self-portrait, waving

Hi! I’m Christine. I’m an artist. I’m hard at work on a book launching on April 8. What’s it about?

group of people with no faces

In December 2018, I invited anyone with a meaningful connection to the nine-county Bay Area...

hand writing on paper, with a thought bubble of two people embracing share their story of belonging.

person printing on a letterpress
hand doingn calligraphy on certificates
a framed certificate hanging on a wall abovea dish of muffins

Maybe there is a place in the Bay Area where they feel (or have felt) a sense of belonging. I’ll letterpress print*, hand letter, and frame certificates to commemorate selected places of belonging.

*Learn more about letterpress printmaking in a photo-illustrated step-by-step.

body with heart shining light
hand drawing a design
two hands screenprinting
a framed certificate hanging on a wall above a dish of muffins

Or, maybe they carry a sense of belonging with them. I’ll design and screenprint bandanas based on selected responses.

a book with 'belonging' on the cover
book with map of lake merritt
book with text and a photo of a certificate and muffin
booklet with bandana and text

These stories will be collected and published in a book launching at the Othering and Belonging Conference in Oakland from April 8 to 10, 2019.

book with ribbon

If a contributor’s story is included, they’ll receive a copy of the book (if they included an email address).

bandana folded up

If their story inspires a design, they’ll receive one of the bandanas.

a book with 'belonging' on the cover

I’ll also create a limited edition set of maps to exhibit at a later date.

The goal of The Belonging Project is to share the pivotal places, activities, communities, and experiences that shape Bay Area residents’ connectedness to a neighborhood and region. It’s a project led by artist Christine Wong Yap, artist-in-residence at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.


Story Collection

November–January 2, 2019

  1. We conducted writing workshops at San Francisco Art Institute, Soccer without Borders at Castlemont High School in Oakland, and the Union City Library (with a Chinese interpreter and support from Chinese Culture Center). We also presented at a Brown Bag Lunch at the UC Berkeley Public Service Center.
  2. We partnered with community organizationsNIAD in Richmond and The Beat Within in juvenile halls in six Bay Area counties—to collect stories from program participants.
  3. We worked with volunteers from Santa Clara University and San José State University. Volunteers conducted interviews with their family members.
  4. We invited the public to contribute via an open call available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Anyone with a meaningful connection to the Bay Area could participate.

Production & Commemoration

January–March 2019

We’ll create the certificates and install them at places of belonging. We'll produce the bandanas and the book.


April 8–10, 2019

We’ll present the project and release the book at the Othering and Belonging Conference in Oakland.

Who We Are

Christine Wong Yap is an artist in residence at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. She has explored belonging in smaller past projects. She creates projects that involve participation and research to better understand belonging, interdependence, connection, and optimism. She holds a BFA and MFA from the California College of Arts in Oakland and San Francisco. She has lived in the North Bay, Peninsula, and East Bay before relocating to Queens in 2010.

The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley is a hub of engaged scholars, researchers, strategic communicators, policymakers, and community partners working to advance belonging for all members of society.


Sarah Hotchkiss sums up the project and its current state in “Christine Wong Yap Asks: Where Do You Feel a Sense of Belonging?” on KQED Arts (February 24, 2019).