PolicyLink commissioned photographer and artist Chris Johnson to develop a creative documentation project about the work of the six organizations in the Community Development Investments program. This project was envisioned as a complement to the more traditional social science research methodology of the core research and documentation project and offers an alternative and creative way to measure community-based change. Early in this process, Chris reviewed the research and learning agenda for the project and was drawn to the personal meaning that the Community Development Investments-supported projects might have for individuals in their communities, including but not limited to, staff, volunteers, residents, and community leaders. Chris has traveled to each of the communities and has interviewed dozens of individuals for this project.

His video project captures the personal meaning that working with artists and arts and culture organizations have had for individuals involved in the projects. It consists of seven videos about personal meaning based on conversations Chris had with people who are connected in some way to the projects. The videos (featured below) are accompanied by a research brief on creative documentation (featured in the sidebar).

Chris Johnson is an award-winning artist whose photography and multimedia projects have been seen in over 35 museums and community arts venues across the country. His seminal project “Question Bridge: Black Males” is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. Chris is a Professor of Photography at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California. He is also a former chair of the City of Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission.