Wayne State University College of Education hosts film and photo exhibition featuring stories about the spirit and strength of Detroit

Girl by Brianna Bryant
"Girl" by Brianna Bryant

The Wayne State University College of Education will host “They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds: Detroit Tales of Resilience,” a film and photo exhibition about the spirit and strength of individuals and communities in Detroit, on Saturday, Oct. 23. The event format will consist of the photo exhibition, followed by the film screening, and a question-and-answer session. Exhibit and show times are 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The photo exhibition and film screening — which are both free and open to the public — will take place at the David Adamany Undergraduate Library, located at 5155 Gullen Mall, on Wayne State’s main campus. 

Created and curated by young changemakers in Detroit who overcame hardship and carved out opportunities in community development projects amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project seeks to inspire leadership and resilience, educate others about responsible citizenship, and uncover various pathways for social advancement and economic mobility. Using videos and photographs as platforms for storytelling, participants — all between the ages of 18 and 24 — share largely untold narratives of Detroit by documenting the experiences and perspectives of various individuals, families and groups, highlighting the city's vitality, ingenuity and resourcefulness. The exhibit includes stories about urban farming and food security, immigrant entrepreneurs, trauma and resilience, feelings of pride and shame, navigating the city as insiders and outsiders, and the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality.

“Our young storytellers highlight ordinary people doing extraordinary things in Detroit,” said Roland Sintos Coloma, project director and professor of teacher education at Wayne State. “Their stories reveal there’s more to this city than meets the eye. They disrupt stereotypes of urban areas by showcasing individuals and communities that make it vibrant and thrive. They inspire us to see Detroit differently and to see the people in Detroit differently.”

Artwork by Kezia Saine
Artwork by Kezia Saine

“They Thought We Were Seeds: Detroit Tales of Resilience” marks the culmination of “Shifting Urban Narratives,” a 16-month project funded by the Schultz Family Foundation through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge. Wayne State University was one of 28 organizations awarded $100,000 to elevate diverse voices and broaden the national conversation about poverty and economic mobility through the challenge, which strives to establish ways to offer alternatives to conflicting accounts about what poverty is, why it happens, to whom it happens and how to address it. For more information about Shifting Urban Narratives and the youth fellows, visit education.wayne.edu/shifting-urban-narratives.

Seating for the film and photo exhibition on Oct. 23 is limited. To reserve your space, visit 313narratives.com.  Wayne State has a vaccine and mask mandate for all event attendees.

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