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. Meet our 2014-15 Storytellers!

Brown University stands apart for a culture of social justice that reaches across campus and echoes around the world. Yet most of the stories go untold.

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

Our Storytelling Speaker Series is open to all students; click here for more information.

About the Program

The Swearer Center seeks to create an open, supportive learning community at Brown University where students can build and apply their skills in digital media in order to tell authentic, meaningful stories with social impact.

Meet the 2013-14 Storytellers for Good:

See video

On finding a space to explore storytelling:

See video

Storytellers participate in weekly group meetings in order to build the skills and receive the feedback needed to produce individual stories. The production of these stories includes research; storyboarding; interviewing students, faculty, and others; editing content through rounds of feedback; and producing a final piece.

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.

On lessons learned:

See video

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 

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 Humanities, 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

Jeffrey Matteis '15. PHL via PVD. After college I would like to live on the road, slow strolling across the country - camping and sleeping in a van. Til then… I'm currently back in school (after three years on leave) to learn more about storytelling, modern culture and media, and to meet great people. School is great because it can introduce you to many things that you didn't know you didn't know. I am currently interested in the intersection of compassion and creativity as well as sharing with others. I am going to be a life long filmmaker and storyteller. Mentor: Keith Heyward, Film

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

Tomás Quinonez-Riegos '15. Tomás is currently a senior at Brown who has spent his undergraduate years attempting to place a critical lens to the work of "doing good."  He has boundless faith in the goodness of humanity and has an insatiable desire to learn from the world.  He shares his experiences through writing and hopes to nurture additional media production skills to share interesting ideas from interesting people in a compelling and engaging manner. Mentor: Jennifer Galvin '95, Film

Tom Sullivan '15. Hi!  I am a senior concentrator in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University.  My love for photography, music and Spanish have led me to some pretty interesting places.  Last fall I spent the semester living in Chile, where wandered with my camera through Santiago almost everyday.  I found myself choking on tear gas while photographing a student protest, getting in beatbox battles with street musicians and ultimately hitchhiking around the southern island of Chiloé in search of interesting faces and views.  Swimming in the ocean is as close to God as I'll ever get, so if I am near open water, no matter the time of year, I'll dive in.  As a Storyteller for Good, I hope to take you to new places and introduce you to fascinating people that might just be right next to you. Mentor: Stephen Crocker, Film 

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

How to Apply

2014-15 Storyteller for Good

Applications are currently closed.

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

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

Graduate students are welcome to apply.

Expectations:

  • This is a year-long position with a firm 10-hour/week commitment, including weekly 1.5 hour meetings.
  • There will be a kickoff retreat on the afternoon of Sunday, September 21, 2014 for accepted storytellers. If applying, please save this date.

Information Session

Please join us for an information session at the Swearer Center (25 George Street) on Monday, September 8, 7:30-8:30pm or come speak to us at one of the following events:

  • Swearer Center Open House: September 5, 3-4pm (25 George Street)
  • Community Service Opportunities Fair: September 10, 7-8pm (Sayles Hall)

If you are unable to attend these events or have additional questions, please email Alexandra_Braunstein@brown.edu

Become A Story Mentor

During the program, students have the chance to co-produce a story with an alumni or professional storyteller mentor - a 4-hour per semester commitment.

If you are an alumni or professional working in the field of storytelling and media, please email Alexandra_Braunstein@brown.edu to learn more.

Pitch Your Story!

Do you have a story of social innovation to share on Swearer Sparks? Do you want to work with a Storyteller for Good on a media project about your social cause or venture? Click here to learn more.