Shelf Life is a community story project motivated by the rapid change taking place in Seattle’s Central Area neighborhood. We are recording oral histories with people who have lived, worked, and/or built community in the Central Area. We are photographers, artists, librarians, historians, filmmakers, and educators. Through September, 2017, we are operating out of a storefront next door to the Red Apple, at 23rd and Jackson, and we encourage the public to visit the storefront and share stories.
1) During this period of rapid change, Seattle could learn a lot from the Central District’s unique history of innovation, creativity, and community leadership; lessons that might even influence how we imagine the city’s future.
2) Stories have the power to depolarize civic and individual conversations about change.
3) When people are displaced, they experience isolation and vulnerability. Community stories reconnect people.
Our objectives are to:
1) Amplify, preserve, and learn from the voices, experiences, and histories of Central District communities.
2) Contribute historical context to conversations about change in the Central District.
The stories we record will be shared with the public through community celebrations and installations, social media, community radio, pop-up projection events, the project website, and an interactive story map. Eventually, stories will be archived by the Seattle Public Library.
Why is the project called "Shelf Life?" The project was originally motivated by the impending closure of the Red Apple grocery store, a community anchor in a rapidly changing neighborhood. Quite simply, the Red Apple is a place where neighbors come together and find each other, so it is also a place where we find neighborhood stories. "Shelf Life," therefore, is a grocery reference, but the project title is also meant to make us think about change, history, community, and displacement.
Jill Freidberg is a documentary filmmaker, oral historian, radio producer, and youth media educator. Her work reflects her belief that responsible, powerful storytelling builds understanding and solidarity across borders and across the street.
Mayowa Aina is a girl from NE Tacoma, WA who likes to wear many hats (sometimes at the same time!). As a student she studied International Studies, Informatics, Music, and Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington Seattle. As a writer, radio host, and aspiring producer she listens to stories and amplifies them to challenge, empower, and liberate others.
Henry Luke is a community organizer, mural artist, and arts educator from occupied Duwamish territory known as Seattle. They have painted walls, taught classes, and organized since 2009, in the greater Seattle area and beyond.
Domonique Meeks is an entrepreneur and filmmaker. He is a recent Masters graduate from the University of Washington and does consulting around data analytics and content strategy. He has a passion for social and economic justice, informatics, and art. He utilizes data and media to tell community stories of entrepreneurship and technology.
Inye Wokoma is a filmmaker, photographer, writer, and educator with a passion for photojournalism and social justice, environmental and cultural subjects.
Carina del Rosario
Carina A del Rosario is a photographer, visual artist, digital media artist, and youth arts educator. She uses art to explore the desire for community, for being part of something larger than oneself, and also the pull of solitude, for shrugging off ties that tangle and constrain.