Enroll now! APH 5860 Social Documentary: Community, Compassion, and Activism

Photography is the underpinning of this project. All media and disciplines within this universe city are invited to enroll and collaborate as we are all image-makers and we are all striving to be conscious participatory citizens.


  • Fall 2017 APH 5860 Social Documentary: Community, Compassion, and Activism
  • Tuesday and Thursday 6:30-9:15 p.m., Old Main, Room 4342
  • Instructor: Marilyn Zimmerwoman

This class will explore and collaboratively create a fluid time-space past-present narrative and social architectural walkabout of Woodward Avenue holding the stories and images from public historical archives, individuals’ snapshots and memories, and images from collectives and communities creating a civic media family album. Additionally, we will widen the representation by retrieving and documenting missing or absent historical narratives of specific sites and personal experiences, thus making a historical and contemporary narrative of diverse voices closer to our collective cultural identity.

Stage one is building from a photographic survey of every building on Woodward Avenue from the foot of Woodward to Eight Mile Road, made by Detroit commercial photographer Jack Kaufman with a Hasselblad film camera in 1963, as in the conceptualist model of Ed Ruscha’s 1966 book “Every Building on Sunset Strip.” Students are invited to anchor their own narrative to a specific location and build historical, present and future imaginations augmenting their personal identity and mythology and that of the collective civic identity.

Stage two is investigating and developing new media research tools of digital eco-systems, with the goal of creating a sustainable interactive walkabout Woodward Avenue website whose mapping will serve local communities and global audiences. We are all interconnected with a horizontal power system committed to augmenting civic participation, fostering public digital inclusion; informed by social justice and new design technologies that amplify hidden voices and means of constellating communities.

For further information please contact zimmerwoman@wayne.edu.

Marilyn Zimmerwoman received a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History teaching photography, and Artist in Residence for the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. 

“Detroit’s world-class art community was the “best kept secret of the country” in 1981 when I first arrived here to accept my teaching post, and now it is a growing and global cultural epicenter as artists from around the world migrate here seeking new paradigms. The 1967 rebellion and people’s remembrances are at the fore of news. We are poised to celebrate the 2018 Sesquicentennial Commemoration of Wayne State University. A diversity of voices is crucial for telling the truth of the narrative. This growing reclamation of stories told through photographs shall build a sustainable civic family album for future celebrations via the humanitarian evolution of civic media.”  --Marilyn Zimmerwoman

150 years in the heart of Detroit