Slate Stories is a project of students and faculty in the Spring 2016 course Documentary Photography, in the Departments of Art and Media & Communication at Muhlenberg College. Throughout the semester, the course focused on the history, culture, and economics of the slate industry in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Within this broad theme, student pairs focused on distinct places and people of the slate belt.
Maggie Zerbe, 2017, Major: Media & Communication, Minors: Art and English
Sara Allison, 2017, Major: Media & Communication, Minors: Creative Writing
Aaron Brandt, 2017, Major: Media & Communication, Minors: Art and Business
Drew Maidmant, 2017, Major: Theatre
Joseph Carracappa, 2016, Major: Film Studies, Minor: Creative Writing
Amanda Quinn, 2017, Major: Media & Communication and Studio Art
*With additional images by Sara Allison and Joe Elliott
Slate Stories was produced in a course team taught by Joseph Elliott (Professor of Art and Lora Taub-Pervizpour (Professor of Media & Communication), with support and collaboration from Greta Brubraker (Instructor of Art) and Aggie Ebrahimi-Bazaz (Assistant Professor of Film Studies). Several photographs from Joseph Elliott’s longstanding work on the slate industry appear in this project. The project website was produced by Lora Taub-Pervizpour.
The course was conducted in association with research and teaching activities of the Architectural Conservation Laboratory, directed by Frank Matero, at the University of Pennsylvania. Graduate students in Professor Matero’s Heritage Conservation Studio are researching the conservation of the slate industry of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Their work is part of a grant project, “Preserving Landscapes of Extraction: The Slate and Cement Industries of Lehigh Valley, PA,” funded by the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Professor Elliott is a consultant on that project.
Mike Piersa, Historian, National Museum of Industrial History. Mike was our primary resource, agent, and guide to the sites we visited in the slate belt. This project could not have been accomplished without Mike’s vast knowledge and generous assistance.