DESIGNING LIVE CIVIC STORYTELLING EVENTS

Attending
• Jackie Hai
• Alisha Saville
• Linda Shaw
• Annie Anderson
• Amber Rivera
• Khari Johnson
• Alicia Montgomery
• Elaine Cha
• And a few more folks we didn’t catch the names of—sorry!

Context: jesikah maria ross (jmr) at Capital Public Radio is planning a series of civic storytelling live events and engaged the group in a visioning exercise to share best practices and wild new ideas.

jmr’s scenario for the group to consider and riff off:
• Who: journalists, public media audiences, stakeholders, partners and advisors
• What: audio clips, group conversations, images, music, poetry, singing
• Why: new connections, perspectives, understanding, action steps

jmr’s guiding questions:

1. Creating The Space: How to set tone and context to feel generous, respectful, meaningful? What gestures could evoke a sense of care, intention?

2. Activities & Actions: What might they do together and how? How might we embed in the structure continued action?

Here are the amazing ideas the group generated…

CREATING THE SPACE
Setting an intentional & respectful tone

• Type of space: club or party atmosphere, host in-home events, tours of hard-hit areas (but not poverty tourism), host event near where people live, start and partner with existing comfortable spaces (libraries, churches)
• Situational space: welcome circle, chairs in a horseshoe or circle or roundtables
• Atmosphere: hot chocolate bar, welcome people in a personal way, greet not just sign in
• Accessibility: accessible venue, near public transportation, accommodations for elderly, disabled
• Ideation: provide a blank canvas, white wall and art materials participants can add to at their leisure, initial activity for everyone to get them thinking and connecting
• Verbally invite people to show up as their whole selves. Their personal lives as parents, children, creatives, professional, nerds etc.

CREATING THE SPACE/ACTIVITIES
Ideas between generating the space and doing the activities
• Use open space technology
• Have food and live mic
• Open with music and poetry, then continue the thread throughout
• Dance and movement
• Create a timeline
• Use of silence or walking around

ACTIVITIES
What might people do together and how? How to structure in continued efforts?

• Heavy Prep Required: collaborative/engagement, technology: storytelling from personal experience, 20 slides/5 minutes, closed and curated facebook groups, create your own theatre productions of investigative journalism (e.g. CIR/StoryWorks)

• Light Prep Required: begin with one crazy question triad (e.g. what keeps you up at night, when did you feel you belong, the things people have done to keep the roof over their head), breakout group facilitated by unusual suspects (e.g. youth), opportunity for people to talk in groups of 3-5 with prompts

• Approach to event convo: instead of panel of expert speakers have panel of expert listeners (e.g. fishbowl), chance for audience to ask questions of the storytellers

• Generated content during and after: Connection photobooth (take a selfie w/ someone you connected with and want to follow-up with, text the photo to each other to make a follow up plan), pop-up audio/oral history booth in libraries, mix of storytelling/info sharing, personalize opportunities for exchange of talents/skills (skill barter table, gifts organizations can exchange), listening post/sound booth with recording available immediately afterwards, after event know the names of people attended (contact management system so that you don’t call someone who participated and talk to them as if they weren’t there)

• Group chats (slack/facebook messenger) before and after event

Note to all: as a wrap up the whole group went around and did a dance move to express how they were feeling about our time together—it was BRILLIANT!

Thanks to my amazing peers in this session and the conference. Feel free to share more ideas and I’ll keep a running list

jesikah
jmross@capradio.org
@jmr_MediaSpark