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Community Engagement Incentive Grant: Katherine Ambroziak

Odd Fellows Cemetery Demarcation Studies

UT classes were done for the year, but students and faculty were still hard at work,  meeting the mayor for a community presentation and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Funded in part by a UT Outreach Incentive Grant, a carefully researched prototype for a cemetery wall was unveiled at the ceremony, the new wall being an integral component of the Odd Fellows Cemetery and Potters Field Rehabilitation Project.

The ceremony marked the latest stage of a community engagement project that already has been several years in the making.

Photos: Katherine Ambroziak

The rehabilitation project represents a long-term partnership between the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, UT’s College of Architecture and Design, the City of Knoxville, and the Knoxville Re-Animation Coalition (KRC), a grass roots community organization in East Knoxville.

The wall was designed by service-learning students in a spring course taught by Matt Hall, a lecturer in architecture. The wall forms part of a memorial landscape that supports community memory and strengthens neighborhood social structure.

The students built two mock-up walls in a park adjacent to the cemeteries, which were then presented to the public (the fourth such meeting for the Rehabilitation project).  The segment of cemetery walls were built so they may be reviewed by both city and community.

Photos: Katherine Ambroziak

“It has been our obligation and privilege throughout the process to involve the community, through research questionnaires, public design meetings, and engagement in cemetery survey opportunities,” says overall project coordinator Katherine Ambroziak, an assistant professor of architecture at UT.

“We support not only the community as we move the project ahead, but we support our students as they learn… and impress upon them how design decisions may directly impact the nature of a public space.”