The William & Mary Office of Strategic Cultural Partnerships has announced its inaugural group of Faculty Fellows, who will lead projects to advance the office’s mission.
The Office of Strategic Cultural Partnerships was launched last year with the goal of building, maintaining and reinterpreting the university’s historical and cultural resources. Its mission is “to identify and promote opportunities to support and reinterpret the historic and cultural resources of William & Mary, to increase the visibility and impact of the university’s cultural projects and programs, and to promote these initiatives at local, state, national and international levels.
“I am thrilled to partner with each of our Scholars to support these vital projects, which are directly focused on advancing our mission and the university’s strategic goals for Vision 2026,” said Ann Marie Stock, who serves as presidential liaison for strategic cultural partnerships and oversees research and various operations of the Williamsburg Bray School initiative, the Muscarelle Museum of Art, research and academic activities at William & Mary’s Highland, the partnership with the Omohundro Institute of History and culture of ancient America and future collaborations with Colonial Williamsburg and other regional and national partners.
Each project will be completed in the 2022-23 academic year and will include public dissemination in some form, such as a conference presentation, publication, program unit, grant proposal, etc. Each scholar will receive a $5,000 stipend at the end of the academic year.
Build a virtual reality exhibit and learning environment to engage the public in authentic intellectual inquiry into the Bray School
Chen will collaborate with staff, faculty, and community members to develop virtual reality environments designed to aid in the investigation of the Bray School, a newly discovered building on the W&M campus that is likely the oldest building in existence. in the United States dedicated to the education of Black children. He will research how the history of the school of Bray has been told and what archaeological and historical architectural evidence has been brought to bear on the subject.
“VR learning environments need to have story arcs, and a critical story arc here needs to involve raising the voices of those who have been historically marginalized – the students of the Bray School,” Chen said. I believe this will put us in the best possible position to attract a much more diverse and dynamic population to this learning environment, which could potentially help produce a fuller and richer knowledge base for the Bray School.
Chen added that he envisions a virtual reality environment that teaches audiences about the processes of inquiry that underlie scientific and historical work, while also embracing the agency of significant populations to fill gaps in understanding the Bray school.
BUAD 448 Student Projects in Marketing Strategy
Edmiston was a pilot participant in the SCP Fellows initiative, overseeing four teams of students from its Business Administration 448 Marketing Strategy course during the spring 2022 semester. The students developed branding and marketing strategies for the Bray School program Lab Slate Seminar (two teams) and possible scope and marketing plans for a professional development course in non-credit public history (two teams). The teams consulted with SCP staff members, acting as clients, and conducted analyzes during the Spring 2022 semester and presented the resulting project plans to SCP staff and classmates.
The oppressive socialization of black school-age students through academic processes and religious justification
Parker’s project will analyze relevant archival data from the Bray School (e.g., curriculum materials and goals, stories from Bray School administrators) to understand how the school’s faith-based curriculum was used to justify slavery – and perhaps other forms of oppression. Drawing on qualitative research methods, the Principal Investigators will look for patterns in messaging, academic content, and other relevant materials that communicate the “acceptable” nature of slavery and oppression imposed on Black people by the through the Bray school. The project will also connect key findings to contemporary issues in the United States by examining similarities between messages communicated by the Bray School and modern messages that permeate K-12 and other youth-relevant socialization institutions. .
Aspects of race and freedom in Williamsburg
Williamsburg holds a place in American history and memory as the place where Virginians decided to declare their independence from Britain in the spring of 1776; However, it is critical in the years leading up to the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence to recognize that ideas about race are also part of this city’s history, Richter said.
Her project will engage students in research examining discussions of freedom and race in Williamsburg. In 1705, six years after the city was founded, Virginia leaders met to codify the colony’s slave laws in Williamsburg. In the 19th century, some townspeople held pro-slavery views and fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. The repercussions of that story are still being felt in the city today, she added.
“This work will engage students in those conversations,” she said.
Adrienne Berard, Deputy Director for Research, News and Analysis