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UArizona gets about $1.2 million to help Americans better understand border issues

Part of new project exploring socio-political dynamics
The University of Arizona Borderlands Project US Mexico Border.jpg
Posted at 2:39 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 17:39:26-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Ford Foundation has awarded the University of Arizona $1.18 million for a new project called "Reclaiming the Border Narrative: Storytelling and Cultural Power for Migrant Justice."

This project aims to help Americans better understand border issues through addressing local culture and socio-political dynamics.

The UArizona's Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry (CCI) and University Libraries' Special Collections are involved in the project as well.

They plan on helping people understand what's going on at the border through the creation of a community-led archive which offers a more comprehensive portrayal.

Professor of Latin American and Border Studies and CCI Director Javier Duran Ph.D. believes this is a step in the right direction.

"This project is a wonderful opportunity to change and expand the perceptions about the border region and migration, from one of chaos and peril to one in which all communities, people and cultures are understood, respected and uplifted," Dr. Duran expressed. "We are delighted to be working closely with Special Collections and grateful to the Ford Foundation for their confidence and support."

A CCI spokesperson reveals the archive will have details from more than 40 border-related projects.

Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Katheryne B. Willock Head of Special Collections and co-principal investigator of the project, sees this an opportunity for the UArizona to collaborate with borderland communities.

"This initiative is an opportunity for Special Collections to continue engaging with the borderlands communities and to continue expanding the work of reframing the story and the history through source documentation from those who live, work and serve in the region," Reyes-Escudero shared.

Dean of University Libraries Shan Sutton is confident these funds will help strengthen existing relationships.

"This project creates an important platform for us to build upon our existing partnerships with the Confluenecenter in further establishing the university as a leader in borderlands research through the Border Lab," said Sutton. "Special Collections' contribution includes expertise in applying new ways of documenting and studying the borderlands that enable all of the voices in our region to be heard."

According to the university, the Border Lab brings together more than 70 UArizona scholars engaged in border-related research.

"The Border Lab initiative was created to advance and position the University of Arizona as a top destination for students and faculty pursuing border-related scholarship in global, binational and regional contexts," shared UArizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We are appreciative of this support from the Ford Foundation and look forward to our university becoming the home of one of the most important borderlands archives in the country."

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation helped fund the Confluencenter and Digital Borderlands storytelling project in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. After earning his bachelor's degree from Penn State in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went to New York where he learned production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.