Professor's fellowship will fund film series on LatinX workers

John Arroyo

UO assistant professor John Arroyo is one of this year’s recipients of a $50,000 Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship, which he will use to create series of short documentary films on the history and housing of migrant Latinx workers in Oregon.

Arroyo is a professor of engaging diverse communities in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management in the UO’s College of Design. He also directs the Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice at the UO, which was created with a $4.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation last year.

The Whiting Public Engagement Program awarded six fellowships and five seed grants nationally to scholars working collaboratively on humanities projects that address community challenges in the U.S. The program awarded a total of $350,000 in new grants this year.

Arroyo and a team at Casa y Comunidad will use the grant to create films about individual Latino workers, using their oral histories through generations combined with the work of scholars and other experts. According to the grant announcement, the project “will trace how new waves of both documented and undocumented migration has affected the area’s culture and economy, including a growing housing shortage with dire consequences for the workers and the region.”

“Specific segments of the series will highlight topics ranging from wildfire recovery to inter-generational housing to land use challenges,” wrote Daniel Reid, executive director of the Whiting Foundation. “Each episode will center on one family or individual, incorporating on-site filming to capture their personal housing history along with interviews with other experts to provide regional and historical context.”

Arroyo’s research focuses on the spatial, political and cultural dimensions of ethnic and racial demographic shifts. He received a doctorate in urban planning, policy, and design as well as a master’s in city planning and a certificate in urban design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, he was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Latino Studies at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.