Center for Media and Social Impact hosts two-day conference focused on civic media

Over 20 speakers gathered at AU to discuss storytelling’s impact on social justice

Center for Media and Social Impact hosts two-day conference focused on civic media
Guests pose for a photo at a previous Story Movements event.

The Center for Media and Social Impact at AU hosted Story Movements, a two-day conference examining platforms and genres of civic media, on March 1 and 2. 

CSMI Director Caty Borum Chattoo said Story Movements reflects what her organization concentrates on. Based at AU’s School of Communication, the innovation lab and research center showcases the role of media for social justice and social change. 

“We do a lot of research and gatherings that really focus on how audiences are influenced by storytelling about particular groups of people or ideas or social issues and we really look deeply at how that storytelling really matters in the world,” Borum Chattoo said.

The two-day conference comprises of panels of filmmakers and social justice leaders as well as the display of virtual reality projects and investigative journalism pieces.

There were over 20 speakers in attendance. Borum Chattoo said she had over a list of 100 speakers to choose from since she has gotten to know a lot of people through her work in documentaries and social justice.

“I had a pretty good idea - we had a range of ideas we wanted to talk about - of the kinds of leaders and speakers we would want to invite,” she said. “But it is kind of an endless list of people so every time we hold this conference we are not going to have a shortage of great groups and people.”

One particular project that stood out to Borum Chattoo was Courtney Cogburn’s immersive virtual reality experience called “1000 Cut Journey.” It shows people the experiences of everyday racism.

“It really invites people in to experience that everyday experience with the hope of creating real empathy and understanding,” Borum Chattoo said.

The audience for this event was geared toward philanthropists, media companies, social justice leaders, and students. She said she hoped that the conference would bring together people that truly believe in the power of media as a force of positive change.  

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