Book Title: Heritages of Change: Curatorial Activism and First-Year Writing

Author: Kisha Tracy

Book Description: In first-year writing courses, it can often feel that we practice writing and research in a vacuum. Writing is about communication, and, if we do not feel that we have an audience, then it can seem like our writing has no purpose (even though practice of any kind will help us develop these skills). Heritages of Change: Curatorial Activism and First-Year Writing is a method for students to think about the social changes that were prevalent during the COVID years and remain important in their wake. Heritages of Change is a lens for thinking and writing about these ideas. Through curation and exhibition as an act of activism, students focus on a specific audience with whom they can communicate authentically about this dynamic world.

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Book Information

Book Description

Maura Reilly defines curatorial activism as “the practice of organizing art exhibitions with the principle aim of ensuring that certain constituencies of artists are no longer ghettoized or excluded from the master narratives of art.” We can expand that definition to include not only “art” but also “cultural heritage” more broadly. When first-year writing students engage in curatorial activism, they directly address marginalization and related issues, giving them an opportunity to explore not only the heritage of these issues but their own stances, experiences, and beliefs while also delving into curation and exhibit-making. More importantly, this approach emphasizes how writing can address those issues and seek to rectify exclusions from cultural heritage spaces. Students can begin to understand the impact that their writing can have on others and what they can convey when they write both effectively and passionately.

This textbook, Heritages of Change: Curatorial Activism and First-Year Writing, includes principles of writing and information literacy through the lenses of curatorial activism, cultural heritage, and curation/exhibition. Heritage topics that students are introduced to include (but are not limited to): anti-racism, #MeToo, indigenous peoples, women/gender/LGBTQIA+, climate change, etc. They gain a broader understanding of cultural heritage and heritages of change, particularly disability heritage, in general in order to apply the concepts through their writing. This textbook presents these topics, but more specifically how to communicate about and research them.


Kisha Tracy



Cross-cultural / Intercultural studies and topics


Heritages of Change: Curatorial Activism and First-Year Writing
Kisha Tracy
Erin Linn
Primary Subject
Cross-cultural / Intercultural studies and topics
Additional Subject(s)
Creative writing and creative writing guides, Teaching of reading, writing and numeracy, History and Archaeology
Fitchburg State University
ROTEL (Remixing Open Textbooks with an Equity Lens) Project
Publication Date
January 12, 2024