Celebrating Black Humanity and Joy as Healing: Body, Mind, Soul, Society and Nature

1/19/2022 5:12:00 AM

Girls like me logoAcademic mentor: Ruby Mendenhall

Community partner: Girls Like Me

Project description: 
We seek to create a published picture book and community exhibit about Black girls', mothers', and other mothers' mental health (coping mechanisms). Taking inspiration from W.E. B. DuBois' 1900 Paris Exposition, this project will celebrate the beauty and daily lives of Black women and girls.

Our research questions include: 1) How do Black girls and women cope with racism? 2) How do they use sacred things and spaces (silence, candles, sunshine, sunlight, plants, water, etc.) for their healing?, and 3) How do they talk about meaningful relationships in their lives?

In terms of methods, the pictures will be taken during a 3 to 4 week photography session with Girls Like Me. We plan to work with 10 to 15 girls and 10 to 15 women. Photographers will take the pictures and teach the participants how to take selfies as a form of self-expression. We will create large images (24 x 30 inches) of the pictures and prep them for exhibits. We plan to have the exhibit in Chicago and the Urbana-Champaign area. We will work with faculty in Art and Design to create the book and look for a publisher, perhaps U of I Press.

Role of the Community-Academic Scholar:
The Community-Academic Scholar will work as part of the research team to create the exhibit of the pictures in Chicago and Urbana-Champaign. They will also help to put the book together for publication.