Installing New Student Exhibit: “City • Plaza • People”
We are deep into installation for the exhibit “City • Plaza • People: Sharing Public Space in Providence,” curated by Rebecca Carter’s class, “Urban Life: Anthropology in and of the City,” at Brown.
As students’ promotional materials describe it: the course has examined “public spaces in transition, focusing on Providence’s Kennedy Plaza.” The “exhibit draws from [students’] own anthropological fieldwork to explore how the plaza has evolved and how it continues to be shaped by historical and current events, urban planning and design, social movements, and everyday users.” Following the work of urban anthropologists, it understands plazas as “key sites for understanding the constant reworking of social life”; it seeks to to “shed light on the evolving story of the American city” by telling the story of Kennedy Plaza today.
The exhibit is something of a departure for the Haffenreffer: it depends less on our collection and more on archival documents and materials generated by students in the course of their ethnographic research into plaza life, such as maps, plans, and photographs. We’ve also been experimenting with some multimedia features, all student-produced, including ambient sounds from Kennedy Plaza, a station for listening to interview excerpts, a video depicting everyday life in the Plaza, and the opportunity for visitors to contribute their own ideas to the next stage of Plaza development (by taking Gillian Wearing-style photographs).
Students worked closely with Haffenreffer staff as they developed their plans.
This has been an ambitious project. We congratulate the students and Prof. Carter and look forward to opening the exhibit!
The exhibit opens to the general public December 15 (with an invitation-only “soft” opening the day before). It will be on display through March. See it at Manning Hall Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.
~ Jennifer Stampe, Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology
For more on the exhibit, see http://brown.edu/Facilities/Haffenreffer/CityPlazaPeople.htm
Rebecca Carter is Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at Brown University. To learn more about her research and teaching interests, see http://research.brown.edu/research/profile.php?id=1342174196&r=1