Flipping the Narrative
How do the stories we tell about a place impact those living there? How do race, class, and other axes of power shape whose stories get heard? And how do communities whose voices have been ignored take control of their own narratives? In this Praxis Lab, students will have a chance to explore the power of media, narrative, and representation, and tp collaborate with residents of Salt Lake County’s west side to reimagine how and by whom their communities’ stories are told. The west side, a historically working-class area that has welcomed generations of immigrants and refugees, has long been portrayed in the media through a deficit lens and associated with poverty, crime, and violence. Like similar urban areas around the country, this perception is rooted in histories of racialized redlining, disinvestment, and marginalization. But, if you ask residents about their neighborhoods they tell a different story — close-knit communities rich in cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity; places of belonging, with friendly and resourceful neighbors who, faced with challenges, find ways to come together and make a difference. As the University of Utah begins establishing a new west side campus and hospital, which story gets told will have real world effects on the future of the neighborhoods.
Instructors: Dominic Pecoraro, MA; Program Manager & Faculty, Honors College; Yvette Romero Coronado, MSW, LCSW; Clinical Assistant Professor, Social Work; University Neighborhood Partners