Looking Past Skin: Our Common Threads



Looking Past Skin: Our Common Threads

People have been moving throughout Nebraska for thousands of years. Looking Past Skin: Our Common Threads explores the movement of people from the earliest Native cultures to the most recent refugee families. Their rich traditions, unique languages, food, and religions are all part of Nebraska’s story. The University of Nebraska’s Minority Health Disparities Initiative (MHDI), Nebraska Extension, and the Nebraska History Museum have partnered on a four-part exhibit to present sociological, agricultural, and historical perspectives on migration and the more recent demographic shifts in urban and rural parts of the state. A walk through the migration timeline provides a backdrop for additional features on the Karen, Sudanese, and Yazidi communities. The University’s Wall of Windows combines historic and contemporary photographs accompanied by stories from new Nebraskans including Latinos and Somalis living in Dawson County. Ask A Doctor reveals the complexities of speaking a non-native language through a simulated visit to the doctor where a language barrier exists. Food is History explores finding nutritional food and nutrition education in a new country. Funding for Looking Past Skin: Our Common Threads was generously provided by Rural Futures Institute and Humanities Nebraska.

The Installations

Lexington Photovoice Project: A Wall of Insight juxtaposes the contemporary ‘face’ of Nebraska immigration today with historical images of Dawson County’s original European pioneers. All of the current images and narratives are generated by the residents of Lexington through a structured Photovoice process conducted in spring 2017; Lexington Photovoice Project: A Wall of Insight is the “voice” of the community told visually and in conjunction with results of data collected in the research sample (late summer 2017).

"Ask a Doctor?" is an interactive installation dedicated to translating mixed methods rural research into art; art that generates dialogue about the community health in small agriculture-based towns with high immigrant populations. Both installations—Refocusing Agriculture, Immigration & Our Well-being; and “Ask a Doctor?”—create the larger exhibit of Looking Past Skin: Refocusing Immigration, Agriculture, & Our Well-being. Looking Past Skin is the community engagement arm of a larger Rural Futures Institute (RFI) funded HealthVoiceVision research initiative in rural Nebraska.

Questions? Contact kstarlin2@unl.edu.

Looking Past skin partners include: The Lexington Community, The Nebraska History Museum, UNL Extension, Dawson County Historical Museum, Rural Futures Institute, Humanities Nebraska, and the Minority Health Disparities Initiative.