In 2010, images stormed the internet of people from New Orleans with words written on their skin.

If you go

What: Dear World live at UTC

When: 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16; 7 p.m. show; 8 p.m. after-party and portrait shoot

Where: Roland Hayes Concert Hall, Fine Arts Center

Admission: Free to all UTC students, faculty and staff

Information: Visit Dear World’s website here for more information

The Dear New Orleans movement, where residents and celebrities used Sharpies to write love letters to their city on their hands and arms, quickly evolved into the wider Dear World, an internationally recognized portrait and storytelling project.

Now, Dear World is coming to UTC for one night.

The project has captured 70,000 stories from presidents, celebrities and students; it has visited hundreds of college campuses around the world, bringing the immersive storytelling experience to help others find their voice and connect with friends, colleagues and strangers.

“We sit next to people in class every day. We work with people every day. We call someone our best friend and there are stories that we don’t know about these individuals,” says UTC Assistant Director for Residence Education Martha Matlock. “I hope that, in this climate, that we’re able to see past who we think we see, to dig deeper into forming those authentic relationships and conversations with people.”

Matlock, one of the driving forces behind the Dear World event, hopes that Mocs will leave the event “inspired, motivated and encouraged to go below the surface.”

While watching others share moments that defined who they are, UTC students, faculty and staff can get to know their fellow Mocs, and be inspired to share their own story. Check out Dear World’s video and follow along with #DearUTC.


The Process

Want a quick preview of the process?

Stop by the Tennessee Room in the University Center from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Nov. 16 to capture your story early with their open photo shoot.

During the day on Thursday, Nov. 16, The Dear World team will be set up for anyone to stop by for individual storytelling and portraits. The team works with participants to find memories that are part of their story, and provides photographers to help participants express their memories through portraits. Learn more about the Dear World process here.

Thursday night’s event includes an interactive keynote speech, where portraits and stories from UTC will be featured. Following the show, the audience will be asked to share their own stories. The Dear World team, including photographers and storytellers, will be on-site to help everyone through the process.

Dear World at UTC is supported with special funding from the Office of the Provost and is sponsored by Housing and Residence Life, the Equity and Diversity Office, Campus Activities Board, Multicultural Services, Student Programs and Services Fee, and WISE (Women Investing in Student Empowerment).

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.

Sarah is a staff writer in UTC's Office of Communications and Marketing.

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