During the Fall of 2013, I had the opportunity to partake in a Liberal Arts class titled Dialogue Across the Diaspora: Haiti, South Africa, Art, and Narratives of Resistance. We studied the development and progression of slavery in Africa, the Caribbean, and in New England. We studied how the impact of slavery has played in integral role in shaping modern society. The work focused on the impact of structural violence and white privilege. We were given the opportunity to take this work even further with a trip to Cape Town, South Africa where we were able to experience these issues first hand. 


The Trip

On November 23, 2013, thirteen students from the Dialogue Across the Diaspora class left the Rhode Island School of Design and the comfortable familiarity of their studios for Cape Town, South Africa. We set out to discover for themselves what the impact slavery has left on the complex South African culture. Below are a few photographs that I captured during the trip. Please visit our Tumblr Blog I created for a more in-depth look at what we experienced while on the trip. 



Creating An Exhibit

Upon our return to RISD, the class was struck by the great impact the trip had on all of us. We wanted to find a way to share our experience with everyone, but unfortunately there wasn't enough time left in the semester. During Wintersession 2014, I worked directly with Professor Jonathan Highfield to take the writings, photographs, and artworks produced during the class and curated an exhibit was presented in RISD's Red Eye Gallery. Because it was a liberal arts class, the writings were among the most important work that we created. I elected to use project the quotes and writings from the class on the walls so that they could be exhibited right alongside the photographs and artworks produced as part of the class. The exhibit was separated into the major events of the trip, creating vignettes that gave us new insights on our work. QR codes that linked to our blog were placed on the gallery tags at each section, allowing visitors to connect the quotes they were reading on the walls to specific pictures and parts of the trip. The images and video below were taken during the show's opening reception. 

Creating a Digital Publication

The final aspect of my work was to create an interactive journal that detailed the trip. Using photos, writings, and audio recordings taken from the trip, I made a digital booklet that detailed each part of the trip and the impact it left on the students as whole. The multimedia piece was a way for me to sum up and finalize the work that I had been studying for the past few months. 

Navigating the Unearthing Legacy Journal:

  1. Be sure to turn up your speakers, there are audio components to the journal.
  2. Roll your mouse over the photos with a white triangle in the corner, it will reveal writings and quotes written by myself, other students in the class, or from readings that were part of the curriculum. 
  3. The Unearthing Legacy Journal requires Flash Player.