Toxic Heritage

Collaborative research

Indy Toxic Heritage: Pollution, Place, and Power

By on October 20, 2023

Indy Toxic Heritage: Pollution, Place and Power is a collaborative project of Indiana University Indianapolis museum studies faculty, Indy Parks & Recreation, Kheprw Institute, and community-based scholars/activists Kaila Austin and Kay Hawthorne. Together, we are blending historical research, storytelling, and academic resources to create an exhibit and public conversations focusing on the city-wide history of environmental harm centering community experiences.

IUI students sit in a circle with Kheprw team discussing environmental justice

Our goals are to 1) deepen critical thinking about Indianapolis’ citywide toxic heritage, 2) amplify the voices of those working in the community for environmental justice, and 3) instigate conversations about how to move toward more sustainable and just futures.

Project Timeframe

August 2023-January 2024: Story gathering, community partner meetings, and historical research

  • November 11, 2023, 10-12am – Cultural Compost, Spirit & Place Festival, Broad Ripple Family Center
  • Future storytelling workshops – TBA

February-May, 2024: Exhibit and program development

June 2024 – Traveling exhibit display at select Indy Parks sites with public programs


Project funding has been generously supported by a 2023 Charles R. Bantz Community Fellowship and an Action Grant from Indiana Humanities

Project press

Learn more about Indy Toxic Heritage. Video produced by TRIP (Translating Research into Practice) and McLucas Film Production.

Press release: IUPUI Announces the 2023 Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship and Scholar Awards Recipients, July 19, 2023.

Digital Projects

Indianapolis Toxic Heritage StoryMap collection: Student and faculty-authored StoryMaps