Public exhibit at MSU sheds light on housing insecurity

Contact: Madison Welzbacher

Housing Insecurity in Mississippi Exhibition promotional posterSTARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s School of Architecture is unveiling its newest project to raise awareness about housing insecurity in the state.

The public exhibit, running through March, features narratives of individuals who have experienced or are currently experiencing housing insecurity, as well as those working to address the problem. The presentation is in Giles Hall in the Richard and Charlotte McNeel Gallery, with a roundtable discussion on the final day, March 29 at 4 p.m. in Giles Hall’s Jury Room. The exhibit and concluding roundtable discussion both are free and open to the public.

“It narrates the history of housing insecurity in our state and exposes historic and contemporary issues that lead to the lack of access to a basic human right—an adequate and secure place to live,” said Silvina Lopez Barrera, MSU assistant professor of architecture who co-directed the project along with Kateryna Malaia, also an assistant professor. “Through this project, we hope to shed light on the housing crisis in Mississippi and contribute to future solutions to housing insecurity in the state and beyond.”

Several MSU architecture students collected interviews, photographs, transcripts and drawings as a contribution to the effort, which in its initial stage took the form of a class taught by Lopez Barrera and Malaia in the fall of 2021.

Project collaborators include the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, as well as partnerships with community organizations such as Starkville Strong and the NAACP-Oktibbeha County Branch. Campus sponsors include MSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning and the university’s Office of Research and Economic Development.

The presentation is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.

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Oral histories and architectural documentation were collected and produced by junior and senior architecture students, listed by hometown:

BILOXI—Michael Herndon

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama—Jessica Kiger

CLINTON—Camille Bohannon and Caroline Prather

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama—Sarah Mixon

JACKSON—Sam Marcus

KENNESAW, Georgia—Alysia Williams

MADISON, Alabama—Elisa Castaneda

MERIDIAN—Reagan Douglass

PICAYUNE—Savannah Wilson