Power + Place Collaborative

The Power and Place Collaborative seeks to examine the power-laden processes of place production and cultivate participatory practice of community co-creation.

The Power + Place Collaborative is a partnership between the African American Cultural Arts & History Museum, Elon University, and the Mayco Bigelow Community Center. Since the fall of 2020, the Collaborative has been creating digital stories about people and places in Burlington’s African American communities. The purpose of this project is to record, preserve, and present stories from and about people and places in Burlington’s African American communities.

Visit our Omeka site to access a complete list of materials and resources!

View our YouTube channel for more videos!

Community Book Club

I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times by Mónica Guzmán

Two sessions – attend one or both!
First 12 people to register will receive a free copy of the book.

Session One – Meet the author
Thursday, September 21, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Elon Community Church – 271 N Williamson Ave, Elon, NC
Reservations required: Email elonbydesign@elon.edu

Session Two – Lunch provided
Wednesday, October 4, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Mebane Public Library – 101 S. 1st St, Mebane, NC
Reservations required: Call (919) 563-6431

Stories of Alamance County 2023

A public screening and community dialogue
Spaces of Faith and Spiritual Diversity

This project seeks to record, preserve, and celebrate the diverse voices, stories, and histories of our county to build bridges of understanding. This screening will feature inter-generational oral history digital stories co-created by students and community members from diverse faith communities.

Wednesday, November 29, 5:00 – 7:30 pm
Dinner provided
Elon Community Church – 271 N Williamson Ave, Elon, NC

Reserve your spot

Students in classes led by Dr. Lake, Dr. Marshall, and Dr. Drew-Branch spent the semester interviewing Burlington residents about their experiences living in Alamance County. These stories were transformed into short videos, which you can view below.

2023 Stories


2022 Stories

2021 Stories



2020 Stories









2019 Stories

Local Heroes

Meet some of the local heroes that the Power and Place Collaborative has had the pleasure of interviewing. These resident activists each make the community better in their own unique way!

Terry Moore

John Sellars

Garry Wiley Jr.

April Mitchell

Brenda & Omega Wilson

Faiger Blackwell

Roger Moore

DeJuana Bigelow

Chuck Fager

Bobbi Ruffin

“So, what are you doing to really make the world better? I want to make sure [my] grandkids grow up in a society where they do see the strength of people pulling together.”

Faiger Blackwell, Power + Place: “Stories of Alamance County”


Community members opened up to share their stories with Power + Place Collaborative team. Check out photos of our participants below.

Community Storyhealing Workshop Event Recap – March 29th, 2023

Building Bridges: Belonging in Burlington (A Screening) – December 3rd, 2022

Intergenerational Night of Storytelling  – November 9th, 2022

2021 Event

Place Based Visionary Organizing & Creating Power and Transformation: Why Detroit Matters?

Richard Feldman – Monday, September 21, 2020 – 2:00-3:00 pm

After the Detroit Rebellion of 1967, James and Grace Lee Boggs initiated the journey to redefine revolution for the 20th and 21 centuries.  The legacy and lineage of James and Grace has been committed to creating theory and practice to re-imagine, re-define, and rebuild Detroit from the ground up.  The decades of work on the ground have seen the emergence of community farms, community homes, place-based schools, commitments to the thinking and practices of New work and New Culture, the role of emerging, organic intellectuals and artists and the establishment of liberated zones.  It has been a journey of intergenerational relationships, critical connections, relationship building and the fundamental recognition that the system of racial capitalism, patriarchy, ableism and the destruction of nature are ending.  It is our time to usher in a new epoch in human history and it starts with the simple theme: Change yourself to Change the world.” James and Grace Lee Boggs believed that our work was about governing and place.

Rich Feldman is a member of the James and Grace lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership.  He has worked with James and Grace Boggs since he was 22 and is now 72 years of age.  He worked the assembly line at Ford Motor Company for 20 years on the assembly line, 10 years as an elected official and 10 years with the International Staff of the union. He co-edited the book; End of The Line: Auto Workers and the American Dream in 1988.  Rich has been married to Janice Fialka and the father of Emma (31) and Micah (36.   The family is also active in the Disability Justice Movement, Inclusion and consider this work essential to the Next American Revolution.   Check out:  What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love  (Fialka)

Place-Making through Community Gardening

Christine Smith – Monday, September 28th, 2020 – 2:00 pm

In this talk, Christine Smith will discuss the role of community gardening in growing community power. As part of this, she will address the sometimes-contentious relationships that can exist between community organizations, university campuses, city governments, and neighborhood residents seeking to co-create community.

Christine Smith is the Executive Director of Seedleaf, an organization in Lexington, KY that provides horticultural training and supports the practice of gardening and small-scale farming in urban space. Seedleaf values the ongoing re-connection of people to land, the incubation of healthy community interdependence and the cultivation of growers toward the goal of developing a robust local food economy and a just and equitable system of stewardship over urban land. Trained academically as a geographer, Christine has been with Seedleaf since 2017. Her gardening experience is rooted in the sub-tropics of Florida where she grew up and her grandmother’s Kingston garden and menagerie filled with ginep, breadfruit, pomegranates, scotch bonnet peppers, fish, pigeons, chickens and stray dogs. She is most proud of her title as ‘Ambassador of Flowers.’

Designing/Disrupting Place: Making the Invisible/Visible

Josina Vink – Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 – 2:00 pm

In this talk, Josina Vink problematizes design practices and frameworks that emphasize standardized, commercialized and imperialist systems. As an alternative, she brings forward an understanding of collective designing, which acknowledges the plurality of design processes already at play that intentionally shape social structures around the globe. She explores how collective designing might help nurture diverse and inclusive spaces. This talk offers a critical, but hopeful, account of the role of design in and for democratic life at a time of great societal transition.

Josina Vink is a designer and researcher with expertise in health system transformation. She has extensive experience leading and facilitating participatory system and service design processes in health care, government, non-profit and community settings. In her practice, she has developed new services, supported policy change, facilitated shifts in practices across sectors, and led social lab processes. Josina’s research explores how design can create profound and significant change in health care by reshaping social norms and beliefs. She is passionate about building resilient service systems to enable a healthy future for all.