Beneath Our Skin:
A COVID-19 Vaccination Storytelling Project
The Beneath Our Skin COVID-19 Vaccination Storytelling Project aims to better understand needs and perceptions around what will improve vaccination access and uptake among Vermonters who identify as Black and of African descent. The project will also gather insights into how race may influence attitudes, perceptions and care-giving behaviors of health care providers involved in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations. The projct is led by Clemmons Family Farm, Inc.- an African-American-led nonprofit organization whose mission and niche expertise includes working with Vermont’s Black artists and integrating the arts and storytelling into public health, K12 education, agriculture, conservation, and community building.
Clemmons Family Farm will gather the stories of 100 Black Vermonters and 50 Vermont providers who have given the COVID 19 vaccination to clients who are Black Vermonters. We will use storytelling- and other creative methods with the performing arts or the visual arts- to help people share their COVID 19 vaccination stories. Stories will include the stories of Black Vermonters who are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or not at all vaccinated against COVID-19.
Project participants, who will be recruited from different counties around the state, will opt into either a storytelling session using performing arts (singing, music, poetry) or visual arts (drawing, coloring or collage). The audio-recorded stories and artwork shared by participants who give their written consent will be uploaded as digital files onto the Beneath Our Skin website and with the Vermont Department of Health for public sharing. All stories will be kept anonymous, and the storytelling project team will remove any information from the audio-recorded stories or the artwork- that could inadvertently identify a participant, including altering the audio-recordings of distinctive voices that could be easily identified by listeners.
The Beneath Our Skin COVID-19 Vaccination Storytelling Project sessions will be held throughout the state of Vermont between September and October 2021. All storytelling sessions will be facilitated by Clemmons Family Farm's trained collaborating artists who will provide prompts and support to participants to share their stories and create art. The storytelling sessions are anticipated to last approximately 90 minutes and will include materials and time for participants to create either a performing arts piece or a visual piece about their COVID 19 vaccination experience. A participation stipend of $200 will be provided via Paypal to all participants who complete the sessions, share their stories and artwork, and provide their emails for the Paypal transaction.
The project is funded by the Vermont Department of Health. Watch the 8-minute video overview above to learn more about this exciting project!