Transcreation Project 2021

The 2021 community-engaged transcreation project has grown out of a reciprocal, creative partnership with the PLEX Neighborhood Association (S. Plymouth-Exchange) and Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19 in southwest Rochester. Specifically, the collaborative project steps up the lobbying effort for a child safety zone designation and local bussing options for students in the Rochester City School District (RCSD) on the ground of equity and true community building.

Community-engaged work is typically built on fieldwork and interactions with community partners via site visits, reflection journals (what, so what, now what), partners’ class visits, interviews, and, depending on the type of the transcreation project, a wealth of photos, video clips, and/or other artefacts generated in the process. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, students learned to interact with our community partners and conducted all research remotely with regard to School 19 and current RCSD bussing policies in comparison to those of neighboring suburban school districts. We’re grateful for the numerous email communications with and two virtual class visits by Moniek Silas-Lee, Principal of Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19, and Melody Bishop, the school’s Community Engagement Coordinator for information, interviews, and a critique session on the transcreation projects in progress. Further support was also rendered by Dorian Hall, vice president of the PLEX Neighborhood Association, John Boutet of Southwest Common Council (SWCC), and Mayor Lovely Warren during her appearance at an SWCC’s Education Committee meeting.

Based on School 19’s specification, students transcreated researched and interview information into a set of awareness materials as shown below. These include a comparative infographic, a PSA (public service announcement) poster, a presentation, and a recruitment flyer to develop the equity- and community-building arguments for local bussing provision for RCSD students. Valerie Tam noted how the designs of her infographic and recruitment flyer were guided by client-specified messages and the intended audience, including families of school-age children within the 1.5-mile range of School 19, Rochester city and RCSD officials, and two New York State senators representing communities in southwest Rochester. Throughout the drafting process of the PSA poster and the presentation, Nan Xie and Lily Snyder Di Cesare, on the other hand, found themselves challenged to become more aware of the unique pitfalls in inter- and intra-cultural translation. Feedback, as they observed, from our community partners proved to be critical to the success of a project seeking to communicate the community’s concerns through a medium that is understandable and palatable for the locale-and-goal-specific audience.