Not In Our Town project to tell stories of local lives

Christina Lunceford

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Every life has a story. There’s a beginning, an end, and everything in between that makes a person who he or she is.

Not In Our Town Bowling Green would like share the stories of local residents’ lives by putting words and photos together for an exhibit.

“We want to use narratives and storytelling to promote understanding across differences,” said Christina Lunceford, campus co-chair of Not In Our Town. “We are trying to find a way to better tell the story of who’s in our community.”

The Not In Our Town Narrative Project will be modeled after storytelling projects in other communities across the U.S. The purpose is to provide “space for our community to develop understanding of varying world views and lived experiences.”

The photos and stories will tell about the lives of local leaders and everyday people in the community, Lunceford said.

“Who’s got a story to share,” she said.

The idea is that once the photos and narratives are collected, they will be displayed on a BGSU diversity and inclusion webpage, but also be part of a rotating exhibit in the community – in places like the library or storefronts.

“We want to talk about the richness our backgrounds bring,” Lunceford said. “We want to understand how people’s backgrounds and experiences benefit their communities.”

Local people wanting to share their stories or be part of the process of photographing or collecting the narratives are asked to email blazec@bgsu.edu, or fill out this survey to indicate interest. Individuals who would like to share their stories and portraits will be contacted to set up photography sessions and interviews. The interview questions that will help guide personal narratives will be sent out in advance.

By showcasing the various voices that make up the Bowling Green community, the goal is threefold: to celebrate diversity that is in BG through visual arts, to showcase acts of “ally-ship,” and to raise awareness of the experiences of marginalized groups in the community.

The idea for the narrative project comes from the works of Dr. Howard C. Stevenson on racial literacy and inspired by the California Polytechnic State University’s Dr. Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti’s work with the Kennedy Library’s “I am Cal Poly” exhibit and University of California-Santa Barbara’s Dr. Kip Fulbeck’s “Pan Asian, 100% Hapa” traveling exhibit.

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