Storytellers for Good

Do you tell good stories? Tell stories for good.

The Storytellers for Good program (S4G) supports students with skills in digital media to produce stories about students, alumni, and faculty exploring social change at Brown.  

Storytellers are the voice of Brown’s social change community. Their stories can be found on Swearer Sparks, a new website launched in May 2014 to inspire and connect the social change community at Brown.

Explore this page:

About the Program

Storytellers participate in weekly meetings in order to build skills and hear the feedback needed to produce their individual stories. The production of these stories includes research; storyboarding; interviewing; editing media through rounds of feedback; and producing a final piece for the web.

On finding a space to explore storytelling:

See video

On their favorite stories:

See video

In addition to regular peer critique of their work, Storytellers are also connected to a powerful network of alumni and professionals working in the fields of media, storytelling, and social impact. These professionals lead workshops and serve as mentors for students as they sharpen their narrative voice and technical skills in digital storytelling.

Through their work, student storytellers have the opportunity to build a multimedia portfolio; gain exposure to an audience of thousands; and work on a creative, supportive, and fast-paced team.

FEATURE: "Photo essay spotlights civic action" via Brown Daily Herald, Octobr 2014

How to Apply

Spring 2015: Storytellers for Good

>> Click here to apply.
Deadline: Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 5pm EST 

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of technical skills (writing/journalism, video production, audio production, photography, illustration/animation, or other forms of digital storytelling) and/or the ability to identify and craft a strong narrative
  • Experience in non-academic writing skills strongly preferred, such as creative fiction and nonfiction, journalism, blogging, etc.
  • Curiosity and passion for connecting with others
  • Strong interest in the work of organizations and ventures with a social mission
  • Manages commitments gracefully with attention to accuracy, details, and deadlines

Expectations:

  • This is a semester- or year-long position with a firm 10-hour/week commitment, including weekly 1-2 hour meetings.

Previous knowledge of the social change community at Brown and ownership of technical equipment are not required.

Graduate students are welcome to apply.

Nominate a Story of Social Change

Do you know someone making a difference on campus or in the world?

The Storytellers for Good program is now seeking nominations for stories about social change at Brown! We're looking for stories of all shapes and sizes, focused on social change work from a variety of perspective and disciplines. Anyone can nominate a student, faculty, course, organization/program, or alumn, and our student storytellers will work with them to create an amazing digital story.

>> Click here to submit your nomination.
>> See examples of past stories.
Deadline: Friday, January 23 

Please send any questions to Liza_Yeager@brown.edu.

Storytelling Speaker Series

Each semester, the Swearer Center hosts speakers and workshops on campus in order to explore the intersection of media, storytelling, and social impact. Register below!

The Power of Visual Storytelling in the Networked World: A Conversation with National Geographic's Keith Jenkins

Tuesday, November 4 at 5:30pm
Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center for the Arts (154 Angell Street)
Open to the public 

See video

What does it mean to be a storyteller in 2014? How do stories remain relevant in an ever-evolving and expanding world? Join us for a conversation on visual storytelling with Keith Jenkins, a leader at National Geographic overseeing its transformation into a digital organization. 

In the short time he has been at National Geographic, Jenkins and his team launched Proof, NGS’s photo blog, and helped grow Your Shot, NGS’s online photo site, into a thriving community.

Jenkins is a distinguished speaker on photography and multimedia; he is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and worked previously as Senior Producer for Multimedia at NPR.org and a Managing Editor for Photography at The Washington Post. 

Co-sponsored by the Swearer Center for Public Service, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities, Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, and Departments of Anthropology and Theatre Arts and Performance Studies.

Workshops:

Audio Storytelling Workshop with Raina Fox ‘13 MAPH & Nate Storring ‘13 MAPH
Thursday, October 9. 5-6pm. Swearer Center for Public Service (25 George Street).

