Porch Places, Street Spaces documents and advocates for the deeply traditional and emergent creative ways Philadelphians utilize space on porches, stoops, roofs and streets to carry out cultural practices integral to everyday life. Emblematic of local folk character, these public/private intersections are sites of community connections, but recent regulatory policy and gentrification create upheaval, changing the ways these spaces are navigated.
COVID-19, in particular, imposes numerous residual effects. Although porch culture has always been important in Philadelphia, with more people now working from home, porches are increasingly important sites for personal expression and social engagement. Documentation of these folklife practices offer potential models for asserting identity, reclaiming space, and rehoming displaced cultural practices. This community-driven project will train fieldworkers, engage in documentation, and create an interactive online platform that depicts how diverse local populations put folklore to work in shared spaces.
The idea for Porch Places, Street Spaces was born out of the ongoing concerns and work by our long-standing community partners to sustain vital and beloved aspects of neighborhood folklife. These concerns resonate as recurring themes in PFP’s work. The project will take place in four stages: training, documentation, virtual/in-person exhibition, and public programming.