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Baltimore Stories: Narrative 4 Story Exchange
11/15/16 - 7:00 PM

Baltimore Stories: Narrative 4 engages a group of Baltimore high school students and Baltimore first responders in a structured story exchange as a way to break down barriers and increase empathy.

1/11/17 - 2:00 PM

The College of Arts and Humanities and Maryland Humanities presented Pulitzer Prize-winning author-historians Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson in conversation with Sherrilyn Ifill.

Baltimore Stories Events Highlight Video

Highlights from the Baltimore Stories project. The initiative was a year long project of 20 events used to promote empathy through the sharing of stories and narratives. 
The Bal...

The College of Arts and Humanities and Maryland Humanities presented Pulitzer Prize-winning author-historians Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson in conversation with Sherrilyn Ifill.

POET & MACARTHUR GENIUS CLAUDIA RANKINE VISITS UMD FOR 2016-17 WORLDWISE ARTS AND HUMANITIES DEAN'S LECTURE SERIES

Claudia Rankine read from her acclaimed book "Citizen" and spoke about the relationships between race, art and citizenship.

The Center for Synergy in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) has received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund “Home Stories,” a digital storytelling project that empowers migrant youth to create and share their stories with the wider public.

The award is part of NEH’s inaugural Humanities Access grants, which provide cultural programming to underserved groups and were awarded to 34 organizations. The grant is designed to encourage fundraising and sustainability of ongoing programming.

The project co-directors are Ana Patricia Rodríguez, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Sheri Parks, associate dean of research, interdisciplinary scholarship and programming and associate professor of American studies.

The project responds to the growing number of often-unaccompanied migrant youth who travel to the U.S.-Mexico border and eventually seek to reunite with families, relatives or friends who live in the long-standing Central American communities near the University of Maryland. These newcomers navigate multiple identities but rarely have the opportunity to reflect on or share these experiences. Despite the scale of youth migration to this area, there is little research or ethnographic work generated about or by these youth.

“We are living in a historical moment where there is an explosion in migration,” says Rodríguez.  “Digital storytelling is a way of uncovering these stories and making them accessible to a wider public, and it is something that anyone can learn.”

“Home Stories” extends the Center for Synergy’s ongoing Social Innovation Scholars Program into the public humanities. Through the project, undergraduate students at the University of Maryland will enroll in a multi-semester course with Rodríguez to learn about the migrant experience while collaborating with migrant youth from local middle and high schools to explore digital storytelling.  Digital stories are multimedia movies that combine voiceovers, video, sound and text to create a narrative. Both in and out of the classroom, they are a tool for not only developing technical skills, but also promoting self-reflection and critical thinking.

“The project is a way of connecting students who have the technological skills with migrant youth in communities who have important stories to tell,” says Rodríguez.  “Digital storytelling is a democratizing tool that allows these stories to be created and shared across communities.”

The project will work with youth in local schools that enroll large numbers of recently arrived migrant youth from Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean and culminates in a community screening of the filmed stories these youth produce, which will then be available on a public website.

“The humanities help us study our past, understand our present, and prepare for our future,” says NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to support projects that will benefit all Americans and remind us of our shared human experience.”

 

Image Credit:
Close up of Child Migrant Quilt Project (September 2014)
© Ana Rosa Ventura-Molina 2014

Message from the Dean: ARHU “Year in Review” and the U.S. presidential election.

Dear Colleagues:

It is fortuitous that we’re releasing the College of Arts and Humanities’ (ARHU) annual “Year in Review” the week after the most startling U.S. presidential election in recent history. The election laid bare yawning divisions among us and has elicited deeply-felt emotions of anger, fear, pain and exaltation. People on all sides of this chasm, nationally and locally, are actively engaged in trying to understand and find meaning in these events and discern approaches for moving forward.

This moment presents an exceptional opportunity for me to remind everyone in our community—students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends—of the tremendous value and expertise that the arts and humanities offer society. Through our fields we have the talent and knowledge to analyze, interpret and contextualize these events as both a product of U.S. history and culture and as part of the broad sweep of human civilization.  

Our historians, philosophers and rhetoricians interrogate the narrative arc of the divisive national conversation and its ethical implications. They provide insight into the immense power of words and the burdens of the past. Students and scholars in the visual and performing arts explore creative ways to express feelings of thrill and despair and do so in ways that can bring people together to see and hear one another and to help soothe their pain.

