Based on your lived experiences, what does diversity mean in your life?

That is the question sparking conversations and creating dialogue on Virginia Tech’s campus. It is also the question at the center of Community Narratives, a photo-narrative exhibit now on display in the Perspective Gallery on the second floor of Squires Student Center.

The Perspective Gallery collaborated with faculty from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies to create the show. It is an extension of the Community Narratives project, led by Kathryn Clarke Albright, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Sal Choudhury, professor of architecture and co-director of special programs in the School of Architecture + Design, provided photography for the project.

What began as a small exhibit in the college grew organically as individuals in the Hokie community added their stories and images to the collection. Albright said the objective was to “give people voice who normally are not speaking out, make others aware of the richness diversity offers, and inspire each of us about the impact we can have on humankind.”

To date, the Community Narratives project has collected the portraits and stories of more than 30 individuals, with many others waiting to have their photos taken and added to the collection. “The photo-narratives highlight individuality,” said Robin Scully, art programs director for Student Engagement and Campus Life. “Participants decide how to showcase their identity, their culture, their own perspectives on diversity as they reflect on personal life experiences.”

Community Narratives will be on display at the Perspective Gallery through Oct. 14. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Perspective Gallery, located on the second floor of Squires Student Center, is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays.

If you are interested in telling your story and having a portrait taken for this ongoing project, sign up at the Perspective Gallery front desk. You may also write a personal response to the question, “Based on your lived experiences, what does diversity mean in your life?” in one of the blank books on pedestals around the gallery. For more information, contact campuslife@vt.edu.

Written by Sandy Broughton. Photo by Christina Franusich.

Perspective Gallery exhibit

Perspective Gallery exhibit
The Community Narratives exhibit will be on display in the Perspective Gallery, second floor Squires Student Center, through Oct. 14.