Building and strengthening community-university partnerships is a long-standing commitment of the Cultures & Communities Program
Current Cultures & Communities projects and partnerships:
Wisconsin Community Activism NOW! Archive
Wisconsin Community Activism Now! (WICAN) is a digital public humanities project documenting and archiving the ongoing movement for racial justice and efforts to reimagine public safety in Milwaukee in the wake of the 2020 police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This student-led archiving project aims to build community power through ethical collecting practices and memory work in digital space. In doing so, it challenges dominant narratives about the past that tend to silence poor and working-class people of color living on the margins of power. This project highlights Black, Brown, and Indigenous resiliency against forces of state repression and material deprivation, centering collective demands and shared visions for a more free and just world. The archive intends to feature diverse media, from online handbills, flyers, maps, articles, and the public statements of city officials and grassroots organizers. It will also include realtime protest livestreams, images of mural art, social media content, and oral history interviews collected and curated by student researchers.
The Whose Land? Project is a national story-sharing program that focuses on histories of land settlement and dispossession since the 19th century and the legacies of those histories on the well-being of communities today. Our primary focus is Wisconsin and New York, two states that have fascinating and surprising historical and contemporary connections and that help tell a larger American story about land and movement in the United States—both rural and urban.
We train field teams to conduct interviews, unearth history through archival research, and support public dialogue and collaboration events. Pulling from these experiences, field teams will craft beautiful stories and media pieces—podcasts, short videos, curated online exhibits—and share them with community partners and broader public audiences. At UW-Milwaukee, Whose Land? offers opportunities for paid research, for-credit study, and/or internships.
The Field School
Established in part with a Cultures & Communities Community-University Partnership Grant in 2012, the Field School explores ways to counter the historical silencing and purposeful erasure of the everyday histories of marginalized places and people in Milwaukee. Over multiple years, Field School participants engage with neighborhood residents in sit-down interviews, community walks, and organized storytelling sessions that bring people together to talk about their history. These conversations have helped residents to identify sites and situations that promote crime, delinquency, and health disparities and have come up with appropriate local solutions to ameliorate these problems. Cultures & Communities is excited to continue partnering with the Field School on its current work in the Midtown neighborhood and Cherry Street Community Garden.
Tables Across Borders
Tables Across Borders is a collaboration highlighting chefs from refugee communities in Milwaukee. With support from local restaurants and organizations, Tables Across Borders hosts pop-up dinners throughout the year that celebrate the food ways and cultures of Milwaukee’s many refugee communities.
Mapping Racism and Resistance in Milwaukee County
Mapping Racism and Resistance in Milwaukee (MRR-MKE) is a digital public humanities project documenting racial housing covenants and the resistance to them in Milwaukee County. Building on and in partnership with the groundbreaking Mapping Prejudice project at the University of Minnesota, MRR-MKE has obtained digital copies of nearly 2 million deed images from the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds and is scanning them through Mapping Prejudice’s proprietary system to identifying racially coded language. Once identified, each instance will be independently verified by a team of scholars, students, and community volunteers, and then geolocated on our map. Furthermore, the MRR-MKE team is conducting archival research to illuminate the following questions: What is the historical geography of racial covenants in Milwaukee County and how does this spatial patterning connect with contemporary geographies of segregation and racial inequality in the Milwaukee metropolitan area? How did racial covenants operate in the specific urban and racial context of Milwaukee County, together with other discriminatory housing policies and racialized patterns of development? Finally, how and where were restrictive covenants enforced and how did Milwaukee County residents resist them?
MKE Scholars Program
In conjunction with the UWM Student Success Center, the UWM Inclusive Excellence Center, and with financial support from the Burke Foundation, Cultures & Communities offers this support program to incoming and continuing UWM students affiliated with one of the seven Burke Foundation sponsored pre-college programs. Students earn their Cultures & Communities Certificate while participating in this program.
Cultures & Communities helps to bring notable speakers in the arts, politics and education to UWM as a co-sponsor of socio-cultural programming on campus.
Past Cultures & Communities projects and partnerships:
An effort to create a grassroots history of mass criminalization in Milwaukee through workshops for liberation, youth video documentaries and digital public archives.
Stitching History from the Holocaust
A virtual museum exhibition developed by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library’s Digital Humanities Lab and the Jewish Museum Milwaukee.
America’s Black Holocaust Museum
A virtual museum based in Milwaukee that builds public awareness of the harmful legacies of slavery in America and promotes racial repair, reconciliation and healing.