Brief Project Details

The “Amplify!” project features photographic images of current students and recent graduates from NCSSM who will be voting for the first time in the election this fall or in 2020. It also excerpts from conversations with students about their views on voting, why their voice matters and their visions for the future.  

Portraits will hang at NCSSM, outdoors in Alley 26, and in the lobby of Durham City Hall—the physical hub of municipal government. 

The images will be unveiled as a part of Third Friday Downtown on October 19. During this opening event, students will have a photo campaign and idea board so that community members can become part of the project. There will also be an opening reception in the ETC on NCSSM's campus on Thursday, November 8 from 6-8. We invite the community to join us and participate in discussions about voting and important issues. 

The students will also attend a Durham City Council meeting to be recognized by Mayor Steve Schewel. 

This website includes a variety of information and materials: the official portraits, the community photo campaign, and additional resources for students and others to use as they research various issues the students identified as important. Visitors to the site can also find resources to become engaged in those issues, to volunteer, and to extend the community conversation.

Project Goals

Our project hopes to amplify the voices and perspectives of young people in the Durham community; foster a conversation between older and younger generations; offer the community a vision of the priorities of young people and the problems they believe should be addressed as they enter adulthood and a more formal civic participation; validate the voices of young people, regardless of their political and social perspectives, as politically pertinent and worthy of consideration in the electoral process; offer a platform for additional young residents to present their own perspectives through a web-based submission campaign; encourage community members to learn more about the issues voters face; and encourage students to engage in direct action by volunteering with community organizations.

Project Focus

The focus of this catalytic and collaborative project is to present and amplify the perspectives of young residents. These perspectives are focused on the broad community and national and global issues that these voters and future voters feel are important to address, not partisan politics or endorsements of specific candidates. The issues at the center of the project are defined by the students who are featured and who helped design the art and project. More broadly, the project seeks to validate the perspectives of young people in the community and engage the community in conversation about their concerns and ideas. In a larger sense, we hope this project contributes to Durham and the Triangle growing as a vibrant community of critical thinkers, inspired innovators, and lifelong learners.

Given the exponential growth Durham has experienced and continues to experience, we think that the art, panels, and online component will allow residents of and visitors to Durham to think about and engage intentionally with the future leaders of our town, state, and nation. North Carolina is also at the center of the national political and cultural conversations regarding the direction of the country. Having art, panels, and online submissions in public spaces in Durham and at NCSSM center our students in this conversation and, we hope, inspire community members to participate in that conversation. This type of organic and catalytic engagement allows students’ voices to matter in the larger community sphere and conversations.



Project Team

Thanks to these sponsors for their support of the photography exhibit and Community campaign portions of this project

More about the team

NCSSM Humanities Instructor Liz Peeples, who is the primary director of the project team, says, "Ideally, seeing faces and words of future leaders will engage residents about how to widen our own compassion and validate more voices in conversations about the future." 

Liz Peeples is in her 22nd year of teaching high school in NC. In her teaching, Liz holds the students at the center and encourages community involvement, lifelong learning, and empathetic curiosity. Since 2008, Liz has been a Humanities Instructor at NCSSM. There, she teaches American Studies and Women’s Studies. 

Stacey Poston is a policy nerd and has observed that municipal government can be nimble, flexible, and innovative. She believes voting is one of the most important things residents of a community can do because every vote really does count—she knows this firsthand because her father won a mayoral election in Bradenton, Florida, by 23 votes. Stacey has been with the City for sixteen years and is currently the Special Projects Manager with the City of Durham, General Services Department, where she works within the Real Estate division on development projects, placemaking, and public art. 

Marco Allen, Emile Charles, Leo Jimenez, Lindsey Mancini, Rachel Niemira, Abdul-Rakeem Yakubu, and Anna Yokote are all seniors at NCSSM. They all are excited to inspire change within their community.

Project photographers are Kim Gray and Logan LaBo. Kim is a local artist who has lived in Durham since 2003. She has two passions in life—photography and kayaking. Kim has been doing photography since 1984, when she wandered around Washington, DC, looking for subjects to photograph. Nowadays, Kim can either be found paddling around local waterways or drinking fizzy water at her favorite watering holes in Durham. She became involved with the project to help empower youth and assist them in finding a voice in civic matters. She believes that “understanding the power of voting to make change is vital to a thriving and representative democratic society.” Logan is a senior studying Graphic Design at the College of Design at NC State University in Raleigh, NC, and a practicing graphic designer and photographer. He helped to found Street Meet Organization, a photography club at NC State, in 2016. He’s primarily interested in design, photography, urban culture, politics, and activism. He’s excited to use his photography to amplify youth voices and engage in community projects. 

Taylor Cashdan, the graphic designer on the project, is a Raleigh-based multidisciplinary creative and community builder passionate about people, design, and all the intersections in between. He got involved with the project when Liz asked him for help (they’ve known each other since 2006 when Taylor joined the staff member of Wakefield High School’s newspaper, for which Liz was the advisor). Taylor currently serves as the Director of Uniting People for the Raleigh Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.