visual art, landscape and garden customs, and foodways.

Media