Interested in bringing the Muslim Neighbors exhibit to your community? We provide the framework, research, training, and resources to create opportunities for your community to get to know their Muslim neighbors. We believe that different forms of engagement are needed to facilitate this intentionally inter-religious relationship building, and do so through formal, educational presentations, a photonarrative exhibit, and more informal dialogue events. The Getting to Know Your Muslim Neighbors initiative challenges Islamophobia by humanizing Muslims in your local community in this three-prong approach – education, exhibition, and engagement. We offer a sample budget and the resources and training to facilitate your own events and exhibitions.
Exhibit through Photography and Narrative
In Lafayette, we created a photonarrative exhibit by interviewing and photographing eleven Muslim American individuals and families. In the narratives, participants share their stories about growing up, their daily lives, and being Muslim American. This exhibit has been/will be displayed in several community spaces including: a local church, coffee shop, hospital, and public library. The photos and stories are also published on the project website (www.muslimneighbors.com). This is an opportunity to get our Muslim neighbors and hear/read/see their stories. The images, in their large format, also help visually humanize and normalize the diversity of Muslim American experience.
The photonarrative exhibit consists of large scale photographs and a collection of narratives written from interview transcripts. Ruth Smith, PhD, will conduct interviews and photography sessions with 10-15 Muslim Americans in each location who identify themselves as practicing Muslims. These interviews will focus family background, the coming of age experience, and daily life via the following questions:
At Fuel Coffee Shop, this exhibit was on display for six-weeks, during which patrons viewed sixteen large-scale photographs and read a book of narratives. In one instance, a viewer asked if all the individuals were Muslim (there are individuals of many races and styles of dress portrayed) and engaged in a conversation regarding the diversity of the Muslim American community, dispelling misconceptions about the association of Muslims with foreigners.
Our role would be to interview and photograph individuals and create the exhibit materials to be installed in local community venues. We will also contribute previous photographs to the exhibit to present a growing body of work that accumulates as we visit more locations. This work will also be included in our online exhibition. We will install the exhibit if requested.