Digital Projects

Below you’ll find links to some of the projects completed in Digital Storytelling over the course of the Spring 2019 semester at Brown.

Students enrolled in this course were asked to collaborate on place-based audio storytelling projects and to develop their own digital projects. Some of this work materialized in the form of prototypes and “proof of concept” work, experiments with multimodal storytelling tools, work-in-progress efforts that students are not yet ready to share with publics, or approaches that, upon further reflection, aren’t ideal fits (for a variety of reasons). Many students were taking up the work of digital storytelling for the first time; others decided to use the course as an opportunity to do more speculative work, or to try out new tools and methodologies. We considered specific publics and their various interests and needs in all of our work, but over the course of a single semester-long course where we’re also doing extensive reading (in addition to all of the other work students are doing elsewhere at Brown!), I only want students sharing public-facing digital storytelling initiatives if they are comfortable doing so.

This context is here to acknowledge and value the amazing student work that has not yet traveled beyond the communication networks of the course; some of it, for a host of reasons, may never move beyond this semester in its current form.

In addition to course readings, students were given assignment prompts that outlined my expectations and aims, and I provided feedback on proposals and work-in-progress via email, class conversations, peer review materials, and individual project consultations. Students created project topics, defined their scope, objectives, and imagined audiences, initiated and managed forms of collaboration (when relevant), and produced the work. Some students built upon or extended work previously begun in other courses at Brown or elsewhere. Please note that some students view efforts described here as iterative: they are comfortable sharing it, but it is still work-in-progress in many ways (as many digital storytelling projects are!).

Click project titles to view them. The italicized descriptions are from text created by students to describe their work.

Place-Based Audio Storytelling Projects

Views of North America?

Created by Maya Blake, Jasmine Chu, Taylor Jackson, Hannah Mooney, Vanina Morrison, Johanna Obenda, Isabella Robbins, Tolu Sogade, and Ruby Thiagarajan

Located at 357 Benefit Street, [the Nightingale-Brown House] is part historic house, part workplace, part student space, but primarily serves as the public humanities department at Brown University. It is also home to “Views of North America,” a wallpaper depicting racist caricatures in a landscape of colonial fantasy.

What’s going on here? As students and professionals in the field of arts, culture, history, and heritage we think a lot about interpreting complicated places and objects. The public humanities is “a practice that works for social justice and that explores the intersectionalities of race, class, gender and sexualities” (Smulyan).  The Center offers degree programs, engaged research, and innovative conferences help students, practitioners and communities make the humanities meaningful and accessible. How does the built environment of the house reflect the accessible, publicly engaged work we do?

Transit and Place: Providence in Motion

Created by Chandra Dickey, Nina Goetzen, Aly Myers, and Meera White

This podcast is an exploration of a bus rider’s experience in Providence, Rhode Island. It is separated into four segments and examines space and sound in relation to Kennedy Plaza operated by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA). Our podcast includes interviews from riders, observations and sounds of Kennedy Plaza, the history of RIPTA, and information on the Poetry in Motion program. 

Digital Projects

Between Tide

Created by Jasmine Chu

Between Tide is a digital storytelling project created by Jasmine Chu (Brown ’19) exploring identity, memory, and (un)belonging. The physical piece consists of photo collage, paper fish, and shifting text projected over refracted blue light. The text is a creative nonfiction piece generated one line at a time based on the changing tides of the Pacific Ocean that link California and Hong Kong. The story moves fluidly between Jasmine’s voice and her father’s to tell a story of hybridity, echoes, and cycles leading home.

Clover Street Library

Created by Sarah Clapp

The Clover Street Library is a digital library of stories about the neighbors who live on and around Clover Street, told through animation and interactive activities oriented toward literacy, art, and community.​

The Clover Street Library is written, illustrated and animated by Sarah Clapp. Mr. Robinson’s Band’s music is composed and recorded by Ben Bienstock.

Mapping Black Paris

Created by Chandra Dickey

In the early 20th century, African Americans in the South faced racial terror in the form of Jim Crow laws, voter suppression, and segregation. Simultaneously, de facto forms of oppression including threats of lynching or bombings after protests made making full claims to American citizenship unthinkable for many African Americans. By the 1920s, blacks started to look to the North for refuge, but were still faced with anti-blackness and discrimination in cities like Chicago and New York.

Some moved further and chose to go abroad for months or years at a time to escape their unjust treatment in the United States. One of the most popular of these cities was Paris. By the 1930s, Paris but was a place where African Americans were treated fairly and even celebrated for their culture. Writers, artists and musicians flocked to the city in search of opportunity, freedom, and solace. Still, African Americans benefited from romanticized notions of jazz culture in ways that Francophone Africans and black French citizens and could not.

This StoryMap is an attempt to highlight a small sample of African Americans that thrived in the City of Light before 1950. Here you’ll find the clubs and bars where they came together in community, apartments where they lived in solitude, and concert halls and museums where they made names for themselves across the city.

Uncovering Reconstruction: Interpreting Sites of Reconstruction History in Charleston, South Carolina, 1865-1877

Created by Hannah Mooney

“Uncovering Reconstruction: Interpreting Sites of Reconstruction History in Charleston, South Carolina, 1865- 1877” is a digital tour that attempts to uncover the history of the Reconstruction period and make it more accessible. By understanding how Reconstruction affected Charleston, we can all make better sense of racial and socioeconomic issues affecting the city today.

Most heritage and history organizations in Charleston fail to publicly address the city’s history during the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, a time known as the “Reconstruction era.” This period, following the emancipation of formerly enslaved persons, was one of turbulent political shifts, physical rebuilding, violence, and a changing socioeconomic system in Charleston. Without legalized slavery to create an institutionalized social system, white Southerners needed to find a new means by which to legitimize racism and maintain a social and racial hierarchy. The establishment of “Black Codes” which later became “Jim Crow Laws” created the segregation that continued well into the 20th century.”Uncovering Reconstruction” is an attempt to educate on the reality of this period and engage the public in how we talk about and understand out collective history.

The Name That Follows You

Created by Tolu Sogade

In Nigeria, in the Yoruba ethnic group, names have an immense significance. They are wound up in religious meanings, didactic messages, and family history. Therefore, within a singular name, a story unfolds. 

This project explores the meanings and stories intertwined within the names of young adults of Yoruba descent as they tell a nuanced story about their lives and their relationship with their Yoruba heritage. 

CONCEALED

Created by Meera White

this site is an online exhibit of digital collages made from the library of congress’ african american photographs assembled for 1900 paris exposition. they are paired with quotes from writers, theorists, and journalists about the social phenomenon of “passing.”

upon my first viewing of the library of congress’s collection, i was struck by the presence of african american women who would be considered, in our modern sense, as “white-passing.” i was also struck by more “ethnically ambiguous” sitters. using these images as sources, i edited the photos and paired these new collages with text, to evoke connections and ideas that might add to the visual cues already present.