Partner With Us
Why a partnership with the Center makes sense.
As founders and leaders in the growing digital storytelling movement, we have the knowledge base and staff capacity to quickly assess partner needs, propose viable and cost-effective solutions, and ensure results. We offer end-to-end planning, teaching, post-production, media distribution, curriculum development, and follow-up services in narrative work, storytelling, and participatory media.
We invite organizations of all sizes and from all corners of the world to work with us in surfacing authentic voices through story.
The program development process.
We work closely with partners to determine what methods will best suit their goals. Questions about desired program outcomes, story themes, available technology resources, and plans for story sharing closely inform our custom program development process.
Our staff has a wealth of experience in teaching, marketing and communications, and program implementation within a wide range of sectors, including public health, social services, K-12 – adult education, visual and performing arts, broadcast media, international development, youth empowerment and organizing, substance abuse and trauma intervention, human rights, and more.
The process of customized program development involves:
Needs Analysis. We talk at length with our partners about their objectives, the context of their work, the activities they are interested in, and the resources they possess. Some choose to host a single digital storytelling workshop; others to build capacity for ongoing digital storytelling within their organizations or networks. We help build a vision for what will be both meaningful and realistic.
Program Planning. Once a framework for a program has been established, we work with our partners to create appropriate proposals, work plans, staffing recommendations, and timelines. Our breadth of experience enables us to assist, anticipate, and address potential challenges and focus on success.
Implementation. We have the capacity and experience to carry out a wide range of program components. Not only do we lead workshops, train trainers, and assist with story distribution via multiple traditional and social media platforms; we also develop curricula and training materials to accompany stories, organize and facilitate community screenings and dialogue sessions, document and publicize project accomplishments, and conduct qualitative evaluation research to explore outcomes.
Follow-up. We believe in sustaining relationships with our partners over time. This means that we stay in touch once a program has been completed, to keep up to date with how it has impacted both storytellers and story viewers. Some of our client relationships are short term; others have lasted for years and have included multiple workshops, facilitator trainings, and materials development activities. We do our best to network like-minded groups with each other and function as a hub of information and resources about digital storytelling around the world.
Outcomes of digital storytelling.
We believe that sharing stories is just the first step; our partnerships across the globe have shown us that stories have the power to make a real difference in people’s lives …
Personal Reflection and Growth. While change is an inevitable part of being human, people often lack opportunities to share and bear witness to their own struggles and joys and to those of others. Our digital storytelling workshops offer a safe, supportive environment in which participants of all ages and from all walks of life can explore their histories, heal their wounds, and reflect on how they got to where they are.
Education, Outreach, and Awareness. Amidst the madness of mainstream media, digital stories stand out for their directness of emotional expression and voice. While facts, timelines, and third-person perspectives by “experts” are important in describing an issue or problem, a digital story helps bring to life the reality of individual experience. Stories are invaluable as educational, training, and awareness-raising tools across multiple sectors and disciplines.
Movement and Community Building. Social action begins with individual action, as people identify similarities between their own lives and the lives of others. Digital storytelling workshops afford great opportunity to examine experiences across chasms of difference - cultural, linguistic, political, racial, gendered, age-related, etc. Subsequent story screening events, when carefully planned and facilitated, have the potential to generate deep and strategic discussion and mobilize civic action.
Policy Advocacy. In an ideal world, people’s concerns and needs would form the basis for public policy debates. Unfortunately, abstract data and special interests all too often dominate. Digital stories can bring the voices of those who are typically overlooked (the poor, immigrants, the elderly, youth, and members of other marginalized communities) to bear on institutional and public policy development and enforcement.
Research and Evaluation. Whether in an academic or community context, digital storytelling methods can be used as a form of community-based participatory research (CBPR) to explore people’s understanding of particular issues, assess local needs, or evaluate whether or not these needs are being met. These strategies can complement quantitative methods and ensure that participants gain direct benefits from research.
What our partners say about working with us.
For more than fifteen years, the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Center for Digital Storytelling have collaborated on a wide range of story-driven projects that have benefited universities throughout the United States and Canada. As a result, dozens of universities have implemented story-crafting programs based on the Center’s models, and others have used the doorway of personal story to reach out into their communities in new ways. When the NMC's Marcus Institute wanted to help museum educators across the state of Texas develop sophisticated story-crafting skills, the Center was the obvious choice to lead that effort. Working with institutions like these, the Center has greatly extended the reach of its work beyond its higher education audiences. Examples of the tremendous impact of this work are easy to find – much to the credit of the Center and its wonderful staff.
- Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, New Media Consortium; CDS Partner
The digital stories have helped Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA) express the very best qualities of our youth. Two of the girls whose stories were shown left the studio glowing. Glowing. I have grown from working with the Center, as has DAVA. You're a remarkable organization that is creating a pocket of expansion in the face of a political environment that has caused intellectual and cultural shrinkage ... What I had hoped for, when you first showed digital stories to staff, has become a series of personal messages from DAVA to the universe.
- Susan Jensen, Executive Director, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts
Denver, Colorado, CDS Partner
For more information about customized program development, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at 510-548-2065.