Investigating Where We Live
Visit the IWWL blog for student postings, photos, writing projects, and much more.
Created by the National Building Museum in 1996, Investigating Where We Live (IWWL) is a summer outreach program designed for middle school and high school students ages 12-18 from the D.C. metropolitan area. IWWL participants learn to use creative writing and photography as a means of understanding and describing D.C. neighborhoods. At the end of the program, participants have an opportunity to show what they have learned by creating a museum exhibition that features their insights and work.
In IWWL, participants will:
- Develop photography, writing, and design skills
- Define neighborhoods and examine what influences their appearances
- Learn neighborhood histories
- Collaborate with peers and staff as part of a team
- Create a museum exhibition
In addition to developing these skills, IWWL students enjoy a number of other benefits. In return for their commitment to the program, participants:
- Receive a digital camera
- Develop relationships with professional photographers, designers, museum staff, and fellow participants
- Keep photographs for use in future projects, portfolios, or high school and college applications
- Fulfill community service requirements for school
How does the program work?
IWWL is a 12 session summer program that takes place from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for four weeks. Up to 30 participants are selected each summer. Two optional work sessions are offered to provide participants the chance to work directly in the gallery space. The exhibition planned and produced by the students is on display for six to nine months. This year’s exhibition, Investigating Where We Live: Connecting with Anacostia, explores this historic neighborhood through the themes of diversity, change, and community, and is open until June 9, 2013. Watch this video to learn more about Anacostia and the exhibition.
At the beginning of the program, participants are given an overview of photography before being assigned to three teams. Next, in a series of site visits, teams investigate neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. Documenting its landmarks, major thoroughfares, and commercial and residential areas through digital photographs and writings, students work to gather information about the community’s history and identity. Participants spend the rest of the summer assembling this information to create a museum exhibition of their own design. This exhibition, which is displayed in one of the Museum’s galleries, showcases student photographs, poems, and narratives, and offers their fresh interpretations of the unique character of the city’s communities.
The applications period for the 2013 session is now over. Notification of application status will begin April 15, 2013.
The program dates for the 2013 Investigating Where We Live program are:
June: 25, 26, 27
July: 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24
Applicants must agree to participate in the entire program. More than two unexcused absences may lead to dismissal from the program.
Please contact email@example.com if you have questions, or if you would like to be placed on our mailing list to receive updates.
The Museum seeks professionals and college or graduate students in the fields of photography, design, architecture, urban planning, creative writing, and education to share their expertise with our participants. Volunteers may receive college credits or professional development points for their time. Click here to learn more about volunteering at the Museum. Volunteers for teen programs must be 18 years of age or older.
Students or recent graduates who are interested in a greater commitment to IWWL are invited to apply for an intern position in the outreach department. Interns act as volunteer instructors and assist with the administration of the program. Click here to learn more about internships at the Museum.
Investigating Where We Live is generously supported by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Bloomberg, Clark Charitable Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Tower Companies, and an anonymous donor. Geppetto Catering, Inc. is the official Meal Provider for Teen Outreach Programs at the National Building Museum.