A Radical Geography Community
Washington Innercity Self Help (WISH), Washington D.C., USA
Participant at the IGJ: Amanda Huron (University of the District of Columbia)
“WISH has been working as a housing organizing group for 25 years in the D.C. area, and I was asked to help organize their archives. I worked in conjunction with people who were part of WISH and some of the community members that were doing work with them. The outcome of the project was to create an archive of all the papers of this group. We put these papers in the public library in order for them to be available for anybody to come and access as a community resource. It was a pretty small project, and when I say it involved academics this refers to me being involved. Importantly, the mass-based organization asked for this project to be done. The “research” involved spending time figuring-out what’s going on in the photos, what’s the story that is being told there. I’d say it was a very powerful experience for the ten to 15 people involved in the project. For the actual dissemination, we held a big party with people involved in this project. It was open to the public, but I guess only those who had a connection to this project actually came.”
Figure 10 shows the public engagement of the WISH project. Again this is a two-party public focused project, focused around public groups within academia and the community in which we work. However, the WISH project focused on the public within the stages of preparation and research but not dissemination. As a small project, the dissemination was predominantly within the group involved, and therefore, it was not perceived to be a public engagement. This analysis highlights a differentiation between being publicly engaged actively and passively: the archive is open to the general public; however, as this wasn’t actively pursued, the participant did not include this as a public engagement.