From the beginning, Newest Americans was designed to engage people, to meet them where they live and amplify their voices. To that end, we have hosted public humanities events, designed interactive stories, held photo camps, mounted exhibitions, and developed tours, both virtual and real. These are all opportunities to immerse in our storytelling.
Newark Story BusMobile Media Lab
Newark today is defined by immigration and the Great Migration—by the movement of people from across the globe and around the country who have sought opportunity here and left their imprints in return.
The Newark Story Bus is a mobile hub for sharing and collecting the rich stories that make Newark a global city. The bus, a refurbished Econoline Cutaway, contains a sound booth and portrait studio designed to gather audiovisual histories from residents and workers in the city. The exterior of the bus is a striking, colorful, artwork on wheels that draws attention when it rolls into schools, street fairs, churches and community centers. Designed by local artists Geraluz and Werc, the bus is intended to evoke our mixed cultural heritages and celebrate the vibrancy of Newark.
“Uprooted” is the story of how a Newark neighborhood was demolished—and its residents displaced—for the creation of a medical school in the 1960s.
The homes of the mostly African American families that lived there at the time were seized by eminent domain to build a higher education corridor that is today called University Heights.
Using address data and GIS mapping technologies, a team of students, historians, researchers and designers at Rutgers and Columbia Universities, collaborated to build an interactive map that shows the trajectories of two phases of emigration from the neighborhood. By plotting the names and geolocations of the individuals who were displaced we have created a spatial representation of the stories of the people who once called University Heights their home.
Stories from the PandemicYouth Media
As a pandemic hits, youth respond.
Young people are adjusting to life under quarantine while processing the potential impact on their families’ health and economic security. In response, Newest Americans created Stories from the Pandemic, a web platform for young people to document their experience in real time using photography, video, writing and audio. Our goal is to give students an opportunity to observe, reflect, and share their personal stories in order to feel less isolated while becoming frontline documentarians for their local community and beyond.
Gateways to NewarkPublic Art
Gateways to Newark is a public mural project commissioned by the city of Newark.
In our attempt to do justice to this brilliant visual journey, we chose to use an interactive platform called Verse, which allowed us to layer content in a chaptered format. As you travel down the mural, take some diversions by clicking the dots along the way. These will transport you to an aerial tour of the mural or into the artists’ studios where you can learn more about their cultural inquiry and creative approaches.
PoemQuestInteractive Poetry Game
PoemQuest is an interactive game that uses poetry to explore Newark’s Riverfront Park. At the end of the journey, participants can share their own poems about what led them to Newark and their connection to the park.
Poetry has long been a means of personal storytelling; PoemQuest shares the voices of local poets commissioned by Newest Americans to reflect on the visitors and local history of the park.
The mobile app uses photographs by Newest Americans co-founder Ed Kashi to reveal clues that lead users to “capture” and listen to geo-tagged poems around the park.