David Shorter, professor of world arts and cultures/dance in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, has received a $50,000 grant from the California Community Foundation to facilitate work on his Archive of Healing, one of the largest databases of medicinal folklore from around the world.

Over the next three years, people with the archive will work with partners in Indigenous Tongva communities on projects related to community health and wellness. The grant will provide a much-needed response to the damages brought on from COVID-19.

Initially created to archive traditional knowledge from around the world, Shorter repurposed the archive’s collection to be an instigator of conversations about health and healing across cultures. He was recently awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Community-Engaged Research, which provides faculty members with individual grants of $10,000 to develop courses that enable students to carry out research projects in conjunction with community partners. By partnering with more than twenty organizations and health providers around the state, students will ensure that the archive reflects both individual and cultural perspectives of healing.

The foundation’s support will enable Shorter to support a wide range of community-driven initiatives. Structural support will be provided to the Kuruvungna Springs in West Los Angeles to remove invasive species of plants while planting native plants that hold importance in Tongva traditional culture. Working with tribal elder Craig Torres (Tongva), Shorter will assist the production and distribution to Tongva families of “kitchen medicinals,” a list of Native plants and their everyday health uses, published in both English and Tongva.

Read more about the grant on the School of the Arts and Architecture website.