Precious Places Community History Project seeks neighborhoods

Posted by on April 20, 2009

‘Precious Places’ documents Philadelphia, Camden neighborhoods

Precious Places Community History Project, a project of Scribe Video Center. is a community oral history project inviting members of Philadelphia’s many neighborhoods to document the buildings, public spaces, parks, landmarks and other sites that hold the memories of our communities and define where we live.

This is a critical time for neighborhoods, as many are undergoing significant change. Previous Precious Places participants chose subjects as diverse as a beloved jazz club, a hundred-year-old tree, a forgotten cemetery, and the Underground Railroad. Neighborhood groups in Camden and Philadelphia are encouraged to apply.

This year, 10 neighborhood groups will collaborate with a research consultant and an experienced filmmaker in documenting their neighborhood. These facilitators will provide training on oral history and documentary production, but the community group members will plan, research, write and record their film. On September 9th, each group will spend an entire day shooting footage in the neighborhood, including interviews and documenting selected sites or events. Finally, after editing their video, each group will be invited to show their work at a gala premiere organized by Scribe.

Producing a documentary video is a chance to honor the local experience, and to become the author, not just the subject of your neighborhood’s history.

In addition, community groups can learn the skill of producing oral history to uncover the rich stories that make up our past. Finally, the project is a valuable opportunity to make us aware of our diverse neighborhoods and the development policies that often render certain ‘precious places’ out of existence.

Community Groups are invited to apply.  Scribe is looking for groups that have the time and capacity to produce a video, in neighborhoods that have buildings or other public places which hold an important community memory, are in danger of being lost, and/or help define the neighborhood.  Scribe is also looking for neighborhoods experiencing a transition in housing prices, population or landscape and neighborhoods with stories that will have an impact and be of interest to the public at large.

This year, Scribe will prioritize groups in South Philadelphia, Olney, Logan, East & West Oak Lane, West Philadelphia, Camden and Northeast Philadelphia.

For an application form, click here ( or call Corey Chao at 215-222-4201.

Application Deadline is Friday, May 1, 2009

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