Social Sciences: Collaborative Change, Collaborative Planning

Department: Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Urban & Environmental Planning

Supervising Faculty Member: Frank Dukes

Specialization: collaborative change, collaborative planning

Research Focus: The Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) is developing a multi-faceted initiative, called the Transforming Community Spaces project, aimed at supporting communities to tell more complete histories at their own sites of significance. IEN will steer an innovative, multi-year effort to support communities in thoughtfully examining, engaging and potentially transforming diverse sites (e.g. monuments, memorials, parks) that connect to the persecution of enslaved Africans, African-Americans, indigenous people, immigrants, women and other historically marginalized groups or intersections of identity. Key outcomes will include the implementation of pilot projects and the publication of guidance materials for communities across the nation that are ready to reckon with their histories and create new future possibilities.

Position Description: The student(s) would support a key component of the Transforming Community Spaces project: helping develop a database of institutions and communities addressing problematic community spaces (e.g., monuments, building names). This includes researching and writing case studies of lessons learned from such institutions and communities as well as developing an on-line, accessible database of such cases.

Required skills: Our main requirement beyond willingness and commitment to conducting this research is a passion for learning about these issues.

What you will learn: To learn more complete histories than are represented by many monuments and memorials, many of which histories challenge existing narratives of race and equity; to write clearly and concisely for an intelligent lay audience; to work effectively as part of a project team.

Web site link to research: https://ien.virginia.edu/news/ien-tcs