I Am Project: An Analysis of the Representation of Homelessness in American Visual Culture

By: Telayah Sturdivant '15

Advising Faculty: Ron Flores and Karen Gonzalez Rice

My research with the Holleran Center's Program in Community Action (PICA) investigates the issues related to racial authenticity in American visual culture. The "I Am Project" is a way to focus my interests in representation on the specific issues in the portrayal of homeless populations.

In collaboration with PICA, the College's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows program, and the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, I will be providing residents of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center (NLHHC) with cameras in order to document themselves and their overall experiences. This project will not only provide a creative outlet for those of the center, but will also provide me with images to compare how residents of the center chose to represent themselves in comparison to how other artistic and media outlets have chosen to represent homeless populations. This investigative work will transition into a Senior Integrated Project (SIP) and will also complement my overall research that examines the tensions in the idea of racial authenticity in American visual culture.

Related Fields: Art History, Sociology