"Urban Stories" were collected mostly during the first year of the Studio. It corresponded to Wits students and staff needing to get a sense of the place and the people - understanding local dynamics and becoming familiar with the neighborhood, before engaging in deeper or more specific topics, including some of the local issues identified by our partner organisations. We believed in the power of stories to illuminate complex situations and expose students to social realities unknown to them, especially in a post-apartheid society marked by fragmented experiences of the city.
But stories also corresponded to a need, or at least a desire, from residents - to have their stories heard, to challenge prejudice and preconception, to explain their trajectory, share their experience, express their expectations. Stories were thus not only collected as a prerequisite to planning or architectural research. They also became the core of a whole research project, "Yeoville Stories", conducted by Sophie Didier and Naomi Roux. "Yeoville Stories" included a series of workshops with Yeoville residents, around people's trajectories, their places in Yeoville, the meaning of "home" and home-making in a neighborhood that remains a place of high mobility.
Most of these stories were consolidated in the form of posters, constructed in interaction between Witsies and residents, presented and debated in local public events. It is these posters, and the story of their making, that we wish to make available here: in recognition of Yeoville residents who formalised them during the course of the Studio, and as we are convinced that they have broader relevance.