In 2013, The Cincinnati Project (TCP) was founded upon the idea of linking marginalized or disadvantaged people in the Cincinnati area with researchers and scholars in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The organization partners academics with citizens in order to identify possible projects that may directly benefit the community. TCP’s projects come from conversations that began in the local community.
“[People in the community] come to us with a need and we try to connect them with the right people in the college to help them do what they want to do,” said Jennifer Malat, divisional dean of social sciences in the UC College of Arts and Sciences and the co-director of TCP.
Malat co-founded TCP with sociology professor, Earl Wright II.
Now, TCP is leading a slew of projects across the community. Some projects occur through partnerships with UC courses where a professor helms a project, and the class will work with the community partner. Professors take on their own projects, graduate students take on projects and even a group of faculty and students from different departments will work together on a single project.
In March of 2019, a group of faculty and student worked together to create an exhibit, “Women of color and the struggle for justice.”
Among current projects, TCP Fellow Erica Page is working with a local non-profit that offers performing art literacy programs. Page has assisted in designing a program to help lessen the impact of poverty and abuse in children.
A group of faculty and community partners are working to create an equity audit and climate assessment for the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, in an effort to expand inclusion.
Graduate assistant Elaina Johns-Wolfe is working with her students in her urban society sociology course to partner with Housing Opportunity Made Equal (HOME) and Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio to further understanding of eviction in the Cincinnati area.
Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio reached out to Malat and said they needed help understand how many people were getting evicted in Cincinnati and in what neighborhoods to help provide people better services. Malat knew of Wolfe’s class and was able to connect the two for collaboration.
“The question came from these community group’s efforts and then leveraged into all sorts of policy change at the city level,” Malat said. “There are a bunch of projects going on in large part because of the classroom projects that are happening.
In March, TCP will be hosting a symposium focusing on housing in Cincinnati.
“We wrapped up last year’s symposium and the exhibit focused on the experiences of women of color and looking to the future, we are looking to examine housing and displacement in Cincinnati,” Malat said. “The symposium this spring kicks off that focus.”