Posted by: Erin Bernard
I generally say that I work one foot in the academy and one foot on the street. Regardless of what I am creating, I am very concerned with reflection and the past just as much as I aim to do work that is immediate to communities of memory. When it comes to the History Truck, a mobile museum which creates exhibitions with people here in Philadelphia, that process has been partly through an exhibition cycle I devised. For the past 3 1/2 years, I’ve rooted my work in neighborhoods to anchor the exploration with place, but the way I do work has generally been the same– building relationships with grassroots organizations and volunteering in some way, hosting public events which include oral history interviews and memory mapping to learn what people are concerned about currently, research in archives and collaboration with artists of all disciplines to explore the questions discovered through our relationships, and finally an exhibition– partly in the truck partly in a community space. The WIC Work/Shop is the first time I am using the Truck to explore a subject matter or community of memory not bound by neighborhood. It instead explores the lived experience and history of the Women, Infants, and Children nutritional assistance program (serves pregnant and nursing women, children 0-5 with checks for specific items listed by ounce as well as breastfeeding support) through relationships with the nonprofit WIC entity here in Philly, NorthWIC, a team of Moms, GTown Radio (based in Germantown), grocery stores, and artists Josh MacPhee and Jebney Lewis.
Image: Erin Bernard interviews Gloria King in a vacant lot on North 13th Street in November 2014 for the History Truck’s 2015 exhibition, “They Say They Gonna Build,” Photo by Mark Krendel
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