The Art of Regional Change » Project


Up from the Understory brought together Blue Mountain community members with UC Davis scholars and students to document how rural communities can create local jobs, sustain the rivers and forests, and build a stronger sense of connection to each other and their place.

Through a series of multimedia workshops, Blue Mountain youth learned to produce photographs, a blog, and short videos that explore how the area’s residents are working to recover from social and economic decline. The youth worked alongside recruited adults to profile their personal stories as community advocates, environmentalists, Native American leaders, small business owners, and elected officials. Together, young people and their adult “storyteller” created short digital profiles on a range of community renewal efforts. The stories were screened in Blue Mountain and at UC Davis. Screenings were followed by discussions to raise awareness on local issues and actions as well as identify steps the community could take to sustain local change efforts.

Four UC Davis faculty, drawn from the humanities, social, and environmental sciences, participated in the project. They contributed to the project blog, led a community mapping workshop, hosted a campus tour for the youth, and worked with a team of university students and community leaders to make a companion video that provided historical context to the youth-produced revitalization stories.