25 Stories from the Central Valley Friday, May 8th 2009 5:00pm
Tracy Perkins, master’s graduate in community development at UC Davis, is bringing her thesis to life through three collaborative forms of multimedia expression. 25 STORIES FROM THE CENTRAL VALLEY features a Nelson Gallery satellite exhibition, a theatre performance and a rich companion Web site. Support from several UC Davis institutes and external funders enabled Perkins to share her interviews through photos and audio clips, and to honor the storytellers and their causes by transforming their stories into theatre. “These stories are inspiring, shocking and sometimes sad, but above all, they broaden people’s understanding of the Central Valley, of personal change and of the necessity for civic engagement,” said Tracy Perkins, who is now pursuing her doctorate in sociology at UC Santa Cruz.
25 STORIES: THE EXHIBIT will feature photographs on display from April 23 through August 23 at the Richard L. Nelson satellite gallery in the Buehler Alumni Center at UC Davis.
25 STORIES: THE PERFORMANCE will be May 8 at 5:45 pm in the AGR Room of Buehler Alumni Center at UC Davis. Please join us at 5:00 for a reception and a chance to view the photo exhibit. The performance will be conducted through an improvisational method called “playback theatre” which uses actors to recreate stories shared by the audience. The form honors the experiences of the storytellers by conveying their story in a way that is immediate, direct and universal. Director John Chung has produced and acted in over 80 performances for crisis intervention and social justice, and took playback theatre to New Orleans to help residents deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This feature doubles as the culminating event for the “California, the University, and the Environment” conference, which will explore the many ways that the University of California system has impacted environmental understanding. The performance and conference are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is encouraged.
A companion 25 STORIES Web site (twentyfive.ucdavis.edu) will launch April 23 with an online exhibit. Over the summer, the Web site will be expanded to include an interactive map with oral histories, audio clips and additional photographs; and additional tools for educators to use in the classroom.
“The storytellers are from a Central Valley movement, made up largely of women from politically disenfranchised communities, that is fighting to protect themselves from pesticide poisoning, contaminated drinking water, toxic waste and heavy air pollution,” said Julie Sze, Associate Professor of American studies and director of the Environmental Justice Project at the John Muir Institute of the Environment. Sze advised the project and brought additional support and collaboration from the John Muir Institute for the Environment and the Davis Humanities Institute. By connecting this project to other scholarly work on campus and nationwide, she hopes to inspire action and break down boundaries between communities and academic researchers.
Celebrate the opening of 25 STORIES on May 5 from 4-6 pm on the Buehler Alumni Center Patio. Join 25 STORIES project director Tracy Perkins; UC Davis’ Center for Regional Change director Jonathan London, and community development master’s student Maggie La Rochelle for a relaxing evening of food, drink and presentations on “Engaged Scholarship in the Central Valley: Stories from the Field.”
25 STORIES is co-sponsored by the Environmental Justice Project at UC Davis’s John Muir Institute of the Environment, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Community Water Center, Grayson Neighborhood Council, Tri-County Watchdogs, Association of Irritated Residents and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment; funding was generously provided by the UC Davis Humanities Institute, Center for Regional Change, Consortium for Women and Research, and the Community Development Graduate Group (at UC Davis); American Studies Association and the University of California Humanities Research Institute’s California Studies Initiative.