Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center to Debut National Interactive Exhibit in Support of 50th Commemoration of May 4
Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center is set to debut its “Armed With Our Voices” exhibit this week in Austin, Texas, as part of the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference.
Curated and designed in collaboration with Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center and the College of Arts and Sciences, the exhibit provides a powerful form of cross-generational connection that engages users in the events of May 4, 1970, and the importance of peace, conflict resolution and student activism today. On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on Kent State students protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War, killing four and wounding nine.
The exhibit features a state-of-the-art “Listening Wall,” which the Wick Poetry Center developed with prototype funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The interactive May 4 50th Commemoration Listening Wall allows users to interact with archival videos, articles, oral histories and photographs thematically connected to May 4, 1970, and its impact today. Visitors are prompted to select words from content transcripts, which are saved in a word bank that users can access to create a poetic response to the exhibit. The user’s experience culminates in a creative reflection on the ways in which equality, justice and human rights are deeply connected.
Two of the students who were wounded, Alan Canfora and Tom Grace, will join Roseann “Chic” Canfora, who witnessed the shootings, in a panel discussion at the conference. The Voices of May 4 Speaking Tour will allow those who survived the shootings to share their personal accounts of the events surrounding May 4.
“The tragedy was unthinkable at the time, and it demonstrated the grave consequences that can occur when communication collapses, when perspectives are polarized and when attempts to find common ground break down,” said David Hassler, director of Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center. “At Kent State University, we have learned much in the past 50 years, especially in the areas of peaceful discourse and conflict resolution. Our hope is to connect the current generation to the generation of May 4, 1970, and we believe that ‘Armed With Our Voices’ is a powerful way to start that conversation.”
The National Council for the Social Studies annual conference is the largest gathering of its kind with participants from an array of sectors, including K-12 social studies classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, and international discipline leaders.
For more information about this exhibit, visit www.armedwithourvoices.org.
For more information about the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State, visit www.kent.edu/wick.
For more information about the 50th Commemoration of May 4, visit www.kent.edu/may4kentstate50.
# # #
The interactive May 4 50th Commemoration Listening Wall allows users to interact with archival videos, articles, oral histories and photographs thematically connected to May 4, 1970, and its impact today.