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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: Voices from Around the Table

Sexual Assault Awareness Month - "Staci's Story"

Root Barrett

"My story is not something I try to forget.  It would be especially hard because I have written many papers and spoken at many different events about my story. That is why I was so excited to have another opportunity to share it - because spreading awareness of the issue is a passion of mine. When creating my digital story about my incident with sexual assault, I didn’t realize how many details from that night I had tried to block out of my mind. The process brought flashback after flashback from that night. I do have to say that even though the process was a difficult for me emotionally, I definitely enjoyed the process. Seeing a finished product of me telling my story in a way I never had before was somewhat relieving. Now I can continue my healing process knowing that other people can now truly understand what that night was like from my perspective, and how the small details can make such a huge impact on a survivor’s life."

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month: It's On Us, It's In Us

Root Barrett

My story closely mirrors the story of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  They are both about activism.  I was raised by activists and teachers. Some people (like my mother) would say that I have always had an agenda.  SAAM definitely has an agenda to prevent sexual violence. Working at the National Sexual Violence Resource, I am inspired by the activist stories I hear every day, but many people still feel very alone in this work. Digital storytelling is a vehicle for sexual assault prevention activists to capture their histories and build new futures.

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Fighting Violence through Story

Root Barrett

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.  StoryCenter is currently recognizing the importance of speaking out about rape and abuse by sharing new and archived pieces from our blog. Today, MA candidate Marit Erdal shares her work on the power of story to prevent violence against women.

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StoryCenter Webinar Featured on "Until The Lions"

Root Barrett

Did you miss StoryCenter's free public webinar, “How Storytelling and Participatory Media Can Support International Public Health and Human Rights Work”?  Stephanie Buck of Until The Lions, a blog on the use of storytelling in international development, has written a great recap of the webinar.  

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Why Sound? – by Joel Knopf

Root Barrett

One fall morning, I step outside my door and listen. I’m amazed by how many sounds I hear. A bird calls; another answers. A gaggle of school children moves left to right, full of laughter and overlapping conversation. A dog howls and a woman says to a stranger, “Sorry, she’s really into squirrels.” And how could I have ever thought there was only one wind? This morning, the wind is a pastiche of rustles, slow and fast.

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Too Big to See – by Jamie Mayo

Root Barrett

Sometimes racism is so big you don't notice it. I grew up in an all white town. I didn't think about it much. It was just the way it was. It didn't mean anything. After all, we sang, "Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight," every Sunday. And that's what I knew about diversity. But what I didn't know then was that it was an intentional racist act that ensured that my hometown was all white. By law, black people had to be out of town by sundown. Until 1968. And that is the way it was.

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Apogee MiC: A Review – by Ryan Trauman

Root Barrett

STRENGHTS: Extremely Portable. Sounds fantastic. Great build quality. Cardioid pickup pattern. Device-powered.

WEAKNESSES: No headphone monitoring. Records one-person at a time. Price (though a good value).

RECOMMENDATION: For portability, durability, and sound quality, it’s a great option.

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It’s time to talk and to listen – by Sally J. Laskey, National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Root Barrett

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. 

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Writing Women into History – by Kayann Short

Root Barrett

“Where are the women?” is the question behind Women’s History Month each March. The absence of women from much of recorded history and scholarship has left gaps that undermine women’s progress toward equality. While the conditions under which women’s history has been lost, erased, and suppressed may be familiar—prejudice of all sorts; sexual violence; second class status; lack of time and resources—such conditions continue to impact the inclusion of women in private and public discourse today.

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Black History Month: Stories and Storyteller Reflections

Root Barrett

February is Black History Month, and we couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate and honor it than by sharing some incredible stories from our All Together Now project on civil and human rights. With great admiration and appreciation for all the stories and storytellers in the project, we have selected a few stories to share with you here. 

