Valandra Wins Prestigious Whiting Public Engagement Seed Grant

Valandra, associate professor of social work and African and African American Studies
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Valandra, associate professor of social work and African and African American Studies

Valandra, an associate professor jointly appointed in the School of Social Work and African and African American Studies at the U of A, received a prestigious Whiting Public Engagement Seed Grant. 

According to the Whiting Foundation, the $10,000 grant is designed to support public-facing humanities projects at an earlier stage of development than the Public Engagement Fellowship – a larger, $50,000 grant – “when resources can enable planning, help deepen relationships with collaborators or support smaller-scale pilot projects.”

The title of Valandra’s winning proposal was “African American Oral Histories and Placemaking in Washington & Pulaski Counties.” She will work in partnership with long-term Black residents of Washington and Pulaski Counties, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the Washington County Community Remembrance Project, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Fayetteville Public Library, Arkansas Soul, Visionairi Enterprises and the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement. 

Their goal is to collect, digitize, illustrate and disseminate histories of Black life in the two counties that include EJI memorial markers honoring victims of racial terror lynchings. These narratives of placemaking will trace migration patterns, cultural interchange and the experiences of both racial struggle and resilience. In addition to creating a website to host these stories, the project team will design an exhibition and educational materials to disseminate them more widely. 

"I would like to thank the Whiting Foundation for its vote of confidence in this oral history project,” Valandra said of the honor. “I look forward to collaborating with the group of stellar community partners to amplify the lives of African Americans living in Washington and Pulaski Counties.”

The Whiting Foundation was created by Flora Ettlinger Whiting -- a New York investor, collector and philanthropist with a lifelong commitment to culture -- upon her death in 1971. The foundation provides targeted support for writers, scholars and the stewards of humanity’s shared cultural heritage.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.


Valandra, associate professor
School of Social Work

Hardin Young, assistant director of research communications
University Relations


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