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Uptown Summer Week Three: Research, Awareness, and Deep Experiencing

The theme of Uptown Summer’s third week was awareness and it was all about collecting information, looking at things differently, and expanding our horizons.

We kicked things off with a visit to Soul Fire Farm. Soul Fire is an initiative developed to foster food sovereignty in communities of color, and to “uproot racism in the food system.” Leah Penniman gave us a background in the food injustice they work to address, then led us in work tasks and activities.

Branda and Felicia engaged in dynamic meditation at Soul Fire Farm.

Throughout the week, the Uptown Summer youth were busy in preliminary research for their final radio stories. We dove into the issues we’re covering by researching online, conducting interviews, and reaching out to experts in the community. 

Darlene Kehn Hunter leads our water testing lab.

Between our research sessions, we had guests who introduced us to diverse ways of gaining knowledge. Science teacher Darlene Kehn Hunter brought us into the field to collect water samples from Ingles Ave. boat launch. She later returned with the incubated samples and examined them for the presence of bacteria. (We found lots!)


Kai and Angelo analyze incubated samples.

Artist Stephanie Loveless helped the youth develop scores for deep experiencing around our block of North Troy. We made prompts that could encourage others to hear, see, and notice things about the area that they might otherwise miss. We hand-painted the prompts onto signs and posted them in the neighborhood to inspire deep observation for years to come.

Stephanie helps Najayah draft a deep experiencing prompt.

As we move forward with the program, we’re narrowing our focus. The Uptown Summer youth will be editing, finessing, strategizing, and curating to make sure their radio stories are working to address the issues they care about. We’re excited to share the final products with you!

Check out the full gallery of week three photos below:

Photos by Catie Rafferty.