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STORYCENTER Blog

We are pleased to present posts by StoryCenter staff, storytellers, colleagues from partnering organizations, and thought leaders in Storywork and related fields.

Filtering by Category: Project News

Border Youth Tennis Exchange: Stories From Both Sides of the U.S. – Mexico Border

Root Barrett

As menacing as it is for the larger body-politic to malign border communities and mischaracterize them as dangerous and violent, the potential harm is even more insidious when communities that live only miles apart are separated by fear, anxiety, and mistrust. BYTE hopes through the stories to show that a child playing tennis or learning to use digital tools looks very similar, whether in Mexico or in Arizona.

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Sharing Stories of the Counterculture in the Southwest

Amy Hill

Why do people tell stories? My most immediate response would be that stories connect us to each other. A good story lets a listener dive into another place and time. A good story also links a teller and a listener together by inviting that listener to imagine. The great thing about stories is that they don’t live in a vacuum. Listeners are able to imagine because they pull from their own memories and histories. This is why stories are so meaningful, because the voices of storytellers recounting a lived experience remind us all that our paths through time are the threads that weave the complex tapestry called history.

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Stories of Climate and Health in Oregon

Amy Hill

During the workshop, participants were able to use the space to talk about complex issues, and through that process, they felt heard and connected to one another. Likewise, during the community story screening, the storytellers showed a strong sense of pride in their videos and participated with other community members in enthusiastic discussions about actions and next steps in climate and health activism.

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Afghan Women Create Powerful Videos with StoryCenter’s Silence Speaks

Root Barrett

As an Afghan woman myself, in these stories I find bits and pieces of my own life and the lives of women I have lived and worked with. Spoken in plain language, the authenticity of these stories is like a breath of fresh air in a world where the diversity of Afghan women’s own voices is often missing from conversations that others have about us.

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SpeakUP! Young Women Share Powerful Stories of Identity, Gender, and Violence

Root Barrett

Traditional and cultural norms in South Africa, coupled with the legacy of the systemic, state-sanctioned violence of Apartheid over generations, has fueled a society with one of the world’s highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence against adolescent girls and young women. The nature of patriarchy is long-standing and profoundly embedded in the country, and women’s stories are often forgotten and untold.

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"Gathering Strength" Digital Stories: Immigrant & Refugee Communities Ending Violence

Root Barrett

For four years, the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV) has been leading the Gathering Strength project (GS), which holds an overarching theme of storytelling as it supports California’s API immigrant and refugee communities in ending violence. In August of 2016, project advisors and participants came together for 2.5 days, to strengthen and expand the GS community, honor and celebrate individual and collective accomplishments, and co-create a bold vision for the next phase of this work.

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Project News: Putting the “Public” Back into Public Health Through Our Work With the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center

Root Barrett

A story provides a connecting point. Data and statistics are an important part of public health, but so is storytelling. One of the elements that has been exciting about our work with StoryCenter is the opportunity to provide public health professionals with additional tools for the public education and health promotion work they do.

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Project News: Celebrating Immigrant Youth Stories of Resistance

Root Barrett

Last April, StoryCenter collaborated with the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco on a digital storytelling workshop with a group of immigrant and refugee youth attending Mission High School in San Francisco. These young people had been organizing an all high school youth-led social justice leadership project over a period of 12 months with support from their adult allies. 

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Afghan Women Create Powerful Videos with StoryCenter’s Silence Speaks

Root Barrett

As an Afghan woman myself, in these stories I find bits and pieces of my own life and the lives of women I have lived and worked with. Spoken in plain language, the authenticity of these stories is like a breath of fresh air in a world where the diversity of Afghan women’s own voices is often missing from conversations that others have about us.

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SpeakUP! Young Women Share Powerful Stories of Identity, Gender, and Violence

Root Barrett

Traditional and cultural norms in South Africa, coupled with the legacy of the systemic, state-sanctioned violence of Apartheid over generations, has fueled a society with one of the world’s highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence against adolescent girls and young women. The nature of patriarchy is long-standing and profoundly embedded in the country, and women’s stories are often forgotten and untold.

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StoryCenter and Marie Stopes International: Stories of Sexual Health from Ghana

Root Barrett

In June 2014, the Marie Stopes International Ghana No Yawa project collaborated with the Center for Digital Storytelling’s Silence Speaks program to organize the first-ever digital storytelling workshop in Ghana. The workshop brought nine young people from regions around the country together to share stories about their sexual and reproductive health. 

Stories created during the five-day workshop were recorded in seven different local languages- a record number of different languages in a single workshop, in the 21-year history of the Center for Digital Storytelling. The young people who participated told personal stories of surviving and thriving in the aftermath of economic hardship, difficult relationships, teenage pregnancy, sexual assault, and sexually transmitted infections. Their powerful stories took shape as short films. The stories offer youth-friendly information, open up sensitive topics, and illustrate the need for improvements in adolescent sexual health services.

