For the MCDM, engaging in acts of community scholarship means using our communication strategies, resources and skills to work with a variety of community partners to build understanding and capacity in this ever-changing world of media innovation.
Central to this work is the notion of storytelling. We see a continuum of different types of storytelling including: investigative, advocacy, promotional, instructional, and business communication. There are a variety of methods and tools employed that better suit each type. An emerging area of focus in the MCDM is community-centric storytelling — where stories are forged in the process of deep hanging out; where a story is made in collaboration with a community of practice; where one engages in the act of making the story “with” people from a particular community not just “about” them. The driving question we ask when initiating and continuing through the course of a project is “whose interests are be served?” The goal is not to “take” the photo or merely “get” the story but to develop a process of story making based on reciprocity where the story itself becomes a component of building engaged relationships.
Along side the development of a particular story, we strive to not only teach our students the strategies and skills to make digital media but to increase the capacity of a particular community to take on the ownership and continued development of their own future stories. Through this work, we seek to widen access to creative ideas, cultural expressions, learning opportunities, business strategies, advocacy work, and storytelling, whose functional role is to advance people’s knowledge of themselves and the world around them. It can also create opportunities that will benefit the well-being of particular communities, and to promote social justice.
Through the collaborative process of production, ideas come alive and opportunities arise to use communication technologies to engage with causes that generate activity around the passions and interests of particular communities of practice.
Here are few examples of MCDM produced community-centric stories:
Working with Undriving™, MCDM students produced a series of personal narratives demonstrating what it takes to rethink one’s transportation choices:
Merlin Rainwater – Transportation Nag
Working with the Foundation for Russian American Economic Cooperation (FRAEC), MCDM students produced a framing piece to describe FRAEC’s “Story Stream” project.
FRAEC – Story Stream
Working with the Seattle Fandango Project, MCDM produced a document highlighting their work. The Seattle Fandango Project is dedicated to forging relationships through participatory music and dance. It takes as its original model the fandango celebration of Veracruz, Mexico, in which music, singing, and dancing are used to generate a spirit of convivencia – living/being together – that helps build communication and trust.
Seattle Fandango Project