Community Storytelling: celebrating institutional anniversaries with stories
I wrote about “community storytelling” a couple years ago for a presentation at SEGD, and I’m still working through that intriguing phrase. At the time, I focused on special events, such as institutional anniversary celebrations, as a hub for gathering stories. So we created a portable Storykiosk with 42 Design Fab for recording stories at popup events and celebrations.
Now we’re adding a major new tool: an online server and content management system for recording visitors’ stories via their own devices (mobile phones, tablets, and laptops) via email invitation. Museums, universities, and businesses can email their members and alumni, asking them to add their story — a major addition to community storytelling allowing people who can’t come to exhibits or events to add their experience.
We’re working on a project with Harvard Law School, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, gathering stories from alumni using both the popup kiosk at events, and our email-based recording server. At the very first event, the school’s “Celebration of Black Alumni”, we recorded inspiring stories of Harvard’s role fostering a generation of civil right attorneys.
And with the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, we installed a Storykiosk in the exhibit to collect stories of the 100th anniversary of Boeing, asking questions such as:
- What’s your Boeing story?
- What is your best memory of flying?
- What should Boeing invent next?
So the organizational anniversary is moving our technology and services forward. Memories over the years, experiences of people who have passed through the institution — alumni, museum visitors, employees — all can generate stories and memories drawn out by the moment of the anniversary.