Writers Room is a university-community literary arts program engaged in creative placemaking and art for social justice. The mission of Writers Room is to develop inclusive, intergenerational, co-creative places that foster connection and community. When all stories are valued, emerging and more experienced writers can recognize and share in each other’s gifts.
A College of Arts and Sciences initiative, Writers Room originated in 2014. We began our co-created programming at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, Drexel’s urban extension center located along the edge of the University’s campus at the border of the Mantua and Powelton neighborhoods of West Philadelphia. During the past four years, with the help of our members—a diverse intergenerational group of community residents and Drexel students, faculty, staff, and alumni—Writers Room has developed a rich calendar that includes term-long classes, visiting writers, cultural events, and monthly workshops. In fall 2016 we hosted NEA Big Read, a 7-week/20-event festival inspired by the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston that drew 800+ participants. In May 2017, WR was named a finalist for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund for an anti-displacement project—a Writers House that provides not just room for public programming but a cooperative living home for students and residents. In fall 2017, we launched our space in MacAlister Hall, a studio open to all and home to the TRIPOD writers-in-residence program.