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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

SAPELO VOICES REVISITED: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROJECTS**

Abstract

Far too often, community members and stakeholders from disenfranchised and/or historically disenfranchised groups have very little or no say in how their heritage and legacy is preserved and presented in museums and exhibits. It has been common practice, especially in the early days of the anthropological discipline, for an ethnographer, or a team of ethnographers, to collect the data they need, depart, and extrapolate and conclude findings void of any guidance or input from community members and stakeholders. In contrast, and in the wake of the current paradigm, the Sapelo Voices Revisited project utilizes a different approach to exhibit creation and design. Through community outreach and collaboration, Sapelo Island community members and stakeholders do not only maintain a high degree of agency, but play a key role in determining how the content of interviews recorded during the late seventies to early nineties can be used in an exhibit to showcase their culture and lifeways during the first half of the twentieth century. Thus, as an outsider, my I facilitated this process by reuniting community members and stakeholders with the cassettes’ content. The sections they found to be indicative to key aspects of their heritage served as the content for an exhibit. The Sapelo Voices Revisited project represents how ethnographic and oral history undertakings should be carried out: through the direction and supervision of community members and stakeholders.

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