Will other cities similarly invest in connected storytelling infrastructure?
We were selected to present at a fantastic venue in California: the Connected Learning Summit. This is one of the country’s leading conferences to bring together academics with practitioners from museums and libraries who care about civic engagement and learning around digital media.
For a longer essay with the ideas in this presentation, see our preprint (2 pages via Research Gate).
How can cities make their history more visible, and invite residents to participate across channels? This project investigates a transmedia “storytelling system” for neighborhoods, designed to circulate audio stories and digital photographs beyond institutional walls. Residents often discovered the system at one of five neighborhood libraries, each featuring a “satellite exhibit” of a Smithsonian exhibit on DC neighborhood history. A novel transmedia design extended the physical installations, yet remained deliberately low-tech. In particular, the system featured repurposed payphones, a storytelling truck, and a multimedia texting system to connect key sites around the city. The system recruited residents’ own stories of neighborhood history, even as it circulated specific oral histories from city archives. Print media like postcards proved essential for scavenger hunts and learning activities, shaping playful experiences around neighborhood stories. Over 18 months, the project demonstrated how connected learning at the neighborhood level can prioritize inclusion by balancing transmedia organizing with locally-owned platforms.
This is a design showcase presentation. According to the organizers, “This format is ideal for designers and practitioners to detail what they did, why, and how. Accepted showcases will be featured on our conference website catalog with links to the extended abstract, images, and the project itself when possible.”