During the Fall 2021 Semester, Martina Dodd, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library’s (RWWL) Program Director of Curation and Object Based Learning, and Tiffany Atwater Lee, RWWL Assistant Head of the Archives Research Center (ARC) partnered with Chad Dawson, Spelman College Professor of Art History & Curatorial Studies, to formulate a Directed Studies project for a Spelman College student interested in archival research and exhibition development. The student, Darshai Hollie, was tasked with 1) creating an exhibition proposal based off the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 2022 theme, Black Health & Wellness; 2) selecting and identifying archival materials from the RWWL ARC collections relevant to the topic; 3) developing an exhibition layout; and 4) creating exhibition text and captions for selected material.
Throughout the fall semester, Hollie, a senior, made multiple research visits to the RWWL Archives Research Center, routinely met with her professor, and had numerous one-on-one sessions with the RWWL archivists and curator to increase her knowledge and skill in archival literacy and exhibition creation. In March 2022, the student installed her exhibition entitled, Health and Wellness within the Atlanta University Center, which is on view for the Spring 2022 Semester in the two far left exhibition cases in front of the ARC.
Below is the exhibition description:
The Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library’s Archive Research Center observes the 2022 Association for the Study of African American Life and History [ASALH] Black History Month theme: “Black Health and Wellness,” through a student-curated exhibition entitled, Health and Wellness within the Atlanta University Center. Darshai Hollie’s selection of archival documents, including photographs, yearbooks, course catalogs, and newspaper clippings emphasizes the history and treatment of mental health at the schools of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) – Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. Health and Wellness within the Atlanta University Center focuses on the impact of mental health in the Black community, specifically the AUC and its community of students, scholars, and medical practitioners.
The exhibit seeks to showcase the activities and initiatives the AUC community took to be mentally and physically well over the last century. The selected resources portray the evolution of mental healthcare at the AUC throughout its history, with particular focus given to the AUC’s development of systems to deal with campus mental health crisis. Examples include college courses developed for students to increase their knowledge of mental and physical health, as well as introducing new services such as mental health clinics and response departments. Health and Wellness within the Atlanta University Center tracks the AUC administration’s reactions and responses to the needs of students in various ways across the different campuses, all while attempting to evolve with societal views on mental well-being and physical health.