Rosine Association 2.0, initiated by Swarthmore College and funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, is an interdisciplinary collective of artists, harm reductionists, archivists, and community members involved in today’s street economies, specifically at the intersection of sex work and drug use.
Rosine 2.0 facilitates harm reduction through the development of new artistic works and a community-based archive.
The socially engaged works will serve as a lens through which others can seek to understand their neighbors from marginalized communities who are also involved in the street economies of Philadelphia.
Rosine 2.0 is inspired by the original Rosine Association, co-founded in 1847 by Mira Sharpless Townsend, a Philadelphia Quaker activist. The organization was run by women for women to help “females who have wandered from the paths of virtue” (i.e, engaged in sex work and substance use, facing physical abuse and exploitation). Townsend’s papers, acquired by the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College in 2019, contain her correspondence, poetry, and other materials related to her activism, including two casebooks documenting the lives of the women she sought to help. The Lang Center will provide vision and leadership in activating these archives within living communities through an interdisciplinary collective of artists, harm reductionists, scholars, and community members.