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Community Data Storytelling Internship at Smart Museum of Art

The Black Wall Street Journey (BWSJ) project seeks to develop a roadmap for assessing and enriching disenfranchised communities. Chicago is an ideal city within which to imagine a contemporary Black Wall Street, owing to its historical significance as a center of African American economic and cultural life, its local and national role in the fight for Black economic growth, and as home to the descendants of the “founder” of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street, O.W. Gurley. The project aims to increase awareness about the barriers to building wealth in Black communities while engaging in concerted actions to bring about new strategies and policies to address the problem.

Project Goals:
  • Challenge the existing notion that there is only one narrative of African American communities in the twenty-first century and reflect instead the resilience, entrepreneurship, creativity, and inventive spirit historically and currently present within African American communities;
  • Establish a space on the Southside of Chicago that serves as a platform for resource exchange regarding the historical and current accomplishments and challenges to economic health in African American communities;
  • Create a platform that demonstrates the resilience of African American communities by imagining and exacting the potential of Black Wall Street in the twenty-first century.

Reporting to the MacArthur Fellows Program Fortieth Anniversary Exhibition Curator at the Smart Museum of Art, the Community Data Storytelling Intern will support the BWSJ team in exploring creative data sources, formats, visualizations, and mediums for communicating an information-driven story and set of resources that support the goals outlined above.

Some areas of exploration may include:
  • Create community public service announcements (PSAs) that relay information about programs and initiatives;
  • Report aldermanic information such as budget, how to contact, and other updates;
  • Map out local community organizations and potential civic partners;
  • Identify popular, local Black owned businesses and understand how they can be promoted;
  • Compile details about neighborhood development projects such as Invest South West.

Principle Responsibilities:
  • Create presentations that tell a story;
  • Extract data from online sources and develop creative ways to display / visualize it;
  • Conduct online research and identify local sources of information on specific topics;
  • Curate data in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

Skills that will be Gained from this Experience:
The Community Data Storytelling Intern will gain in-depth knowledge of curatorial, community engagement, and exhibitions processes as well as the inner-workings of a university art museum.

Eligibility: Applicant must be a University of Chicago undergraduate student in their 3rd or 4th year physically based in the United States during the period of the internship.

Academic Majors and sub-disciplines: Students of all majors and disciplines are welcome to apply.

Required Skills:
  • Experience with presentation technologies such as GoogleSlides, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Keynote;
  • Experience with spreadsheet technologies such as GoogleSheets and Microsoft Excel;
  • Eagerness to learn, ask questions, and collaborate with an interdisciplinary team.

Opportunity Term/Commitment:
This opportunity will begin in Winter Quarter 2021 with the potential for a continuation during Spring Quarter 2021. The undergraduate intern should anticipate working an average of 10 hours/week. Given the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that most of the intern’s work will be done remotely (if things change and in-person/on-site work is required during the intern’s tenure, this will be discussed and worked out with the student based on their location, availability, and comfort with such work).

Pay: $14/hour

Anticipated Start Date: Monday January 25, 2021

Application Deadline: Sunday January 17, 2021

Application requirements:
  • Resume with names and contact information of two references (upload as “Resume” in Handshake);
  • 350 word statement of interest (upload as “Cover Letter” in Handshake);
  • PDF of unofficial transcript (upload as “Other Document” in Handshake).