Posted January 12th 2017 at 2:41 pm by
in Telling Your Story Online

Supporting young artists to tell their personal stories online

Friday, December 9th, 2016 was the 1st part of a workshop series I’m leading at Raw Art Works (RAW for short) called ‘Home Page.’ The workshop series was thought up by Nse Umoh, CoLab Radio’s previous Executive Editor and Program Director, and Käthe Swaback, RAW’s Program Director. Nse met Käthe at an MIT event in 2015 and they found a lot of alignment in their work. They stayed in touch hoping for an opportunity to work together.

In 2015 RAW was one of seven organizations around the world awarded the distinction of being an Adobe Creative Catalyst.  They also applied for and were selected to receive an Adobe Innovation grant. Käthe saw the grant as a window of opportunity to reconnect with CoLab Radio and Käthe reached out to Nse.

Nse connected me to Käthe and we had a few phone calls to work out how we could partner. As a part of the Catalyst grant, RAW has ten different projects, all related to the idea of HOME. Käthe thought the HOME PAGE project seemed to make the most sense. Over our conversations, I saw a few ways I could bring some of my passions and training to that specific project and we locked it down.

The deliverable for the project is online portfolios for a number of RAW’s young artists. I have a background in web design (and have dabbled in back-end web development) and I’m increasingly interested in personal storytelling. As automation and globalization speed up, I think part of the way the world needs to change is individuals being more clear and explicit about who they are, what they uniquely offer to the world, and how those two things help them fit into their multiple communities.

Käthe and I worked out that I would design a workshop series for a group of RAWs most senior and committed artists. The series would be co-taught by me and two RAW alums, Yesenia de Leon, a developer & designer at Fidelity Investments, and Cindy Sous, a UX/UI designer at Eastern Labs. The end product for the artists will be portfolios and we’ll be using some general storytelling methodology in addition to some narrative strategy tools via the Center for Story-Based Strategy.

The workshop series is structured like so:

  • Workshop 1: What’s your personal story?
  • Workshop 2: How do you tell your story online?
  • Workshop 3: How do you tell a collective story? / What’s your (individual and collective) story of HOME?

RAW: Workshop 1 - Flyer Front

The workshop flyer

Workshop 1 was attended by 9 young artists, recorded by Alyssa and assisted by Michael, both recent RAW alumni. Michael, an amazingly talented painter and college senior at Montserrat Art School, will be interning with the RAW high school seniors in Winter and Spring 2017. This December 9th workshop was his introduction to some of the young artists he’ll be working with.

RAW: Workshop 1

RAW: Workshop 1

Young artists from RAW helping each other map out the elements of their stories.

Here are a few of the takeaways from this first of three workshop sessions:

  • Your story and how you tell it (in spite of other people’s actions and opinions) is up to you.
  • You can redefine and retell your personal story whenever you want. In fact, I think we all should re-imagine and retell our own stories about ourselves from time to time.
  • We help each other define our stories.
  • We can tell and retell stories collectively (and I think the United States is in major need of some of this).

RAW: Workshop 1

The Workshop 1 crew

Stay tuned for updates about the workshop series, see the curriculum, and maybe even a few personal stories or portfolios in progress from the artists.

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