Tag Archives: storytelling

A Thousand Words: Writing From Photographs




A Thousand Words: Writing From Photographs

This article by Casey N. Cep in the New Yorker discusses her switch from using a notebook to her phone camera to prepare for writing a piece. She explores how writing from photographs has changed the way she writes and remembers event. Now instead of reading through pages of notes, she flicks through her photostream allowing her to recall minute details that she might otherwise have forgotten.

Writing from photographs seems as though it should produce the same effect, sharpening the way we convert experiences and events into prose. I suspect that it also changes not only what we write but how we write it. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the selfie coincides with the age of autobiography.”

Her views on writing from photographs are both enlightening and inspiring. It makes you consider how pairing prose and photographs can affect how both are interpreted. Often times authors believe that writing from photographs can deaden the prose, but Cep describes how it can also bring it to life. Photographs jog memory, but also create an alternate reality simply by taking a moment out of its own time stream.  This affect allows a writer to connect moments that were nowhere near each other or related prior to the two photographs being next to each other. It allows an author to re imagine a past event based purely on what was captured in the frame. Writing from photographs can be a helpful tool for journalists, but I also think it would be a helpful exercise for photographers to explore what the thousand words there photographs are worth actually are.

Posted in Education Also tagged , , , |

Future Imagemakers and Future Film Scholars Book Collaboration

Throughout the semester the Saturday Future Imagemakers have been working on a collaboration with the Future Film Scholars. The goal of the collaboration was to create a book of the Future Imagemakers photographs and writing about the photographs that the Future Film Scholars wrote. We just recently got the writing back from the Film Scholars and were thrilled with the results. In the next few weeks we will put the book together.. Above you can find the pages of the book. The Future Imagemakers were really excited about the way the Film scholars interpreted their work!

Posted in Future Imagemakers Also tagged , , |

Sudden Flowers – Ethopia

 Sudden Flowers project in Ethopia

stories and videos from 2007.

I was reminded of this project today when I was looking at the work of co-founder Eric Gottesman. On his site is a more recent mobile portrait studio project he did with Sudden Flowers in 2011. Other projects with Sudden Flowers are on his site and I was especially intrigued with the touring 2006 project Abul Thona Baraka throughout Ethopia. Members of Sudden Flowers accompanied the exhibition in its travels and engaged audience members in dialog inspired by their photographs > look at the slide show.  Many more links to Sudden Flowers in the photographs and installations section of Eric’s site.

Posted in Community Programs, Media Projects Also tagged , , , , |

Reinvention Stories

REINVENTION STORIES > A new web project by Documentary Filmmakers, Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar  that pushes how the Web can be used for storytelling. *Worth checking out

REINVENTION STORIES is an experiment in bringing real life documentary stories into the potential of an interactive environment. This includes a short movie. Sit back and watch it if you want, or choose your own path through.

You can add your own story. You can answer questions we ask. Or eventually you can see dozens of stories, of people, places and events in our city. read more


Interesting interview with Julia and Steve about their project and the process of making it @ POV films blog, Two Filmmakers Reinvent Their Approach for “Reinvention Stories,” a Web Documentary


Highly recommend reading more on the POV | PBS blog: Another interesting and related story about community storytelling is My Brooklyn: Replicating Their Model in Your Community



Posted in Media Projects Also tagged , , |

Radio Diaries » Teenage Diaries

Radio Diaries » Teenage Diaries

Since 1996, the Teenage Diaries series has given tape recorders to young people around the country. They conduct interviews, keep audio journals, and record the sounds of daily life — usually collecting more than 30 hours of raw tape over the course of a year, edited into documentaries airing on NPR’s All Things Considered. Whether it’s the story of Amanda, a gay teen trying to understand her sexuality, or the story of Juan, who crossed the Rio Grande with his family illegally, these stories offer insight into the mysterious life of teenagers.

listen to stories

Posted in Media Projects Also tagged , |

How’s Your News?

How’s Your News? is a documentary news series which features reporters with various disabilities. The project began over ten years ago in a video class at a summer camp for people with disabilities.

Trailer for “How’s Your News?” Series from How’s Your News?

I learned about this wonderful project from a story on This American Life.

Link to all their videos on vimeo.



Posted in Media Projects Also tagged , , |

Dana Edell

Dana Edell is currently the executive director of SPARK Movement, a national activist movement working to end the sexualization of girls. Prior to her work with SPARK, she founded and served as executive director of viBe Theater Experience from 2002-2012. viBe is a nonprofit performing arts education organization that offers free afterschool arts programs to underserved teenage girls in New York City. She has produced and directed/ co-directed more than 60 plays, 7 CDs of original music and 10 music videos. She has over 15 years of experience as a teacher and leader in arts and advocacy programs with teenage girls. She co-founded and directed Inside/Out Performing Arts, a theater-making program for girls affected by the juvenile justice system in San Francisco and was a theater artist-in-residence in New York City public elementary and middle schools. Dana has taught theater and social change, arts education, solo performance and qualitative research methods at NYU, CUNY, the Bard College Prison Initiative at Bayview Women’s Prison and at Manhattan Marymount College where she developed a minor in Arts and Communities. She has a BA with honors in Classics/Ancient Greek from Brown University, an MFA in Theater Directing from Columbia University and a PhD in Educational Theater from NYU.

