Drexel Writers Room, a university and community literary arts program housed in the Department of English and Philosophy, teamed up with Canon Solutions America to create a unique model for creative expression in Philadelphia’s Mantua and Powelton Village communities.
The yearlong project, “TRIPOD: People, Places, Portraits,” brought together 18 writers and photographers-in-residence from multiple generations: Drexel undergrads, high school seniors and older neighborhood residents.
The participants collaborated throughout the year in triads, using writing and photography to tell stories about their lives and their neighborhoods.
“TRIPOD is designed to explore and embrace imaginative approaches to documenting and responding to the past, present and ongoing changes in our shared communities from multiple and diverse perspectives,” says Rachel Wenrick, associate teaching professor of English and director of Writers Room. “This work has the potential to generate profound inter- generational learning.”
A reading and gallery exhibition was held at the Free Library of Philadelphia to showcase the works produced by each group. With the support of Canon Solutions America, all pieces were published in Writers Room’s 267-page “Anthology” and celebrated with a release party at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.
“Working with people different from me was the best thing I experienced as a student,” says Lauren Lowe, BA English ’17, who continued her involvement in Writers Room as an ArtistYear AmeriCorps Fellow at Paul Robeson High School. “This is civic engagement in the strongest sense, where relationships are fostered in lasting and meaningful ways.”
TRIPOD at Writers Room will run for a second year and continue to grow through the partnership of Canon Solutions America, Drexel and the West Philadelphia community.