By: Stephanie Fisher—
Muncie, Indiana—Stories connect us. They build empathy and understanding across difference, and they are the basic building blocks of community. This mantra has been the driving force behind the work of The Facing Project, and now the 501(c)(3) non-profit is pleased to announce they are partnering with Archives and Special Collections at Ball State University to archive its catalog of stories.
The Facing Project catalog consists of over 1,500 first-person stories collected over a six-year period in 75 communities and 18 U.S. states. The subject of the stories range from homelessness to human trafficking to racism to LGBTQ+ rights and more. Each story is a collaboration between a local writer and local storyteller on a local issue the storyteller has faced. The stories have been brought to life on stages throughout the country to create conversation and community change. Since its founding in Muncie, Indiana, in 2012 by J.R. Jamison and Kelsey Timmerman, The Huffington Post, NPR, the Muncie Journal and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among others, have highlighted the organization.
Jamison and Timmerman indicate that the works of Robert Putnam and others over the last decade have shown a decline in community, and one of the leading factors to the decline is a lack of empathy and understanding of those who are perceived as different. Simply put: People are no longer listening to or trying to understand each other, or how to work together despite differences. They feel the model they developed, of bringing writers and storytellers and actors together in partnership to use narratives to begin community conversations, could help better connect people and create understanding across differences.
Sarah Allison, Head of Archives User Engagement at Ball State University said, “The Facing Project, led by J.R. and Kelsey, represents the great work members of the Muncie community are doing. Preserving the culture and heritage of our community and others, along with the innovation and expansion of this project, is important for future generations. Archives and Special Collections at Ball State University is honored to be the repository of these wonderful stories, and to archive the history of The Facing Project.”
This collection will be archived alongside other community collections, primary source material, and local history archives.
The Facing Project’s collection of stories (online and in print, when applicable) will be available for researchers, historians, and the curious for generations to come. The Facing Project is an active organization, and the collection will continue to grow as more stories are written.
In addition to the collection at Ball State, stories from The Facing Project can be heard on the Indiana Public Radio-produced NPR show “Facing Project Radio,” and found on the organization’s website at www.facingproject.com.
Jamison is a 2001 (B.S.) and 2003 (M.A.) graduate of Ball State. Both Jamison and Timmerman reside in Muncie and regularly work with the university.
About the Facing Project
The Facing Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that connects people through stories to strengthen communities. The organization has connected writers, storytellers, artists, and educators in over 75 communities across the country and provides a model, tools, coaching, and a platform for communities to arm themselves with stories to begin crucial conversations—neighbor to neighbor, community to community—by discussing solutions and exploring healing through their own narratives.
About Archives & Special Collections at Ball State University
Ball State University Library Archives and Special Collections acquires, preserves and provides access to rare and unique primary source and archival material that support the research and instructional needs of students, faculty, national and international scholars, and the general public.
Learn more at www.bsu.edu/academics/libraries/collectionsanddept/archives
Contact: Sarah Allison, firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-765-285-5078