The projects on this website were produced by students in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, in cooperation with the people of Harrisburg, Ridgway, Carterville, Cambria, Crainville, Cobden, Alto Pass, Murphysboro and Cairo.
Incorporating the storytelling traditions of oral history and visual documentary, students used audio, still photography and video to capture stories, portraits and moments in the community over the course of one full weekend. The students were invited into schools, businesses, farms, churches, and homes throughout the communities, and spent time with community members as they worked, played, and worshiped.
No single project could ever hope to capture all that is distinctive in a community such as these special southern Illinois towns. What this project offers is a “taste” of the community and a sense of it. A taste of the faces and places that make these communities special, and a sense of the friends and neighbors who help make them the unique place that they are. Our goal is that people viewing and listening to this work now and in the future, will have a true feel of what life is/was like for members of a particular community during a point in time.
This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.