Pamela Phillips

Senior Programs Assistant for the Barnard Center for Research on Women

“Changing the Narrative”

Changing the Narrative (CTN) is a resident-centered, place-based community engagement project that seeks to expand the discussion around the public housing program and experience to one more inclusive of resident voices.  With the shortage of affordable housing, the public housing program is a valuable asset that needs defense, transformation, and expansion. Understanding this landscape from the resident perspective is critical to how we record this time in our history. The dominant narrative related to this program is centered around the crumbling infrastructure, maintenance issues, and a wide range of quality of life issues.  Consequently, this depressive narrative influences policies that often cause harm to these communities and the residents who call public housing home. Through a series of community-based workshops, CTN creates spaces for residents to share their experiences, identify issues important to them, and explore solutions to improve their communities. These discussions and interviews are captured using audio and visual documentation in order to share with the general public, scholars, researchers, and other stakeholders.  This summer, through the DHC fellowship, my goal is to create an online platform to house these stories and photos and provide a place for the stories to come.