Archive for the ‘Transmedia Storytelling’ Category
Tags: Iran, Israel, Palestine, storytelling, transmedia storytelling
I originally blogged this on Osocio.org here and wanted to add a little more about what it means to create a shared future with people that ultimately see each other as enemies. here is my original post, followed by some more thoughts.
Free For The Weekend? Israel-Loves-Iran Campagn
In the field of peacebuilding there is something called an “envisioned shared future.” It is when the opposing sides in any conflict stop for a minute and think. It’s a ceasefire of the mind, if you will. In the field of social advertising, few things show this better than two recent posters from the Israel-Loves-Iran campaign. Fellow blogger and creative mastermind Marc Van Gurp originally posted about this wonderfully positive campaign here and is worth a second and third look.
more after the break
The posters call to action is for viewers to use their moral imagination and envision peace. To imagine a time when one will travel from Tel Aviv to Tehran or from Gaza to Tel Aviv without flying thru many other airports and additional passports in hand. Not only inspirational but aspirational, these posters push viewers to look beyond the obstacles to peace and find opportunities. Next time, I hope I will see you all at Ben Gurion Airport standing in line waiting to board the first airplane bound for Tehran… get your passports ready.
A quick update on how the campaign is going… the Facebook page now has over 90,000 likes and in October 2012, the creators, Ronny Edry and Machil Tamir have begun the official established “The Peace Factory.” From the website it is “A non profit, non political organization promoting peace in the middle east by making connection between people, opening new communication line, making people get to know each other, re-humanize people from “the other side”. Iranians, Palestinians, Israelis, Egyptians, Syrians, Lebanese,Turkish, Jordanians and more.”
By using this type of storytelling for conflict resolution and peacebuilding, the creators allow many narratives to be heard. The Israel-Loves-Iran facebook page is daily updated with images depicting regular people from Israel and Iran saying “I love you” ” This is not my war” etc. These powerful statements created by actors in the conflict fuel an unfolding “emergent peace endstory.”
Sadly, in conflicts like those of Israel and Palestine and the various proxy wars with Iran and others defending Palestine or Israel, one characteristic is true, they are fragmented societies. That is to say that there are few cohesive conflict narratives that abound or are held by any one majority. In such contexts there is a deep need for people to rally around an idea such as the campaign above does.
The emergent peace end-story allow for shared space and time to nudge thru other conflict narratives. This is to say it begins to paint the picture of what peace will look like when we actually have it. While a shared history is always taken into consideration it never determines the outcome. These stories can happen as Peace Factory is doing above, or thru portals such as experiential storytelling which allows participants to engage in multi-platform experience through technology or face to face such as text, Twitter, movie, audio, video dialog groups, co-mapping, alternative reality games or personalized storytelling, which are adaptive and in real time.
This exercise of imagining a different future may see futile at first as it has little to do with changing policy or immediately influencing decision makers and political actors. However it is based on sound theory of change. Because, when allowed to imagine a shared future, one needs to re-humanize the enemy and once again give the enemy a time and a place in the future. The conflict narrative often seeks to disappear the enemy. This can happen thru cultural, structural or real physical violence.
Cultural Violence, erases cultural products such as songs, language, clothing, monuments and history. Structural violence keeps “others” out of a shared “space” and “time” so walls are built, fences come up, roads are not constructed, trains do not run, jobs are not offered etc. And physical violence looks more like military-ethnic occupation, refugees and IDP’s and no man’s land. Sadly in the last 100 years we have also see the worst like ethnic cleansing, civil war or genocide. All seek to eliminate the enemy from tomorrow.
Developing a shared future begins the first stages of problem solving. It takes “isolation” off the table. It allows for cultural fusion or assimilation to occur. It does let anyone be more “pure” more human, more privileged than the other. In the end it makes the actors in a conflict have to consider that the enemy is here to stay and the only way thru the conflict is together.
Tags: asylum, displaced, IDP, refugees, social action, transmedia
On August 23, 1982, my parents, weary from suffering political and religious persecution and living under the looming threat of imprisonment, fled the Socialist Republic of Romania, taking eleven children with them. We must have been an enigma as we noisily boarded the airplane to America; seven rambunctious boys taking advantage of the free-flowing Pepsi and four wiry girls dressed in traditional Romanian attire. My mother actually sold our belongings and purchased the clothes so that we can look our best as we traveled to America. These small acts of dignity even in the most humble of situations defined our humanity.