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The Mahi-Mahi & The Map: Digital Storytelling for Science – by Shawn Margles, Coastal & Marine Planning Scientist

Root Barrett

Can storytelling help scientists convey even complex and contentious topics like marine spatial planning?

In my experience, storytelling not only helps, it is essential if we want broader audiences to understand and support our work.  Revealing something personal about why we do what we do can connect audiences with our messages and disarm adversaries.

Consider the field of marine spatial planning.  Here, disconnects between scientists and audiences can be glaring.

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“Truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is” – by Rob Kershaw

Root Barrett

Somewhere in a box, stored either here or there, is a framed, aerial photograph of an offshore semi-submersible drilling rig – the Ocean Ranger – being pulled out to sea just off the coast of Newfoundland. The derrick in particular, if I remember correctly, is lit soft orange by early morning sunlight and the ocean is dead calm.

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Your First Microphone: A Review of ATR2100 – by Ryan Trauman

Root Barrett

Between our voices and our digital stories, there is a microphone. It’s important to get it right. If you are someone just getting your bearings as a digital storyteller, or someone who needs to buy several mics for a group of storytellers, you’ll certainly want to consider the Audio-Technica ATR2100. Not only does it sound great, but it’s also inexpensive, durable, and easy to use.

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Turn Toward What You Deeply Love – by Joe Lambert

Root Barrett

Berkeley is the kind of place where you find little surprises.  As you climb down the hill from Hinkel Park in the Berkeley Hills, you may find yourself on one of the many paths that connect the streets. On the Yosemite steps there’s a wall of poems. On a walk in late January, well before dawn, I came across this poem, illuminated by the less-than-romantic light of my iPhone.

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I Too Dream an American Dream – by Eugenia Gardner

Root Barrett

My family’s history and active involvement in the Civil Rights movement began four generations ago in Selma, Alabama where my great-grandparents and their children tended cotton fields. As a child, I heard their intergenerational stories about sharecropping, Jim Crowism, and “Daddy King” around the dinner table. My grandmother, who recently turned 92, participated in the Bloody Sunday March with John Lewis and Dr. King. In the 1970s, when Shirley Chisholm ran for president, years before there was Hilary Clinton, my mother and Ms. Shirley took me with them to voter registration events every Saturday. I don’t think I knew what voting was, but I knew Dr. King had given up his life for my right to vote. I also knew that Dr. King and his fight for black civil rights would, in many ways, define me.

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To Stand Now Is to Tell Our Stories – by Tommy Orange

Root Barrett

I’ve been so excited about the good work being done through the All Together Now workshops across the country. Thinking back, I can’t really say I’ve had an opportunity – or I haven’t seen it ­– to take a stand, and to engage in the necessary civil disobedience required to go against the American grain. Even if it’s “only” telling our stories. If telling our stories is subversive to an ultimately damaging master narrative, then let our voices be like a march, and let them be heard by as many people as possible.

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Stand Up Now: All Together Now – by Daniel Weinshenker

Root Barrett

I grew up in Palo Alto in the '70s and '80s. I think there were three students out of a graduating class of 300 that weren't going to a 4-year college. I'm not sure I knew a single person who was joining the military. There was one publicly known homeless resident in the town, whom nobody actually believed was homeless (word around town was that he was a writer doing research for his next novel). And there were maybe ten African Americans in my entire high school. 

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Not Feeling Alone: The Power of Storytelling in Uganda – by Carrie Ngongo and Simon Ndizeye

Root Barrett

Imagine feeling ashamed because you perpetually smell of urine or stool. Imagine mourning your stillborn baby – a baby that died because it was stuck in the birth canal and was not delivered by cesarean section in time. Imagine traveling for hours or days to reach a hospital, hoping that a doctor will be able to surgically restore your continence, which is caused by a condition called obstetric fistula. And then imagine that while you wait for your surgery date to come, you are invited to watch short videos telling the stories of women who have endured exactly the same thing as you have.

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