BlackSpace Oklahoma, in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma’s Gibbs College of Architecture, will introduce their organization and initiatives with the lecture series: ​NE OKC Storytelling Project. ​Throughout the month of March 2019, in the Auditorium at the Historic Page Woodson School, the lecture series will explore community assets, values, identities, and ideas, within Black neighborhood spaces.

BlackSpace Oklahoma is a local organization with a mission to bring projects to resources and resources to projects in Black communities in Oklahoma. “​We envision Black communities in which social and spatial change is encouraged, hope is fostered, and the pipeline to the professions of city planning, architecture, and design is broadened,” ​Gina Sofola, one of the co-founders, explained.

“​Through our founding goals and objectives we plan to both strategically and tangibly extend the worlds of planning, architecture, design, and community organizing through culturally specific resources and opportunities,​” Vanessa Morrison, co-founder, added.

The events are organized as a three-part series, including workshops and an exhibit. Interested parties are encouraged to register in advance at https://guestli.st/595956.

The first event, to be held on March 2nd, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will feature a lecture presenting the history of the community and will set the historical context for the entire series. Speakers include Dr. George Henderson and Anita Arnold, with an introduction by Nikki Nice and discussion with Anthony Francisco and Kimberly Francisco.

During the second event, on March 9th, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., there will be a panel of humanities experts discussing storytelling methods and their importance in shaping community identities. Speakers include Dr. Joshua Nelson, Dr. Rachel Jackson, Dr. Tracy Floreani, Suzette Chang, and Dr. George Henderson.

During the third event, to be held on March 16th, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., oral history and digital storytelling workshops will give community members the opportunity to implement storytelling.

The final public event will be a presentation by Rick Lowe of ​Project Row Houses on March 30th, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. His presentation will illustrate how the community can synthesize their stories and use them for tangible positive change, specifically within the design of community spaces. Lowe will be introduced by Gibbs College of Architecture dean Hans E. Butzer and Christina Beatty.

Through these events, the project seeks to create a foundation for understanding how the histories and stories of a community can be used to create stronger community relationships and spaces while imagining the future.

Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities (OH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OH or NEH.

Visit BlackSpace Oklahoma online at https://www.blackspaceok.org/. For more information or to request accommodations, contact hello@blackspaceok.org.