The following are examples of programs that, in their subject matter, community engagement, and/or use of partnerships, represent strong fits to Oregon Humanities' grant criteria.
Podcast and Community Discussion Series, KBOO Foundation (2015)
KBOO Foundation's Podcast and Community Discussion Series explored criminalization—the process by which behaviors and individuals are transformed into crime and criminals—in Portland-area communities. Three small cohorts of people who often experience criminalization each created a podcast featuring interviews, information, and analysis about how their communities are currently or have been historically criminalized, the effects of criminalization, and repercussions of these actions for broader society.
Each podcast explored, from different perspectives, how our communities define “crime” and “criminals,” the effects of labeling communities as “criminal” or “high crime,” and the effects of criminality on our humanity. Specific podcast topics were chosen by the cohorts, including criminality as it relates to houselessness, Blackness, immigration status, sex work, youth, gender non-conformity, and environmental codes. A key question to be considered was, What are the social and economic costs of criminalization?
The podcasts were broadcast over KBOO's radio frequencies, available for download online, and played at community discussion sessions. KBOO hosted three discussion sessions bringing together diverse groups of people to hear a podcast, participate in facilitated conversation, and contribute their own experiences. The sessions explored a conversation about criminalization as it relates to livable, safe, healthy communities.
Portland Then and Now, Hand2Mouth (2015)
Hand2Mouth developed a series of three public programs that complimented a play inspired by Gus Van Sant's 1991 film My Own Private Idaho. Each program in the series addressed the following questions: What has Portland gained and lost in the last twenty-five years of unprecedented population growth and urban development? And how has the ability to actualize a full life in Portland changed, especially as perceptions have changed, for those who are young, queer, and homeless?
The series included a panel discussion with social service professionals and individuals who have experienced homelessness, which explored the differences in being young, queer, and homeless in Portland in the 1980s and 1990s compared to the current day. A second program in the series featured a guided walking tour of what the Pearl District was like before it was developed. Participants engaged with historians and longtime Portland residents along the way to discuss the process of transitioning from a largely industrial neighborhood to a high-end commercial and residential district. Hand2Mouth wrapped up the series with a funeral for “old” Portland that featured eulogies written from the perspectives of communities of color, along with those from political, homeless, business, LGBTQ, arts/culture, and media community leaders. This event served as a way for participants to look back in time and more importantly, to reflect on what they wanted to let go of about “old” Portland and what they wanted to hold on to going into the future.
Hand2Mouth intentionally crafted the series to revolve around discussions of the past in order to assess the present, and imagine a shared future. In addition to directly engaging with pressing issues that Portland faces, including gentrification, a burgeoning homeless youth population, and an uncertain development plan for affordable housing, Hand2Mouth actively embedded equity into the how the events were created and produced and the forms they took. In the design of the program series overall, Hand2Mouth encouraged participation by creating low stress and low barrier ways for people to contribute, such as asking simple questions and beginning with personal stories (e.g., When you arrived in Portland, where did you come from, how did you get here, and what were you carrying?).
Unbranded and Unclaimed, Pacific Wild Horse Club (2016)
This project will bring community members together in Bend and Burns to contemplate the issue of wild horse and land management. This is a collaborative effort by Oregon organizations including the Pacific Wild Horse Club, The Museum at Warm Springs, High Desert Museum, Bureau of Land Management, and Ochoco National Forest. Exploration of this complex issue and fostering understanding between stakeholders is particularly timely, as the government's wild horse and burro management plan is under review. A series of programs, including facilitated discussions, panel presentations, community field trips, and a Mustang Awareness Day, will encourage sharing of different perspectives.
Unbranded and Unclaimed will include four facilitated discussions about the historical and cultural context of wild horses, natural resource use and herd management, and considering solutions around wild horse adoptions and population control. The program will also include two community learning field trips and events at the annual Mustang Awareness Day. Participants in this series of programs will consider questions such as the following: What, if any, are our responsibilities to the wild horses of Oregon? What is the value of public land, and who gets to decide how we use it?
The programs are intended to give the larger community—including members of the public, natural resource professionals, equine professionals, historians, nonprofit organizations, tribes, and government entities—opportunities to learn about and address the pressing matters of herd and land management through active participation and communication with a wide variety of perspectives.
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