Following are notes from the inspiring guest lecture  given by Dana to the Community Collaborations Class on April 17. 

Dana’s first experience working in a community based program was in college in the SPACE program at Brown University where she  worked with incarcerated women creating performing arts programs.

After college, she and a friend founded the Inside Out Performing Arts program started in Fall 1998 in SF (pre-internet!). She also worked for Brava – SF – the oldest women’s theater in country with an extensive educational program.

She realized that she needed to be a working artist in order to be good teacher and director for the girls. She decided that she needed graduate school so went to Columbia for a MFA in Directing.

In the summer of 2002, she and Chandra Thomas, a fellow-student at Columbia, started a program for girls in theaters at Columbia with high school students from around Columbia. First performance “Say it Like Is”. This became viBe Theater Experience

Vibe Theater Experience: Caught in the Act (youtube link)

After 10 years, Vibe in now located in  YWCA bulding in Brooklyn – Atlantic Ave with other women/girl’s social justice organization. Now has staff in 7 people – 7-10 projects per year. Vibe stages many program including songmakers program – origianl music.. No censorship. Only rule no bad theater! s Just had 60th play produced and Vibe entering 10th year.

After reading academic books about girls and not seeing her experience with girls, decided she wanted to make an impact at a more theorectical and policy level. So she went to grad school at NYU in the Educational Theater Phd program. Her dissertation was on Vibe. She wrote it was she was still at Vibe working every day. Interviewed the girls as research. Developed new research methodology for girls when she realized that interviewing them in traditional manner was not  getting at deeper truth. Gave them tape recorders to all girls in study and wrote out questions and ask them to make a tape in response to the questions and to feel free to go anywhere with questions. Gave Dana access in a very different way. Her dissertation became about how girls perform themselves–how they want things to be. What was on tape recorder was very different than what came out in shows. In theater pieces, girls were perpetuating stereotypes while acting like they are telling real stories.

Dana’s approach is to give the girls support in everything they do but will challenge and question along the way.What does mean to provide space to tell difficult stories. Is  it great for girls? the audience? what are we doing about the stories they are telling. She asked herself: shouldn’t I be doing something about the content of the stories? Need more than just spaces to process. Wanted to get at roots of  problems – which brought her to SPARK.

 Spark Summitt – started about a year and half ago. Started by Deborah Tolman and group  of 5 other women  who were developmental psychologists. Began as a response to the APA report on the sexualization of girls– finally a study that said it was bad – what we all already knew but finally proof! SPARK makes girls part of solution. Dana became executive director since in May 2011. The board consisits of girls from 13-20 from around the country. Partners with 60 organizations. Read more about Spark here.

[Get inspired by following Sparks’s LEGO campaign]

Posted in Community Programs, Education Also tagged , , , , |

Teaching Difficult Subject Matter

Student Voices database on international democracy issues.When tragedies happen killing of Trayvon Martin, one way to deal with the pain is to use it as a teachable moment. Here are some resources I have collected that tackle difficult issues head on or present alternative narratives. I am always looking for more.

Civic Voices: An International Democracy Memory Bank Project
Be sure to see Student Voices database on international democracy issues.

Teaching about Trayvon Martin (see previous post)
Be sure to take a look at the KLW chart

Question Bridge Educator Portal

Spark a Movement  a girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media.

LAMPlatoon is a program which allows you to put that offending commercial on notice by exposing the underlying stereotypes and talking back to the insulting messages. Putting Ads on Notice.
[Learn About Multimedia Project]
They have a great how to guide

Speaking of great how to guides:
The Yes Lab Knowledgebase with a few pointers on how to carry out projects

Center for Artistic Activism

Thousand Kites A national dialogue project addressing the criminal justice system.
Calls from Home is a radio show project of A Thousand Kites that brings the voices of families to the airwaves as they send greetings directly to their incarcerated loved ones.

The Appalshop Channel

Positive Exposures on genetic differences

Social Art Practices Blog
Imaging America Blog
Laundromat Project
StoryCorps DIY interview instructions
PBS Educators
Art of Regional Change

Posted in Resources Also tagged , , , , |

Have Them Sit Down: The Civilians’ Method

The Civilians were founded in 2001. Our work often combines aspects of journalism with a creative process. We like to engage directly with the real world through interviews, community residencies and other experiences in order to create new theater from creative inquiries into the most vital questions of the present. read more of NPR story

Posted in Resources Also tagged |

Housing is a Human Right NYC multimedia project

Housing is a Human Right Teaser from Housing is a Human Right on Vimeo.


Housing is a Human Right is a multi-media documentary portrait of the struggle for Home in New York City. The project collects and shares first person stories of Home, community and ongoing efforts to maintain or obtain housing, celebrating our desire for a place to call Home. The stories act as a reminder that home is as tenuous a space in New York City as the shelter that sustains it.

Watch Housing is a Human Right Videos

Posted in Community Programs Also tagged , |