Those who study languages and culture along with those in the multidisciplinary fields of women’s, American, and LGBT studies engage issues of identity, belonging and cultural expression. They are equipped to put into context the pressing challenges of inclusion, communication across cultures and the imperatives of respect for difference.

This report provides multiple examples of the wealth of resources we can draw upon in these challenging times. They offer reassurance and encouragement. I invite you to join me in celebrating the outstanding successes and accomplishments of our community and in utilizing them to help us create new accomplishments in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Thornton Dill

Professor and Dean, College of Arts and Humanities

View PDF here. 


By Dina Shafey Scott & Diana Guelespe

Scholars from around the country whose research focuses on the lived experiences of historically underrepresented minority (URM) groups gathered this past summer for the 2nd Annual Intersectional Qualitative Research Methods Institute (IQRMI), held at the University of Maryland (UMD). Organized by UMD’s Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CRGE), the week-long institute brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars with one common interest— to research critical social problems using an intersectional approach. 

This year 20 scholars attended a series of daily interactions, seminars and post-institute activities focused on enhancing qualitative research and writing skills, developing critical intersectional perspectives for designing and interpreting research and developing navigational skills to successfully negotiate academic career paths. Scholars represented a variety of academic disciplines, and discussed the importance of integrating the arts and humanities into their research to address social justice issues.

“Understanding privilege requires that we see that all oppression has a starting point and is based in history,” said Nishaun T. Battle, assistant professor of sociology and criminal Justice at Virginia State University.

Battle has worked on understanding and promoting social justice for ‘at risk’ juveniles and spoke of her cross-disciplinary partnership with the humanities.

“I have worked and collaborated with women’s studies and history professors and draw from the work of Elsa Barkley Brown, history and women’s studies professor at Maryland,” said Battle.

Sponsored by the New Connections Program, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Maryland Population Research Center, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at UMD, the institute offers training that uniquely focuses on qualitative research methods that incorporate discussions at the intersections of race, gender, class, ethnicity and other dimensions of inequality, especially cultivated through the lens of URM scholars.

The institute took place as the country was grappling with the controversial deaths of 37-year old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Louisiana and 32-year old Philando Castile in St. Paul Minnesota, both dying at the hands of law enforcement officers. It became a space to share thoughts and feelings, as often these faculty are the only people of color in their departments and for students to turn to in these times.

“Schools need to place more emphasis on humanities to help in healing,” said Laurie Nsiah Jefferson, senior lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

One attendee, Kunmi Sobowale, a resident at Yale School of Medicine at Yale University, reached out to the group after the institute to follow up and share how he was “helping patients to process emotions and fears”  surrounding the events, and “discussing the long lasting effects on their mental health.”

“I am trying to set up discussion(s) and make these topics a standard practice and part of medical training,” said Sobowale.

That act was one of many resulting from the work of the group. They continue to see the institute as a safe space where they were able to share their thoughts and feelings with the group and collaborate in publications.

“What an amazing group of brilliant and compassionate scholars,” said Ruth Enid Zambrana, director of CRGE, “struggling with social issues of grave concern, such as African American men and women in prisons, food insecurity among the poor and Latino immigrant groups, caregiving among other concerns. It was moving to observe them feel safe, secure in their belonging and trust to reach out for help.”

Together the attendees drafted a collective statement in response to the events to express their sadness in the loss of community and law enforcement officers, while noting historical and structural injustices still present in society. 

“We Lift Up Love and Reject the Burden of Hate: To build a more empathetic community, we must courageously listen and make an honest effort to face our fears and pain, and consciously commit to boldly take action for transformative change in this country. Without this change we will inevitably face continued violence and loss of the skills and talents of those we have lost.”

The next IQRMI will be held on June 4-9, 2017. For more information or to apply, please visit www.crge.umd.edu/IQRMI. The deadline for application is January 9, 2017. 

Baltimore Forum: Research and the City
4/26/16 - 8:00 PM

One-Minute/One-Frame Presentations of faculty research and/or scholarly interests in Baltimore.

Baltimore Forum: Research and the City
4/26/16 - 8:00 PM

Interdisciplinary forum for Baltimore-centric researchers on campus to connect and get to know each other and their research interests.

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