The Will to Adorn

Team: Working Together

Our research focuses on communities of African descent in several major cities across the country. These include New York City, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Oakland, as well as St. Thomas and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A major component of The Will to Adorn project is community-based training and “reciprocal” research with academic and community-based scholars and students. This research, which includes ethnographic fieldwork, oral history interviews, and photographic documentation, is shared through an online research protocol Web site pioneered by this project.

Project advisors and researchers include independent scholars; cultural practitioners, scholars and students from universities across the country, including Bowie State University, Clark Atlanta University, Michigan State University, Spelman College and the University of Michigan.

Smithsonian Institution partners include:

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Museum of African Art
  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • National Museum of American History
  • Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
  • Smithsonian Affiliations
  • SITES (Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service
  • Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum

Other organizational partners include:

  • Bowie State University
  • Center for Aesthetic Modernism
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
  • McLarin High School
  • Mind Builders Creative Arts Center
  • East Rock Institute
  • Virgin Islands Council on the Arts

The Will to Adorn Project has received support through funding partnerships with:

  • The Craft Research Fund
  • The East Rock Institute
  • The National Museum for African American History and Culture
  • The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
  • Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies Fund
  • Smithsonian Consortium for Understanding the American Experience
  • Smithsonian Consortium for World Cultures
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