Through the President’s 2014 Community Development Grant, the Office of Human Resources engaged photographer Adam Mastoon to help create a project aimed at igniting conversations about diversity and inclusion at Swarthmore. Through photographs and the written word, Mastoon brings to life the stories of campus community members, inspiring all who see them to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual as they weave their stories into the fabric of the tapestry we call “community.”
The imagINe Project has the potential to make a positive impact at Swarthmore by cultivating cross-community collaboration. Learning more deeply and creating a greater awareness about those we live and work with, we will learn to recognize and appreciate the amazing attributes that every one of us brings to our campus. The Project challenges the idea of “community” at Swarthmore, prompting critical reflection and conversation regarding inclusion and acceptance.
A cross-constituent planning committee reviewed an overwhelming number of applications for participation. Participants, many of whom were meeting each other for the first time, attended a writing workshop and shared their life experiences, personal stories, and perceptions about what it means for them to be a member of our community. For many, this was an exercise not only in in self-reflection and discovery but also in courageous public “speaking.”
Our community is much more complex than it may seem on its surface. Although many of us are desensitized to the word community as a descriptor of our campus constituencies, we still aspire to create an environment that is civil and accepting of diverse perspectives. If this project can help us bridge campus divides and respect the humanity of all community members, we will have been successful.
Our hope is that your reflections on the writing and artwork exhibited will help support community building efforts amongst faculty, staff, and students. What impact did this project have on you? Has the artwork highlighted unknown connections on campus?
The imagINe Committee