How do you tell a dynamic story with sound alone? How can you conduct a strong interview that lends itself to audio storytelling? What equipment and techniques do you need to turn an interview into an audio piece? Raina Fox and Nate Storring will host a one hour workshop introducing students to the basics of audio storytelling. Students will analyze sample audio stories, gain experience using audio recording equipment, discuss and practice interview methods, and learn narrative principles of audio editing. Raina has led oral history workshops in Providence and Chicago, and brings experience conducting and editing oral histories for a variety of storytelling purposes. Nate brings four years of experience as a freelance videographer and digital storyteller.

Space is limited; please register here

Photography As Narrative: How to Take Photos that Tell A Story with Rachel Hulin ‘00
Friday, October 24. 2:30-3:30pm. Swearer Center for Public Service (25 George Street).

What does it take to not only capture a beautiful photograph, but tell a powerful story? Photography can expose, inspire, and change the viewer. This workshop will provide an overview of photographic techniques like composition, and also dive into the narrative qualities of photography, including photo essays. Rachel Hulin '00 is a photographer, photo editor, and author. Her popular Flying Henry series was ​featured by BuzzFeed, Oprah, The Today Show, and others and is also a children's book of the same name. She is a founder of The Photography Post, a photography blog and aggregation site, and worked as a photography blogger and editor in New York for many years; titles included Rolling Stone, RADAR Magazine, and Nerve.com. See Rachel's work at rachelhulin.com.

Space is limited; please register here

Imagining Your Story: Storyboards and Scripts  
Thursday, November 6. 5:00-6:00pm. Swearer Center for Public Service (25 George Street).

Okay, you have an incredible idea for your story and maybe some ​material. Now what? Storyboards and scripts are powerful tools to help storytellers plan and visualize their final piece. In this workshop, you will learn various ways to develop these tools​ ​through ​examples and discuss how to​ tailor ​the ​workflow to fit your project. Julia Liu '06 is a Providence-based filmmaker, comic artist and illustrator. When she is not working in NYC on TV shows and movies, she is crafting stories through her own films and illustrations. Her short film "Brown's 'Rape List,' Re-Visited" was recently published as a New York Times Op-Doc. See Julia's work at juliacliu.com.

Space is limited; please register here.

Current Storytellers

Isabel DeBre '18. Isabel grew up in Los Angeles. A freshman at Brown, she plans to concentrate in Literary Arts and International Relations, and to unite her love of storytelling with her interests in world affairs. Isabel’s fiction and poetry have been featured in several literary magazines, and she has been recognized by the National Young Arts Foundation and the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. For several years, she has been writing articles on global human rights for Care2.com, an online community dedicated to social justice causes. She has also worked for Human Rights Watch, and the International Rescue Committee’s Refugee Resettlement department in Los Angeles. As a Storyteller for Good, she believes that ethical stories represent the ideal agent of social change, and she’s so excited to contribute to this discourse at Brown. Mentor: Alessandra Wollner '12, Writing

Sophie McKibben '16. Sophie grew up in rural Vermont, where she spent her time cross-country skiing, running a national literary magazine for kids, and organizing community-based services for military families. After spending a semester working on an organic farm, and another learning about government in D.C., Sophie finished high school at Red Cross Nordic United World College in Flekke, Norway, where she was one of two Americans and lived on a fjord. At Brown, Sophie has worked with the BRYTE program, co-directing BRYTE Summer Camp, a 6-week academic enrichment summer program in Providence for refugee youth. She has also worked as a storyteller, highlighting the voices of those engaged in social justice work. Mentor: Caitie Whelan '06, Writing

Liza Yeager '17. Liza started high school in her hometown, Corvallis, Oregon, and finished at the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the two years she spent in Mostar, she co-led a student radio show focused on social activism and organized a citywide English tutoring program. At Brown, Liza will probably concentrate in Development Studies and will definitely continue exploring how storytelling can be used for social impact. She is also involved with the Brown University Mediation Project (BUMP) and Space in Prisons for Art and Creative Expression (SPACE).  Mentor: Rachel Hulin '00, Photography

Meet our past storytellers.

Become A Story Mentor

During the program, students have the chance to connect for an hour each month with a mentor working in the field of digital storytelling.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please email Alexandra_Braunstein@brown.edu to learn more.