In conjunction with the Traces of Home exhibit, Tom Carr, an archaeologist, and photographer, presents a lecture on looking at homelessness in the urban corridor of the Front Range through the lens of archaeology.
This project is a visual ethnography photographic study of homeless camps in the Front Range urban corridor of Colorado from an archaeological perspective. I first encountered homeless camps during archaeological surveys of urban areas in the late 1990s. Homelessness is a serious social issue, particularly in times of great economic disparity between the rich and the poor. Additionally, homelessness does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone, and it affects everyone. It does not recognize sex, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. Part of my inspiration for starting the Traces of Home project came from the fact that after being unexpectedly laid-off from work, our family was struggling economically, and we received several forms of public assistance. I realized that we were perilously close to not being able to pay for food and shelter. When I started back to work doing archaeological surveys and encountering homeless camps, it was suddenly more personal. Before formally starting to document the camps, I researched ethics guidelines from the American Anthropological Association and recalled my basic ethnographic training. I also met with staff from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to get advice on protocol. I carefully considered how to conduct my project in a respectful and sensitive fashion.
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