Alabama Folklife Association
2023 Cross-Sector Impact Grant
Traditional arts/oral history
Year of Award
Grant or Fellowship
Cross-Sector Impact Grants
This project creates exchange and connection between resettled refugees and the broader community of Mobile, Alabama through self-generated photography, children's artwork, family portraits, and oral histories that elevate refugee voices and stories; celebrate refugees' cultures; break down barriers forged by lack of contact; and raise awareness of refugees' contributions and struggles, with the ultimate goal of better integrating refugees into the fabric of Mobile.
The We Are Mobilians art installation was created by refugee children who worked on it while their parents attended Dwell English, driving, and citizenship classes. It was displayed in downtown Mobile during a monthly Art Walk and for months afterward. It features memory jars with each child's favorite memory from their former home with a string linked to the city where they lived, as well as memories on cards emanating from the city of Mobile.
The images of artwork were created by children at Dwell and turned into greeting cards. The art had different themes including "home" and "me as a superhero."
Dwell also led a storytelling collaboration in partnership with the Department of Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama, in which university students interviewed refugee families. The video was shown to Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat when she visited in 2019.
These projects are similar to the proposed project: they engaged refugees and the wider Mobile community, raised awareness of the plight of refugees, gave refugees an opportunity for self-expression and recognition, and underscored commonalities among people regardless of where they are born.