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Urban Architecture Lab (2020-2022)

Jeffrey Kruth (Architecture and Interior Design), Elizabeth Keslacy (Architecture and Interior Design), and John Blake (Center for Community Engagement in Over-the Rhine)

The Over-the-Rhine People’s Movement in Cincinnati is a decades-old alliance of community members, activists, non-profit institutions, and scholars. Since the 1960s, the People’s Movement has pursued social, racial, and ecological justice through the formation and operation of non-profit social welfare and advocacy institutions. Unpacking the Archive will collaborate with the People’s Movement to begin a process of preserving their legacy through the formation of an archive. The project will capture community members’ living memories to engage future generations of Cincinnati activists.

Unpacking the Archive was a project-based experiment in applied research and community engagement. Students worked together to produce a participatory exhibition that was  designed as much to present findings as it is to solicit stories and responses from visitors. Students worked with spatial mappings, historical narratives, photography and film, oral histories, and virtual models to design and install an exhibition.  Their work was displayed in Miami University Center for Community Engagement, the Miami University Art Museum, and Cincinnati's Contemporary Center for the Arts.


  • ARC427: The American City since 1944 (Fall 2020)
  • ARC405Z: Writing, Design, and Social Change: Unpacking the Archive (Summer 2021)


  • CAS320: Unpacking the Archive: Futuring Activisim in Over-the-Rhine (Fall 2021)
Various protest signs
A man sitting in front of a box of old newspapers
A room under construction
A photo of protest signs
at says Put an end to school closings in Black and Appalachian neighborhoods stop now