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A Photo Collage of Your Hometown

How do you see your hometown? Try this exercise to renew your relationship with the place that sustains you on a daily basis.

Union Station Centennial Kansas City (unionstation.org)

Union Station centennial celebration in Kansas City - one of the city's iconic places. Kansas City

is the hometown of The Coordinates Society.

For this mindful geography practice you are tasked with taking a closer look at your hometown and building a photo collage of its important/essential places for YOU. We often take our daily lives for granted - moving through our hometowns just to get from point A to point B without actually seeing the town itself. The way the light falls on a tree in a park, the ways the cars line up outside the grocery store, or the best restaurant that only you know about.

'Doing' geography is, in part, about learning to see the everyday with fresh eyes - or what some refer to as beginner's mind. You want to approach your hometown as if you have just arrived - what are the sounds? the colors? the buildings? What catches your eye and makes you want to know more?

You will need: a camera of any kind, printed images or digital collage apps (free for all platforms: piZap, Instagram Layout, web-based - PhotoCollage or PicMonkey).

  1. Plan some time to visit different areas of your hometown.

  2. Is there a downtown or a true center? Is it a financial powerhouse or a thriving Main Street? Or a dispersed community?

  3. Where are the east, south, west, north areas? Use your camera to document how they might be different from the center.

  4. What are the 'tourist' hotspots? Even if you don't think your hometown has any - what might you say are the 'highlights' of your hometown?

  5. What are your spots? Include your own house/apartment/dwelling in this section. Is your own home representative of your hometown - why or why not? How could you show this visually?

  6. Review your collection of photographs and try and pick out about nine (this makes for a balanced collage grid of 3x3).

  7. Spend some time rearranging your final selection in different orders - by importance to you, by how you might drive through the city, by oldest to newest, etc. Which layout reflects a story about your relationship to your hometown? Perhaps one order shows how you learned about your hometown, perhaps another shows where you celebrated special moments. Perhaps you would like to put together several collages.

  8. Reflect on how this exercise has gotten you to consider your relationship to your hometown.

  9. Talk with your family, friends, and neighbors about their views - how do they compare to yours?

  10. Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments section!

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