Shell & First Stories

Here is a preview of our latest design:

In the photo, we are discussing the listening system with a member of AU’s NAACP chapter.  On the right is Maria Beltran, our point person with the Graduate Leadership Council on campus.  Here is a close-up, which features “SHARE YOUR STORY” written on one side and “AU VOICES: LISTEN” on the other:

The event on March 23rd (see invitation) was a great opportunity to preview our first major audio story, “campus climate after the 2016 election.”  We had food and drink thanks to the sponsorship from the GLC. A fortunate coincidence was that the NAACP student group was meeting next door. The event was a chance to observe the operational features of the system – what worked well, what was missing, and what could be altered to improve the experience next time?

Making the enclosure involved paint, spray-on chalkboard, and some Home Depot trips, as documented here, in a garage:


Our team was pretty happy with the trial run, and we look forward to the next event – stay tuned!

(Pictured from right to left: Mina Kato, Samantha Dols, Maria Beltran, Patricia Torres, Prof. Stokes; see also full team.)

Call for Stories: AU’s campus after the election

Dear AU Graduate Students,

We want to hear how things have changed on AU’s campus since the election. Nationally, we’re seeing some intense responses, from support to protests.

How has this affected campus conversations and student life? How does this affect our diverse groups and goals for inclusion?

Call our hotline and let us know — just a few sentences, or a quote, or a story about what you’ve seen. For more, meet the editors on our team, who will be compiling and remixing the stories.

Gathering our first stories: at AU’s Multicultural Alumni Reunion

We started gathering our first stories on October 22nd at the Multicultural Alumni Reunion (MCAR).  For our team, it was a chance to start gathering ideas and building trust that we really do want to hear alumni voices on tough issues, especially around race, class, and diversity.  Alumni voices are the focus of our first release of stories.

Here are a few snapshot pictures:

Continue reading “Gathering our first stories: at AU’s Multicultural Alumni Reunion”

Call for Artists

Help make our “listening post” to tell stories of diversity and inclusion

We are creating a new way to listen to diverse voices and hidden stories at American University. Our installation will feature a physical listening post that is wired to the internet. Oral histories and audio clips will feature the voices of community members and surface new perspectives on the difficult questions of who we are, and where we are going.

We are looking for an artist to imagine and build a sculptural object to house the digital components already embedded in our payphone housing.

Here are some examples to help with brainstorming:

payphone-_art1  payphoneart3 sankofa-red-1090-6772 chloe_meineck_music_memory_boxes_1


Our goals for the display are to be visually distinctive and inviting to listeners who might pick up the phone; to align with the look and feel of our community (e.g., integrating some of the American University colors); and to speak to issues of diversity and inclusion.

We will accept proposals from individuals, pairs, or small teams. We will cover your costs for materials (within reason), plus a stipend for the artist of a couple hundred dollars. You can be an artist, a designer, or anyone interested in shaping spaces for creativity and community building. This is a collaborative project so you must be willing to work with others and be receptive to ideas and input from the team. Your name will be attached to the installation, our website and print materials – a great way to get your artwork out there!

If you are interested, or want to learn more, send our editorial team an email

UPDATE (11/16/2016): If desired, artists will receive some guidance from Prof. Andy Holtin, who is an expert in the use of technological systems to create performative objects; he has offered to provide tech guidance for the physical or electrical systems.