Our Zoom in On Culture Photo Ethnography program is underway for spring 2017.
“East meets West” this semester with the addition of students from the World Literature class at Valley High School in West Des Moines. Zoom in On Culture has been incorporated into the sociology curriculum of three Des Moines high schools this spring: East, Lincoln, and Hoover. That means – for the first time ever – Zoom in on Culture will include students from neighborhoods on the west, east, south, and north sides of the greater Des Moines metro.
Over 100 students are participating in this year’s program, which spans seven weeks. Mamta Israni – CultureALL Ambassador and Director of Education, Training, and Development will lead weekly workshops at each school, leading students in an ongoing exploration of what culture means to them. CultureALL Ambassador Phoebe Liang D’ Alessandro of China will also present workshops. Ryan Morrison – a professional photographer – will help students develop their photography skills as they identify their own cultural influences and perspectives. As they share their photographs with their classmates, students begin to understand their differences as well as the many things they have in common.
“I learned that culture is not only what you eat, but how you eat it; it is not only where you are from but how you get there as well. This experience has taught me that not everyone lives life the same way. It has taught me to cherish not only my culture, but everyone else’s around me.”
– Allison Else, East High
Exhibition and Opening Reception March 26
As always, the project culminates in a public exhibition of student photographs. Students select their best photos and compose a short essay explaining what the photo means to them. With the help of professional graphic designer Connie Wilson, photos are printed and mounted. These works will be on display in the Prairie Meadows Gallery at Grand View University beginning March 26. Mark your calendar for that day, and stay tuned for details on how you can attend the Opening Celebration and Artist Reception for this project.
The project is once again being supported by a contribution from Bankers Trust. (Read more about Bankers Trust in our Donor Spotlight.) We are also grateful to Grand View University for hosting the photo exhibition, and to the teachers at each participating school, whose cooperation and collaboration helps make this project so successful. This year, those educators are:
- Lincoln High School: Scott Harrison
- East High School: Lynn Hoff
- Hoover High School: Jeanette Hollins
- Valley High School: Karen Downing
Zoom in On Culture is one of CultureALL’s most expensive programs. Each school pays a small fee and provides in-kind support for the program, but this does not come close to covering the cost of program staff time, contract fees, and supplies for the student exhibition and public reception. That cost averages about $100 per student.
How You Can Help
Every year, a number of students involved in the Zoom in on Culture program have told us, “This project changed my life.” You can help support these life changing experiences by making tax-deductible contribution on our secure donation page at Network for Good:
“I’m no longer going to stand by and let people say that things are strange or weird in front of me. Instead I’m going to explain how it may be of great significant to their culture.”
– Katherine Mendez, Lincoln High