While I was quite young this experience molded and made me who I am. It was the process of acculturation and assimilation that was the most formative and difficult. It was the learning of a new language, it was the experience of never really fitting in, it was being asked “Where are you from?” It was never having enough, yet sharing what you did. However it was also knowing where I am from and to whom I belong that grounded me and gave me a foundation. My families experience, however socially and economically difficult as it was, is just one story among literally millions which refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers can tell today. One common thread however is that no one chooses to be a refugee and everyone should have a place to call home.
As shown in the image above, the UNHCR estimates that in 2010 there were 43.7 displaced, refugees or asylum seekers. Global Trends 2011 reports that there was an increase in 800,000 new refugees in just one year. However due to the recent largest repatriation of IDP’s in decades the number has stayed down, despite the increase in new refugees. Worldwide today there are an estimated 42.5 million people who have ended either as refugees (15.2 million), internally displaced (26.4 million) or in the process of seeking asylum (895,000). Victims of violent conflict, food shortages and environmental disasters : each one has a story to tell.
For more details the full report can be found here: http://www.unhcr.org/swf/2011_Global_Trends.swf
The Campaign: My Life as A Refugee
Called ‘MY LIFE AS A REFUGEE’ features various media platforms which according to the website “forces players to face the same life-changing decisions refugees make in a true-to-life quest to try to survive, reach safety, reunite with loved ones and re-start their lives.” the campaign features:
According to the UNHCR Website: After selecting a character, players face a series of tough decisions and chance events in a quest to reach safety, reunite with loved ones and rebuild their lives. The game features three main characters who have been displaced and separated from their families. Months or years of narrative are compressed into five daily episodes. Players are prompted to make decisions along the way in order to reach safety. Each narrative is based on the real-life experiences of millions of refugees fleeing war or persecution.
online giving or advocacy thru events such as the World Refugee Day Umbrella March in Madrid.
I am glad to see such initiatives which use strategic communications and transmedia storytelling to tell the story of those that are often voiceless. I especially like that refugees are given a platform through Youtube to tell their own stories. The aim of the project is to provide an immersive experience to an obviously young audience, one that I hope will be compelled to take action. I hope that UNHCR will be a model for more organizations working in peacebuilding and conflict resolution to invest time, money and energy into such media projects and more importantly I hope that these initiatives would resonate with people today. I see these type of projects actually competing on some level with the many other offerings commercial media has, and that is a good thing. I also hope the app will be available soon on iphone – so I can finally download it!
Media and Communications in peacebuilding
Very interesting topic of transmedia storytelling and media convergence: expanding the use of film or social change.
How to engage an audience that feels like it is a part of something bigger. Based on participatory collective wisdom of the audience.
Tags: assumptions, name, other, social marketing, transmedia storytelling
I created this poster on Illustrator and placed sticky mirrors over each Hello nametag. The effect was when you looked straight on instead of seeing the nametags you saw yourself. At the conference I also handed out real nametags with mirrors on them – so that as the participants walked around the conference instead of the name tag saying “Hello My name is – so and so” it was a mirror – reflecting the person meeting them. This was to create a face-to-face space and place – where participants can practice asking each other about their assumptions. The nametags said “Hello, my name is” in languages that represented countries currently in conflict which are listed. The quote at the bottom by Cooley asked the viewer to think about the assumptions he believes about himself and the other. This was created to illustrate my research on the topic of applying social marketing and transmedia storytelling to the field of conflict resolution and peacebuilding
The idea was to use this as a format at a future conference where the webpage, brochures, t-shirts, nametags and other marketing/informational material would all ask the conference participants what their assumptions are about themselves and the other and how they let these assumptions shape their attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.
It is transmedia as it would engage participants through a multi-platform framework, both in person and on line through media. It is social marketing as it challenges participants to consider their attitudes and beliefs about the other and further provides a place to practice engaging with the other. This initiative would open dialogue that can reduce misperceptions about the capabilities and assumptions of the other. I hope to implement this concept at a conference in the future.