No big deal, I thought. As a historian, I pretty much write and tell stories for a living.
But then the story specialists at StoryCenter taught the other institute participants and I *how* to write a script for digital storytelling, and I began eyeing the door. Not because it was too big or difficult, but because it was so small and succinct. How was I going to tell a full story worth hearing in fewer than 250 words? I've probably written longer sentences than that!
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?
When I was seven years old, I was learning to draw by copying masterpieces. I had such confidence that I truly believed my drawings were superior. I look back on those drawings today and think “What naiveté”… and then I think, “How can I get that back?” How can I reclaim that belief in my ability to be stronger than my fear of how I might appear through others’ eyes?
Fast forward many years, and I’m sitting at my friend’s marathon poetry open mic, listening for five hours straight and never once participating. The entire time, an internal debate about whether I could or couldn’t write poetry ran through my head. I went home that night so frustrated that I chose to settle the argument by writing my first poem. The poem started like this: “You, yes You. Sitting there, just sitting there. I used to be you.” And from that moment on, the debate was over: I would not sit on the sidelines anymore; I would actively participate and learn to express my creativity. This was the start of my journey to what I call “reclaiming creative confidence.”
World Contraception Day (September 26th) marked the premiere in Port Moresby of a collection of moving digital stories created by youth peer educators from around Papua New Guinea. The videos, which offer rare and thoughtful insights into deeply real issues that affect adolescents all over the world – peer pressure, first boyfriends, and fear of unwanted pregnancy – were shown to a theatre full of students and dignitaries, as well as members of the press and media, as part of a film festival organized by the United Nations.
Arts & Healing Network is delighted to present one of the 2014 AHN Awards to Amy Hill, storyteller, documentary filmmaker, public health consultant and co-founder of Silence Speaks. In 1999, after ten years working in community-based public health projects, Amy co-founded Silence Speaks, an international participatory media initiative offering a safe, supportive environment for telling and sharing stories that all too often remain unspoken. Silence Speaks surfaces personal narratives of struggle, courage and transformation and works to ensure that these stories play an instrumental role in promoting gender equality and human rights. Since 2005, Amy has continued to lead Silence Speaks and other global health and human rights-related projects as a staff member at the Center for Digital Storytelling. Amy has overseen the use of storytelling all over the world in places like Nepal, Ethiopia, Uganda, Brazil and more.
To learn more about Amy Hill, please visit the Silence Speaks web site where you can also watch some of the digital stories that have been recorded from around the world.
Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Peck is the Public Policy Director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, a partner on the “Hear Our Stories” project. A partnership of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the Care Center, the Center for Digital Storytelling, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College, the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the project aims to recalibrate the existing conversation about teen motherhood from stigmatizing young moms to promoting their sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.
On May 8-10, more than two dozen countries were represented at the Digital Storytelling in the Time of Crisis conference hosted by the Laboratory of New Technologies in Communication, Education and the Mass Media and the University Research Institute of Applied Communication of the University of Athens with the collaboration of the Hellenic American Union.
Speakers were asked to situate their work against the backdrop of the sustained economic and social crisis of Europe and beyond. Greece has been amongst the hardest hit countries, with massive cuts in the public sector, and the decline of GDP, employment, and social programs reaching Great Depression levels. The University of Athens itself weathered a five month strike by administrators earlier in the academic year, forcing conference organizers to calibrate the conference ambitions appropriately.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the U.S. I remember a time when Sexual Assault Awareness Month was mostly about talking for me. As a social justice activist trying to end sexual violence, there certainly has been a lot to talk about. I can still feel the vibrations from the first Speak Out against rape that I ever attended. Indeed, it moved me to continue to tell stories of resilience and resistance. I believe stories have power. Sharing them promotes healing.