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Thank you to everyone who participated in the Spring's showcase screenings and community conversations.

Now in its tenth year, The Trenton Project is a collaborative documentary investigation of a city. We work in collaboration with residents and institutions to document and amplify the lives and talents of Trentonians as they weave and repair the fabric of a city. For over ten years, we've conducted research, created films, raised questions, gathered archives, told stories and hosted conversations in and about the city of Trenton.

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The Trenton Project, a collaborative documentary investigation, started in Purcell Carson's Princeton University seminar, Documentary Film and the City. We work in partnership with Trenton residents, institutions and community partners to produce short films which together offer a kaleidoscopic lens on the challenges Trenton faces, its ambitions for the future, and the many ways Trentonians are working together to weave and repair the fabric of the city.  
Every year, we produce short student films which have two public screenings: One is a work-in-progress screening on campus and a final public screening. We've shown at Artworks in Trenton, at the Trenton Circus Squad and Westminster Presbyterian Church.  Our first themes looked at housing, employment and the ways community members built safe and nurturing spaces. 
In 2017, Purcell Carson teamed up with historian and professor Alison Isenberg to begin looking at the volatile 1960s  and the changes they brought to Trenton, looking in particular youth activism, the so-called riots of 1968, and the death of one young African-American college student, Harlan Joseph, who was shot by a white police officer.  This collaboration will result in a feature documentary, Harlan B. Joseph Was Here and Professor Isenberg’s book, Uprisings, on the same topic. This work is the product of years of original archival research and teaching, over eighty interviews, and the development of a public digital archive. It is also an exploration of how the medium of film and history cross-pollinate and inform each other. 
The project has fostered a number of cohorts of summer interns over the years. In 2020 and 2021 we hosted interns from universities across New Jersey. The broader goal of all this work is to broaden scholarship about young people, particularly people of color, in the 1960s and the strategies they pursued in response to racial injustice. In 2022, a cohort of students, working with Passage Theater and Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School, created a film about the desegregation of the school.
The Trenton Project has also been working with the city’s Latinx population—specifically Guatemalans from Salcajá, the city of origin for many of the newest Trentonians.  That work is producing fresh suites of student films, a collaboration with filmmakers in Guatemala, and a feature documentary, La Vida No Termina / Life Does Not End, about the long-term impact of migration on two cities in the Americas.
The Trenton Project is a production of the Program in Urban Studies, the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities, the School for Public and International Affairs and the Program in Community Engaged Scholarship. Our work on the 1960s is also generously funded by the 250th Fund in Innovative Undergraduate Education, the Princeton Histories Fund, and SPIA in New Jersey. Alison Isenberg's book is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.  We're honored to have received recognition from the New Jersey Historical Commission.   The Princeton LABS program funded early work in Guatemala.
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9 May 2024 · 6 to 8
Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture

Princeton University

Free and Open to the Public!



We welcome your comments and ideas either on our Facebook page or directly:

Purcell Carson | acarson [at]

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