Community Project: Magazine for the African Alliance of RI
February – May, 2017
As a semester-long, engaged scholarship project, I and two classmates in the course “Urban Agriculture” collaborated with the president of the African Alliance of RI (AARI) to write, edit, and design a magazine documenting AARI’s history of partnerships with Brown University classes and students. “Urban Agriculture” is an “engaged scholars” course at Brown University, meaning that all enrolled students pursue a project on behalf of and in collaboration with a community partner.
View the full magazine HERE
(Not to be reproduced without written permission of Francesca Gallo)
After partnering on projects for many years, AARI’s president, Julius Kolawale, proposed to “Urban Agriculture” professor Dawn King that a small group of her students create a magazine for AARI documenting recent projects. Once Professor King selected me and my two classmates for the project, we met with Julius Kolawale to gather information about his goals and vision for this magazine. We also gathered the names and emails of Brown students and alumni who had worked on projects with AARI in recent years with the help of Professor King and the course’s teaching assistant. We then contacted these individuals to conduct interviews and gather photographs and other project materials/documentation.
We conducted semi-structured interviews by email and over the phone with our contacts, based around the particular projects in which we learned they had participated. Questions pertained to the nature of the projects, the then-student’s role in the project, and the outcome of their team’s work. We also followed up with Julius Kolawole about the impact these projects had had for AARI.
My classmates and I collaborated to compile our interview notes. Then, while they composed short articles based on our interviews, I designed the magazine. After gaining Julius Kolawole’s approval on a set of page templates, I crafted individual pages to accommodate articles of varying lengths and edited and selected photographs to present as part of each project’s spread. I also visited the community garden site of one of the ongoing projects and photographed the students and AARI members at-work. I then coordinated the payment for and a first printing of 20 magazines at the end of the semester, and an additional printing over the summer. Julius Kolawole continues to use the magazine as a fundraising and community outreach tool.