Baha’i Project Seeks Unity through Photographs of Community

From left to right: Beverley Burris, Ann Hoff-Fanaian, Victoria Polk, and Rosemary Closson discuss the Sanford Race Unity Project during a recent planning meeting at the PHC

From left to right: Beverley Burris, Ann Hoff-Fanaian, Victoria Polk, and Rosemary Closson discuss the Sanford Race Unity Project during a recent planning meeting at the PHC

[This blog post is written by Victoria Polk, a UCF graduate student and participant in the Spring 2015 Citizen Curator internship program at the Public History Center.]

In addition to its involvement with the Aphasia House History Troves Project, the Public History Center (PHC) is partnering this spring/summer with members of The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Seminole County East to develop the Sanford Race Unity Project. The Spiritual Assembly seeks to sponsor and support various public youth and adult programs that encourage service and promote spiritual uplift for the overall community.

Working in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs and local churches, the project seeks individuals from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and asks them to capture their definition of community through photography. The goal is to capture and place photos of community in an exhibit that conveys both the cultural diversity of participating groups and the oneness of humanity.

The Sanford Race Unity Project builds upon the Public History Center’s recently completed – and very successful — Created Equal program, a series of community discussions organized around the public screening of documentary films on America’s Civil Rights Struggle. Through invitation community members from participating institutions will meet in four workshops and learn about the project, take a basic photography lesson, choose the photographs they want to share with their particular assigned group, and then together as a group decide which photos to display for the exhibit. This process not only brings individuals from diverse backgrounds together, but also involves ordinary citizens in curating their own photographs and stories for a public exhibit.

PHC will facilitate the Sanford Race Unity Project by providing marketing, meeting space, and personnel to help with the project. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage Sanford’s “Citizen Curators” to explore the meaning of community through photography and to encourage cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through a public exhibit of selected images and interpretive text.