An online interactive exhibit of veteran’s memorial body art – tattoos – enabled a group of California veterans to share their experiences of war and homecoming through an innovative form of storytelling that invited the broader public to hear and learn from veterans themselves, and to look at veterans and the veteran experience in a new way. Growing out of Contra Costa County Library’s prior efforts to assist returning veterans, and supporting the library’s mission to serve as a center of community memory and history, the project received initial support through a $10,000 Community Services grant. The exhibit, which launched on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014, has received over 41,000 visits, generated extensive media coverage, and garnered awards and recognition from the library, media, and design communities.
War Ink illustrates how 21st century public humanities programming can make use of new technologies and reflect contemporary cultural forms while maintaining continuity with traditional humanities practices of reading, listening, reflection, and dialogue, in order to illuminate ideas and experiences at the heart of what it means to be human.
This program won a 2015 Schwartz Prize.
Click here to view its submission!