Voices of Change

 

Voices of Change uses interviews to highlight the experiences of Flint residents. These interviews explore the lived-experiences of Flint residents, particularly as they relate to their experiences of social injustices in the city of Flint and showcasing the work of community organizations that work to improve the quality of life in Flint. Voices of Change aims to provide a nuanced understanding of factors that shape life in post-industrial urban settings like Flint while at the same time providing residents and community organizations with a platform to express their vision for the future of their city.

 

Flint Voices

Our interviews are properly archived and made publicly accessible to community members and policy makers in the city of Flint and beyond. By archiving these interviews and making them publicly available here, we provide a platform for community members and organizations to advocate for social policies and practices, both locally and nationally, that will realize fairer, more just, and more equitable opportunities for all who live together in modern urban environments like Flint.

Civic Engagement and Liberation Engagement

Voices of Change incorporates elements of civic engagement and liberation engagement as the primary tools for knowledge development. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide a platform for community members and organizations, particularly those from historically marginalized communities, to advocate for social policies and practices, both locally and nationally, that will realize fairer, more just, and more equitable opportunities for all who live together in modern urban environments like Flint. By archiving and making their interviews publicly available, these interviews provide policy makers, community organizations, and activists with a nuanced understanding of the factors that shape the lives of residents in urban areas like Flint, allowing them to craft public policy solutions that better serve the people in such communities.

Voices of Change Internship Opportunities

In order to accomplish the goals of the Voices of Change Project, we will recruit advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in internship opportunities that may help prepare them for graduate study or for their long-term career goals. Students may engage with this project in a number of ways including conducting interviews with residents and leaders of community organizations, gathering background information from libraries, news reports, and historical archives in order to prepare for their interviews, transcribing interviews, conducting site visits where appropriate in order to better understand the physical and social landscapes that have influenced the lives of the residents or community organizations that they will interview, and developing a web-interface for these interviews on the Ethical Urban Living and Vehicle City Voices website. Students will receive training in the principles of conducting ethical human subjects research and the principles of conducting semi-structured interviews.

Voices of Change will not only prepare student researchers to be more active participants in civic life, but we explicitly encourage students to adopt an understanding of the value of working with community members (rather than for them) to co-create the knowledge needed to address the inequalities in our communities. Thus, through their training and research team discussions, students will learn to center their listening, modes of inquiry, and attention on the needs of the community organizations and residents that they are working with. In addition, by inviting community members to share their stories and perspectives on life in Flint, we provide for them a highly visible platform for the circulation of their diverse experiences, viewpoints, and visions for the future of their community.

This project has the overall goal of helping students develop a deeper awareness of the historical and social factors that shape the community around them, and we hope to encourage students to develop a stronger commitment to working collaboratively with community members to transform their communities for the better. In addition, through the work of this project, students will gain hands-on research experience, technical expertise, and public speaking skills that will ultimately serve them well in their academic and professional lives.

Join Voices of Change

To learn how to become involved in Voices of Change, please contact Dr. Erica Britt, associate professor of sociolinguistics in the UM-Flint English Department and the Director of CCN’s Ethical Urban Living Project at erbritt@umflint.edu or britt@cognethic.org.

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