Amplified by news and social media, stories of urban youth are often negative, portraying urban communities in decline. Contrary to this portrayal, youth are thriving in these communities and working through inequities and injustices that shape major cities in our country. This project sets out to support youth in the “re-storying” of their communities through public art installations and online media used to create youth-led guided tours of their urban communities.
Over the course of this school year, we wrote stories about, and took photos of, important places from our lives. Then, we recorded our stories and put them and on a digital map with pin points of each location.
We also did a community inquiry research project. We started by asking big questions about our communities and our lives. Then we selected a question/topic based on what interested us most, and/or what questions we thought needed to be answered. Once we had our topics, we started researching. First, we completed a review of research and developed our own methodology. Then, we reached out to our communities and, depending upon each topic, interviewed students, community leaders, family members, and school administrators. Some of us called bakeries asking about their views on gay marriage, some contacted over 20 school districts asking about school budgeting, and others sent surveys to students and teachers. We later analyzed the data that we collected and then shared our findings with our classmates by making posters, power point presentations, and videos.
Finally, we decided to publish our findings in a public space. To do so, Go Bike Buffalo donated well-used bicycles to each of us. We spray painted them, covered each bike with our research findings, and placed them in a public space.