2023-24 Community Fellow
with Utica Institute Museum for Diaspora Solidarities Lab
The Diaspora Solidarities Lab (DSL) is a multi-institutional Black feminist partnership that supports solidarity work in Black and Ethnic Studies conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, faculty members, and community partners who are committed to transformative justice and accountable to communities beyond the Western academy.
The DSL Community Fellows are non-academic/non-institutionally affiliated community organizers, artists, cultural workers or groups who collaborate on projects with other participants and innovate DSL-sponsored projects of their own. The DSL Community Fellows program invests in collaborative community work and supporting practitioners doing the work where they are.
As a 2023-24 DSL Community Fellow, johnson continues to expand his work in Utica, MS, returning to a relationship with the Utica Institute Museum (UIM) and the work of Director Jean Greene and Hinds-Utica CC English Professor Dan Fuller. Working together to build on the UIM bus tour through the Town of Utica, johnson, Greene, and Fuller are collaborating to create site specific museum interpretive devices featuring oral histories specific to public sites of memory for the Utica Institute and founder William H. Holtzclaw.
johnson is creating a model of the 1904 Brownie No. 2 which, instead of taking pictures, will present a ghostly image to the viewer of a site of memory cast over the site as it exists today. Dr. Holtzclaw opened the Utica Institute in 1904 and a Brownie camera would have been the most affordable way for a new student to capture the experiences at school. Working with the Utica Institute Museum, johnson is 3d printing a Brownie case which will house a periscope mirror arrangement with a laser etched plexi glass slide casting an image of a historic building over the contemporary site. Mounted in the top will be a small speaker which will play a 90 second collage of oral histories from former students with memories of the site. The original aperture slide and film advance dial will instead be used to play the oral history track and selet the appropriate track for the site. There will be three plexi slides to accommodate three sites on the bus tour.
Stay tuned here for updates.