Sowers and Reapers: Gardening in an Era of Change


Fall 2018 - Summer 2019


This project team sought to bring humanities tools to the issue of environmental justice and migration. Drawing on human rights approaches, oral history, gardening history, documentary photography, digital mapping and exhibit curation, team members documented how Durham residents in the College View, West End and Watts-Hillandale neighborhoods are engaging with issues around climate change, environmental justice and gentrification through their gardens.

Throughout the year, the team visited local community gardens and partnered with the Humanities Action Lab (HAL) and over 20 other universities to produce an exhibit on environmental justice and climate change. The team contributed 20 photographs (with accompanying text), quotes from interviews, student essays, audio excerpts and video to the exhibit, which opens in New York in Fall 2019. The team also created a Durham-specific exhibit (Sowers and Reapers: Building Change in Durham Gardens from the Ground Up) including eight panels that feature text and photos. The exhibit will travel throughout various Duke and Durham public spaces.

Location: Durham



Giulia Rocco, Surafel Adere, Rand Alotaibi, Sharmi Amin, Grace Chun, Alyssa Cleveland, James Daubert, Jordan Dozier, Spencer Ganus, Will Graham, Emma Herold, Caroline Kealoha, Clare McKenzie, Elena McNiece, James Robinson, Matthew Sima, Daniel Song, Christopher Teufel, Shom Tiwari, Sierra Winters, Saskia Cornes, Mayme Webb-Bledsoe, Valerie Johnson, Bennett College, Elizabeth Shulman, Durham County Library, Tim Stallmann, Counter Cartographies/SAVAS


Robin Kirk, Barbara Lau


Humanities Action Lab, Pauli Murray Center for Social Justice

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Air & Climate, Diversity & Affordability, environmental justice, Gardens, gentrification, Grounds and Landscaping, Public Engagement, urban gardening