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Sowing Equity: An Interview with the Backyard Gardeners' Network

Root Barrett

"Honestly, that's the essence of Food Sovereignty: when you're growing your own food, you're controlling the production of your food, you're controlling everything about it.  To me, that also ties in to land ownership.

The Lower Nine once had the highest Black home ownership rate in the entire city and one of the highest around the country, over sixty-five percent. I think the tragedy is that so many people lost not just their homes, but their property, their land. If you have land, you can build a house on it, you can grow food on it. It's yours and no one can tell you to leave.

I think we play sort of a small part in the larger picture of the food justice efforts.  For me, it's very important for our community to honor positive, cultural values and the idea of self-reliance, the idea of health and close-knit community. During our programming, we've never really called out issues of Food Justice, or even really used that terminology, except with our youth interns.  But it is there.  

I led a training this past season that was specifically about Food Justice so the kids could understand the concepts. I feel like we're teaching the essence of Food Justice through influencing or reintegrating this idea of valuing quality food as a cultural tradition."

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Sowing Equity: Mandela Marketplace Takes Root in West Oakland, CA

Root Barrett

"In the 90's there was a discerned effort to figure out why communities, like West Oakland, were having specific elevated health issues – with assumptions food access, nutrition education, diet were correlated to ill health. So researches would come through, do these surveys and say, "Hey, you’re sick. You don't have access to healthy food." Community would be really bothered because they were like, "Obviously we know that. We live that every day" . . . After more thorough findings, there was a group of residents that asked, "Okay. This is more thorough information, but we're still talking about the problem. What are possible solutions?" This led to a planning grant to do some thinking with residents, some local agencies and other Community Based Organizations (CBO). This effort became the foundation of our work now. Our core question was, “How do we increase access to healthy food in our community, but do it in a way that also builds local economy?"

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Sowing Equity: Food Justice and Climate Change

Root Barrett

"Industrialized, globalized agriculture is a recipe for eating oil. Oil is used for the chemical fertilizers that go to pollute the soil and water. Oil is used to displace small farmers with giant tractors and combine harvesters. Oil is used to industrially process food. Oil is used for the plastic in packaging. And finally, more and more oil is used to transport food farther and father away from where it is produced.”

-Vandana Shiva, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis  

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Sowing Equity: Stories of Food Justice in the US

Root Barrett

As part of launching our Indiegogo campaign, we wanted to interview community partners about their program and perspectives on the Food Justice movement, as well ask them about to share stories of how this movement is transforming individuals within their community.  

Our first interview is with Catherine “Cat” Jaffee, the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Re:Vision International in Denver Colorado. Catherine spent her first 25 years living in Ecuador, Japan, Australia, France, the US, and Eastern Turkey. She was a National Geographic Young Explorer, a Fulbright Scholar, a Luce Fellow, and the Founder of Balyolu: the Honey Road, in Turkey’s Northeast.  She worked in many countries with Ashoka, before joining Re:Vision.  You can view the digital story Cat created with StoryCenter online.

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And So the Story Continues... the Center for Digital Storytelling Becomes StoryCenter

Emily Paulos

The digital storytelling movement emerged from the odd cross section of community-based arts making, avant garde aesthetics, and digital media. The notion of story, and a very, very specific idea about the democratization of voice in the digital era, informed all aspects of the effort. Practitioners would use the educational process of media technology training to create a mechanism for enabling people whose stories were not being heard to make those stories visible. 
That movement, having grown to thousands and thousands of supporters around the planet, gathers again next week in Massachusetts, at the Voices of Change conference. We will celebrate the enormous growth and diversity of this work with presentations from nearly 160 practitioners, researchers, organizers, and creatives, from 20 countries.

That movement, having grown to thousands and thousands of practitioners around the planet, gathers again next week in Massachusetts at the Voices of Change conference, and we will celebrate the enormous growth and diversity of this work with presentations of nearly 160 practitioners, researchers, organizers, and creatives from 20 countries.  

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From the Vanderbilt Reporter: VUSN video workshop helps teens cope with type 1 diabetes

Emily Paulos

A group of adolescents gathered at the downtown Nashville Public Library last week for a three-day Digital Storytelling Workshop to learn how to write, edit and produce a video about managing their type 1 diabetes.

The project is part of research by Shelagh Mulvaney, Ph.D., associate professor of Nursing, and her team into the design, development and testing of a Web and mobile phone-based self-care support system for this population.

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Updates from StoryCenter's Public Health Programs - Summer 2015

Emily Paulos

New Public Health Webinar Series
For many years, the StoryCenter has been supporting researchers and community practitioners as they explore how storytelling can enhance public health promotion. This year, we share some of our best public health strategies through a series of new, two-hour webinars.

Stories for Food Justice
We at StoryCenter are excited to share a beautiful set of academic and community stories about paths to food justice, created through a collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture-funded Food Dignity project.

Seeding New Conversations about Sexual and Reproductive Health … in the United States and Abroad
Have you wondered when young people’s stories and voices will be taken seriously, when it comes to public conversations about sexual and reproductive health?

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