The Community Historian project is the home for an ongoing series of community-based participatory design workshops run in collaboration with the Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council. These workshops serve to provide the space and resources for members of the westside community discover, document, and discuss community identity and heritage.

The first series of workshops provided a venue for residents to be creators and curators of an interactive map which features images and stories from members of the westside community. Through different activities using digital photography, beginning with using iPhones to take geo-tagged photos to building DIY digital cameras with Arduino components, residents had an opportunity to not just use technology to document the neighborhood, but to build technology and discuss the implications of different forms of community documentation and surveillance.

The broader goal of the project is to engage in citizen collection of data as an important factor in staying in conversation with corporate and governmental entities that define public space and legislate private interactions. Video, photo, and other types of citizen-produced testimony can serve as evidence of the effects of decisions made by these governing bodies. This documentation can be used for the purposes of protest, praise, and historic preservation.

Visit the project website to see the stories being produced by residents of the English Avenue neighborhood.