Tulane University – PWAU Project Page

Click here to learn more about the grant and view all InSights grant winners




RightSights - Tulane University

Grantee: Laura Murphy
Title: Professor of Social Entrepreneurship


RightSights is an interactive photographic experience and documentation project developed by SISE students and faculty to run at (1) the 50th anniversary of the Free Southern Theater (FST: a convening organized by Junebug Productions attracting artists, producers, and activists from around the country) and campus events including (2) the Tulane TEDxTU 2013. The SISE “design thinking” fall 2013 class developed the instant photo portrait experience for attendees to snap portraits and caption them with a story. The portraits from FST share the legacy and landscapes of civil rights activism (FST) and for TEDXTU: share our vision of the future we can create. The physical instant photos are shared in these public venues on and off Tulane’s campus and are being digitized (for other uses) and returned to owners. The goal of this project is to share stories of the heroes of the Civil Rights movement and incite other change-makers --from past, present and future-- through their future stories. SISE and other TU students and participants enrich their empathetic, observational photographic eyes and practical skills.


What is your idea for the InSights project?

Our idea is RightSights, an interactive photographic experience to engage participants at the 50th Anniversary of the Free Southern Theater -- Talkin’ Revolution. The RightSights project engages Tulane SISE design-thinking students (SISE 3010, fall 2013) with diverse types and uses of photography as a tool for research and empathy in the design process, and for creative, personalized outreach to encourage the self-reflection and political and social awareness that is needed for change. The project involves Tulane students, staff and faculty at different events. Activities took place on-campus in our studio and public forum, and off- campus in New Orleans. Our design team (aka, the class) will adapt the Photobooth concept: i.e., the physical set-up, equipment, printing, marketing, community engagement, and ethical concerns in storytelling and distribution of images. Attendees will be invited to snap a portrait and caption them with a story to share the legacy and landscapes of civil rights activism, seen their past, present, and future (changemaker) lenses. We will print photos on-site, share them, and accumulate a gallery. This project will cultivate visual-thinking and design skills for budding changemaker students, and help address Junebug Productions with event documentation and creative materials.


What is the story that you will convey through the project? How do you hope people will think or act differently as a result of your project?

Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement and change-makers from the 1960s to present, and where we are going -- through the experiences the 1960s-era Free Southern Theater (FST, and its successor of Junebug). We hope to capture the bravery, resilience, and fortitude of pioneers of FST. The difference:  Students RightSights –their photographic eyes and skills will enriched by creative and empathetic techniques. The RightSights physical photobooth will help attract attendance Talkin' Revolution and connect town and gown. For our partners: Junebug will gain new resources, skills and materials to support their work, helping position Junebug as innovators/entrepreneurs and changemakers.  An online and hard copy catalog will benefit university and community partners. We want to spark dialogue around the legacy of rights/power for social transformation; documenting community participation helps us navigate and understand ourselves in order to reach an actionable vision of the future. 


How are you going to create an event that brings together people from different disciplines and backgrounds?

RightSights is a transdisciplinary project of a Tulane class and community partnership. We are led by an trained engineer/planner (Murphy) and dance professor (Hayley), with students from economics, anthropology, and working closely with Junebug’s dancers and artists engaged in community change. The SISE program spans academic schools--public health, liberal arts, architecture, law. Through social networks we will invite even more (diverse) faculty, students, staff and community members to participate in Talkin Revolution and visit the RightSights photobooth and gallery.  Artists, producers, activists from around the country will descend on New Orleans to join Junebug’s celebration. 


Laura Murphy

Laura Murphy and Barbara Hayley are two of Tulane University’s seven professors of Social entrepreneurship, helping to build the undergraduate program in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SISE). We teach Design Thinking for Collective Impact (a required course for undergraduates). Murphy is adapting design thinking for graduate students; as international development professor, she has worked around the world and enjoys off-the-beaten path adventures.  Hayley is professor of dance (Dept. of Theatre and Dance), a creative cultural development dance artist/facilitator with international choreographic works that span concert to site specific and community-based venues.  As a SISE professor, Hayley brings creative/arts based and place-based intersection to the design-thinking system, curriculum, and student consciousness. She is a long-time partner of Junebug Productions, community partner for this project.  Stephanie McKee, performance artist, activist, organizer, and successor of John O’Neal, founding artistic director emeritus, artistically directs Junebug Productions.

What expertise and experience equips you to lead this project?

Murphy and Hayley teach design-thinking together: Murphy leads the training in the DT process, having taught DT in various formats. She also has experience with community fieldwork on three continents. Hayley leads the community partnership angle, is an FST and Junebug champion, and is dancer, producer, director, facilitator, and educator focused on arts and community change in New Orleans and abroad for decades. Our TA (Maille Faughnan) is a facilitator and scholar of culture and development (and a dancer). None of us are professional photographers; we have a deep interest in using the form to support design- thinking education. Our partnership with Junebug Productions enriches the larger goal of cultivating changemakers. Students are learning to “see” through ethnographic immersion and using photography to document and share what they learn-- as part of their design-thinking class, so they can bring these skills to this and the next challenge.


What are your ideas for keeping the dialogue and community going?

RightSights builds on our  (especially Hayley’s) strong collaboration with Junebug; they will get training and the materials for their work.  We can create booklets and portraits for instruction, to promote awareness (of Talkin Revolution, PhotoWings, and Ashoka U). We hope the photos can help raise revenues for Junebug. At NO Fringe festival, we will present a curated selection of RightSights images. Junebug also presents Carpetbag Theatre of Knoxville, TN at this event, and our team can help document it.  A print and digital catalog will help university and community partner. Students will develop their RightSights–more informed, critically aware photographic eye --to use and appreciate photographs for changemaking.  We will use photo-based skills of observation, empathy-building, and analysis in our “DT” class. This core SISE class is taught regularly. Instructors will be better equipped to teach photographic thinking (a TOT model).