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

The grant will fund the Power and Place Collaborative's “Stories of Alamance County: Spaces of Faith and Spiritual Diversity" project and kicks off efforts with a county-wide dialogue.

The Power and Place Collaborative received $20,000 from North Carolina Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, for their “Stories of Alamance County: Spaces of Faith and Spiritual Diversity” project.

Team behind the Power and Place Collaborative. The project seeks to build bridges of dialogue across racial, religious, geographic and generational division and creates spaces of understanding, healing and action. It extends oral history and digital storytelling efforts that began in 2018 in partnership with the African American Cultural Arts and History Center. The project also responds to recent research revealing deep divides across race, class, and rural/urban areas in Alamance County, as well as the role of faith communities in catalyzing change.

The collaborative is a partnership between the African American Cultural Arts & History Center, Mayco Bigelow Community Center, History & Geography, and Elon’s Center for Design Thinking.

Over the next two years, the collaborative will be partnering with diverse faith-based partners from marginalized communities to organize a series of community engagement events for youth and community elders to exchange their experiences. Engagement opportunities include site visits to different places of worship, neighborhood walking tours, community book-clubs and dialogues on local issues.

Students and a storyteller participating in a “beach ball” storytelling exercise.

This Thursday, September 21, the Collaborative will kick off their fall events with a county-wide dialogue featuring this year’s common reading, “I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times,” with a visit from the author Mónica Guzmán.

In October, Elon students and community storytellers will collaborate to conduct oral history interviews and create digital stories. These projects culminate in public screenings, social media and community poster campaigns, and community dialogues of the digital stories.

Sandy Marshall, associate professor of history and geography and founding collaborative member, said, “the North Carolina humanities grant will support collaborative efforts to unearth the inspiring yet often overlooked histories that have shaped diverse communities in our state. It will also help us build bridges of understanding between different cultures and backgrounds.”

Danielle Lake, director of design thinking and associate professor of human service studies, said, “the collaborative is excited that this grant will help us cultivate sustainable pathways for participatory community engagement between students, scholars, public historians, community leaders and the broader public.”

According to North Carolina Humanities, this grant is part of their larger efforts to support the implementation of large-scale public humanities projects and to connect North Carolinians with cultural experiences that spur dialogue, deepen human connections and inspire community.