You are currently viewing Event Recap: Talk Story! Literature & Arts Corner Database (Re)Launch

The Literature & Arts Corner Library is an online platform that was launched at last month’s Talk Story to highlight Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) media representation. The event featured developers Lauren Eng and Jasmine Soni, author Jenny Cho, and Literature & Arts Corner Director Stan Lou.

Days before the launch, Everything Everywhere All at Once, a film depicting the multiverse adventure of a Chinese immigrant tasked with saving existence, won seven Oscars, including best picture. It is one of many works that the Literature & Arts Corner Library stores information about in a database and recommends based on a website visitor’s search input. In addition, visitors can read reviews written by local critics, browse relevant resources, and suggest their own recommendations for the database. A platform of this kind did not previously exist, making it difficult to find a wide variety of AAPI-specific media.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders lack diverse representation within the mainstream media,” said Lauren Eng, Literature & Arts Corner Library Project Manager. “The platform’s emphasis on public involvement and crowdsourcing will address the need for their experiences to be more widely shared.”

Media in the database go beyond cliché Asian stereotypes such as the nerd, the foreigner, the spy, and the model minority. This interactive and curated collection of works promotes cross-cultural appreciation by sharing content that expands this narrative and exemplifies diversity within the arts.

The project was started in 2020 by a team of University of Maryland students concerned about racist and generalizing media portrayals of AAPIs. Their concerns grew as anti-Asian violence, influenced by these tropes and spurred by political rhetoric, escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. They hope that this platform will contribute to a culture shift by increasing interest in AAPI storytelling and broadening awareness of the community’s stories, histories, and contributions.

The Literature & Arts Corner Library is available online here and is free to use.