Section: Arts

POV celebrates anniversary

POV celebrates anniversary

by Frances Saux

 

The paper booklets stacked against each other last week in Peirce, each with a bright green “5” emblazoned on the cover, mark the fifth anniversary of the Project for Open Voices — part publishing venture and part discussion forum.

Since 2012, the Project for Open Voices has offered an outlet for those who feel voiceless on campus. The organization appeared after Kenyon’s 2012 Martin Luther King Day of Dialogue event, a yearly program intended to spark conversation regarding diversity. Some students thought the event of its goal.

“It was back when the [Black Student Union] room wasn’t that full,” Wanufi Teshome ’16, who now runs the group with Nathan Durham ’17, said. “Kenyon was just beginning to flirt with the idea of diversity.”

A group of faculty, administrators and students met the evening following the Day of Dialogue event to begin a conversation that POV aimed to continue through its weekly discussion meetings and yearly publications of student narratives.

Now, POV prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary on Friday with an open mic at the Horn.

The anniversary edition of the publication contains a section titled “Reflections,” which looks back at POV’s impact on Kenyon’s community. “POV is about sharing our experiences, telling one another stories that are important to our identities and lives, even if — and sometimes especially because — these stories aren’t easy or palatable,” reads a letter from a member of Kenyon’s class of 2014.

As in previous issues, the publication used headers such as “Mental Health,” “Sexual Assault” and “Identity and Self-Expression” to organize the narratives by subject matter, though these categories are by no means restrictive.

“The assumption is that there’s always people who don’t have a space,” Teshome said.

POV solicited several pieces for the publication, including a poem by Brandonlee Cruz ’19. Cruz said he worked on the poem for a long time prior to Teshome’s request. “In a magazine like POV, you’re allowed to get as personal as possible,” Cruz said. “There’s always things that I have to let out.”

Cruz said he plans to perform the same poem at tomorrow’s open mic. When it comes to intimate work, the sharer and the audience develop “a certain trusting relationship, a type of bond that you can create in a short amount of time,” Cruz said.

Teshome said the organization has not hosted an open mic since 2012, although in February the Peer Counselors held a similar event, “The Kenyon Butterfly,” designed for students to share personal narratives.

Like the POV publication, Friday’s open mic at the Horn Gallery will be a space for anyone who would like to participate.

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