We are pleased to share Land and Legacy, the project launched by this year’s Praxis cohort.
The Praxis Program is a year-long reimagining of graduate methodological training for the digital age. Each year, a cohort of students works with the Scholars’ Lab to design, implement, and execute a digital project. This excerpt from Land and Legacy’s about page best summarizes the work of this year’s cohort:
Land and Legacy investigates the University of Virginia’s and UVA Foundation’s land development and expansion throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County since the 1980s. In light of UVA’s 2030 plan to be “Great and Good,” Land and Legacy examines how these developments have affected local communities, and place these impacts in dialogue with UVA’s public narratives.
In the fall, the students discussed and met with project leaders from the Charlottesville Regional Equity Atlas. With this project as inspiration, the students were given a dataset pertaining to real estate development by the University and asked what stories they could tell with the data. But, importantly, they were also asked what stories they thought were theirs to tell, what stories were not, and what stories others were already working on. The students took it from there and had broad self-governance over the project’s research questions and outcomes. The result draws upon heavy archival work, data collection, and GIS methods to produce a powerful series of digital essays that together critique the university’s land expansion over the last forty years.
The project was undertaken under difficult circumstances, with a significant portion of it carried out remotely due to the ongoing pandemic and social distancing guidelines. Nevertheless, the students took on their material with a great deal of care, meeting with a range of people already doing work on the topic and asking how their own work could be useful to others. To that end, after exploring Land and Legacy, please do examine the projects that the students drew upon for inspiration and guidance. Their hope was that the outcome would help to draw attention to the work already being done on how the university can be a good neighbor as well as to offer thoughts for future directions the conversation might take.
The members of the 2019-2020 Praxis cohort are:
- Janet S. Dunkelbarger
- Connor Kenaston
- Natasha Roth-Rowland
- Lauren Van Nest
- Chloe Downe Wells