Lenses Collective

Lenses Collective is a collaborative photography and writing program for seniors (55+) and youth (middle and high school students) in the East Lansing community. The 7-week program is designed to bring youth and seniors together to explore generational perspectives and experiences through dialogue, creative writing, and photography.

Beginning October 2018, up to twenty participants will meet for two hours a week in the East Lansing Public Library. Sessions will include an activity that sparks discussion around a theme (i.e. identity, life stories), time for small group dialogue, and a photography-based activity through which participants share their experiences. As the program progresses, we’ll focus on participants’ collective artistic projects. This will be achieved largely through the creative processes of photography and writing where participants are encouraged to express their life experiences, desires, and imagined futures.

We believe that the greatest opportunities for sustained learning and growth lie in meaningful relationships built amongst the diverse group of participants.
Therefore, several hours will also be set aside for community building activities and structured dialogue aimed at creating lasting, meaningful relationships across generations.

The project will culminate in a collaborative art exhibition opening at the library and eventually traveling to various venues throughout the community.​

In this pilot program we aim to:
- create opportunities for dialogue and engagement between a diverse group of youth and seniors in the EL community
- create an intensive writing and photography curriculum that can be shared with schools and libraries across MI
- create a traveling exhibition comprised of photographs and writing developed by the participants
- spark public discussion on intergenerational community-building
- donate cameras to the library for use on future community collaborations
- publish a picture book of participants’ work

Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (November 2018)