Face of Homelessness is a project by WVU College of Creative Arts' Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Kofi Opoku, to serve as a voice for people who are currently homeless or have recently been housed in Morgantown. A series of photographs from the project will be on display at Evansdale Library starting September 1, with a public presentation by Prof. Opoku Sept. 28.
Originally from Ghana, Prof. Opoku is interested in design as a material for inspiring behavior change, and his research has led him to explore ways by which human-computer interaction can aid understanding of social issues and other complex subjects. Prof. Opoku initiated Face of Homelessness, an interactive website, in 2016. Writes Prof. Opoku:
"I began a design project to help my better understand homelessness in the United States. My interest was driven by curiosity (I grew up in Ghana, West Africa, where the homeless populations have far fewer resources than they do in the U.S.) and from my previous experience working as a volunteer in a meals program for the homeless in Morgantown, where I currently live."
Faceofhomelessness.com does not solicit funds or list resources; the website is aimed at providing a platform for a population that is perhaps typically ignored, yet remains a longstanding and ongoing community issue that Prof. Opoku hopes can be discussed in enlightening ways, as each person and situation demonstrates a unique and nuanced situation.
Prof. Opoku continues to work on this project and welcomes participants. To note, all of the volunteers to date identify as male. This is not purposeful or meant to reflect the homeless population in any way, but is due to the inability to get female volunteers.
Display of portraits photographed by Prof. Opoku will hang at Evansdale Library, coupled with informational graphics, throughout the fall semester. September 28, Prof. Opoku will give a public presentation about the project from 4:30-5pm in Evansdale Library Room 228/229.