Power + Place Collaborative

2024 County-Wide Book Club Dialogue

        American Refuge:
True Stories of the Refugee


To register, please click here

Meet the author and enjoy a light lunch
Thursday, September 26, 12:30-2:00 pm
Elon Community Church
271 N Williamson Ave, Elon


Save Your Spot Now!

Stories of Alamance
Public Screening

The Power + Place Collaborative invites you to join us for a public
screening, community-wide dialogue, and free dinner exploring the
rich histories of Alamance County.

Register using the QR code or click here

December 5, 2024
5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Elon Community Church
271 N. Williamson Avenue

Voices of Alamance County
Public Story walks

Explore the diverse stories of Alamance County trailblazers starting May 1, 2024!

Mayco Bigelow Community Center at North Park
849 Sharpe Road, Burlington, North Carolina

Bet Schmidt Park
2150 Elon Park Drive, Elon, North Carolina

Graham Middle School Walking Trail
301 Foley Street, Graham, North Carolina

The Power + 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!

Digital Stories

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


Press Reports 2024

North Carolina Humanities

May 27, 2024

Grantee Spotlight: A Q+A with Elon University

Press Reports 2023

Today at Elon

September 19, 2023

The Power and Place Collaborative awarded $20K to support ‘Spaces of Faith and Spiritual Diversity’ project


Today at Elon

August 10, 2023

Power + Place Collaborative receives $10K Impact Alamance grant to connect religious communities


Today at Elon

August 4, 2023

Design thinking course helps M.Ed. students build bridges between Power + Place Storytellers and local youth this summer


The Times News

July 21, 2023

Project Collects Area’s Oral Histories


Press Reports 2022

Today at Elon

November 10, 2022

Power and Place Collaborative builds bridges with the community


Today at Elon

October 16, 2022

The Power and Place Collaborative launches new partnerships this fall

Relating Systems and Design Proceedings

September 21, 2022

Reconsidering Power and Place in Systemic Design: Strategies for scaling screen and scaling deep



Today at Elon

July 27, 2022

Lindenman, Lake awarded N.C. Humanities grant for Power and Place Collaborative


Today at Elon

July 14, 2022

Masters of Education Design Thinking students connect Burlington youth to local histories and the power of story

Press Reports 2021

Diversity Network

December 23, 2021

(Re)Place Pedagogies for Remaking Place and Spaces Together


Today at Elon

December 7, 2021

Love, leadership and activism lifted in ‘Stories of Alamance County’


The Times News

December 7, 2021

Power and Place: How a dozen perspectives paint Alamance County’s portrait


The Times News

December 3, 2021

“Capturing stories”: Community project to tell oral histories of Alamance County’s Black residents


Today at Elon

November 29, 2021

Power & Place Collaborative’s ‘Stories of Alamance County’ event will celebrate community


Community Wisdom Report (2024)

The spring 2024 Power + Place community gathering created a space for over 90 members of the Alamance community to come together and explore the rich wisdom of our shared stories, collective embodied knowledge, and explore opportunities to create social change.

Attendees included over 15 Power + Place storytellers and members, 15 diverse faith communities, approximately a dozen university students, 10 Elon faculty, five nonprofit organizers, five members of the creative community, a number of government representatives, educators, and county youth. Overall, those in attendance represented a rich cross-section from across Alamance County, encompassing diverse faith traditions; racial, ethnic, national, and socioeconomic backgrounds; and linguistic differences; as well as spanning multiple generations.

The evening was facilitated by Savannah Keith Gress and Victor Udoewa. Savannah Keith Gress is an independent consultant who works with communities to end systems of oppression and cultivate liberation. Victor Udoewa is a civic designer for the federal government helping to improve the government’s policies, products, and services for the public. Both bring expertise in Radical Participatory Design and Relational Design practices that harness arts- and asset-based methods for supporting community-identified goals and systems change.

The evening built upon insights from the Power+Place fall 2023 public screening and community dialogue where a hope that more stories and experiences from marginalized communities could continue to be heard. Attendees explored how fractures and divides across Alamance County have led to being stuck in a cycle of inequitable community development across the county, especially in education, housing, and transportation with county and city government only representing some communities.

To read more on the report, click here.

Alamance-Elon Community Book Club Dialogue Report (2023)

The following report outlines feedback from the Alamance-Elon Community Book Club dialogue featuring the author of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times, Mónica Guzmán on September 21, 2023. This county-wide dialogue was created through a partnership between the Power + Place Collaborative, Alamance Public Libraries, Elonʼs Common Reading Program, the Kermode Center for Civic Life,  and the Center for Design Thinking. It was made possible through funding from Elon’s Fund for Excellence and Impact Alamance’s Community Forward Grant.

With over 90 people in attendance, the dialogue brought a diverse, intergenerational group of Alamance county residents, including over 40 Elon students, 40 community members from across the County, and Elon faculty and staff. The dialogue included diverse round table conversations, a Q & A with the author, and a book signing.

To read more on the report, click here.

Stories of Alamance County Report (2023)

Approximately 130 people attended the Public Screening and dialogue (over 110 in person with an additional 15 attendees joining via Zoom). Two-thirds of attendees were community members from across Alamance county and one-third from Elon University (including 40 Elon students and an additional 10 faculty and staff). Attending community members included storytellers and their families, members of their faith-based organizations, the Burlington Youth Council, Alamance Public Libraries, CityGate Dream Center, Alamance Burlington Early College students, Burlington Parks and Recreation and Impact Alamance staff. Overall, those in attendance represented a rich cross-section of Alamance County, encompassing diverse faith traditions; racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds; and linguistic differences; as well as spanning multiple generations.

Featured speakers shared stories emphasizing themes of cultivating community, putting faith into action, and learning across differences. Between story panels, attendees were encouraged to share their thoughts via small group dialogue facilitated by students and storytellers throughout the evening. A summary of the insights emerging from these conversations is noted below.

To read more on the report, click here.

The Power & Place Collaborative Stories of Alamance County 2021 Report

The following report highlights key ideas exchanged at the Power + Place Collaborative Stories of Alamance County event in 2021. Some key speakers were Dejuaja Bigelow, Gloria Diaab, Roger Moore, and more who gave talks on themes such as perseverance, love, community, and much more. These talks were divided into three categories: Generations of Activism, Generations of Love, and Generations of Leadership. The reports includes the insights participants gained after each talk, as well as feedback from the participants on the event in general.

To read more on the report, click here.  

Local Heroes

Meet some of the local heroes that the Power + 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.

Design Forge Community Event
Embodied Wisdom: Catalyzing Social Change

March 13, 2024, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at Elon Community Church

Savannah Keith Gress, independent consultant
Victor Udoewa, NASA

Sometimes our best efforts to solve group, organizational, societal, and systemic challenges result in unaffected, worsening, or temporarily resolved problems. We usually rely on individual analysis and strategic thinking using mainstream, institutional knowledge sources. What if we were to access the wealth of other types of knowledges in the world around us: aesthetic, intuitive, emotional, spiritual, relational, energetic, communal, lived experiential, embodied, etc.? There are a number of practices, both old and new, that explore these other types of knowledge by creating awareness and using intention to act. Join the Elon and Alamance community in exploring the rich wisdom of our shared stories and collective embodied knowledge. This interactive session helped participants imagine opportunities to create social change and craft a strategic path forward.
Sponsoring departments or organizations: This event is sponsored by the Power and Place Collaborative, the 2024 Design Forge, Impact Alamance, and the North Carolina Humanities (a statewide nonprofit and the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities).
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.