24 Sep 2015

All posts from 24 Sep 2015


Building a Foundation for the Story Co-Op Experience

Written by Scott Macklin.

“Scott’s methodology of convening through story-making has helped us realize connections that were not readily apparent and extend the capacity and impact of our partnered work. As a UW alumni (Evan’s School), it means a lot to me to have Scott’s talent available to our work.

– Randy Engstrom, Director of City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture

H.A.G.S. is the acronym often written in yearbooks as the school-year ends and summer break begins.  As we head into fall, I find myself reflecting a bit on what it means to “have a great summer.”  Upon thinking through the implications of striving for great, I am coming to a realization that good is not second best.  For me, good has the connotation of social responsibility, context, and reciprocity of an activity.  Whereas great describes an individual’s status or achievement.  I am not looking to create an unnecessary binarism of good and great but rather sussing out the success criteria of each.  At the Communication Leadership graduate program we develop learning opportunities for our students to create, share and determine the success of both their individual and collective story-making efforts.  Stories have always been the heartbeat through which communities are bound and the footsteps by which members of an organization bridge their mission to the world. With the advent of digital media and social technology, one’s ability to create, disseminate, and thus challenge dominant modes of mass media has arrived. But whose story is being told, and who is doing the telling? Effective storytellers come in all shapes and sizes. Our approach to story-making puts the role of the story creation into the hands and hearts of the communities we serve; through a process of deep hanging out, we situate story-making in to the act of convening communities of practice.

Over the past few years, The Communication Leadership graduate program has built up a rich portfolio of work with various partners that provides opportunities for our students to produce media and stories that matter around the world.  Some examples include:

KUOW death over dinnerFlip Brazil thumb


obumu media story exp thumbGEPAL thumb

“These type of partnerships, EMP-District-City-University of Washington, reflect the forward thinking model nationally to truly impacting meaningful learning for our youth. These wide community partnerships are key if we are to move forward in creating educational opportunities that are rooted in excellence and equity.”

Bonnie Showwers, Curator in Education + Interpretive Services at the EMP

“The power and influence of the first of its kind historical indigenous hip hop media lab, led by professor Scott Macklin & Comm Lead student Jonathan Cunningham, instigated a generational awakening of OBUMU (a luganda word meaning unity). This spirit continues to reconnect and activate young African visionaries in Uganda to expand their visions and shared passion based on the power of learning how to tell their authentic truth through the art of storytelling media platforms.”

Babaluku, Founder and CEO of Bavubuka Allstarz Foundation, Uganda

The impact of these collaborations is tangible and lasting. Now we are working to mature this process by creating the Story Co-Op EXP, so that we can better couple our student’s learning goals with the service goals of our community partners. Stay tuned for more about this effort! In the meantime, check out some of the more recent projects we have produced leading up to and over the course of a great good summer:

Play Streets

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) public space management team collaborated with the University of Washington Communication Leadership graduate program’s Jill Becker and Scott Macklin to plan, record and edit four Play Street outreach videos. SDOT wanted Seattle residents to be able to visualize the program and its benefits, and give potential Play Street hosts a few ideas for easy, inexpensive and very fun activities to do on their streets.

City of Music Career Day

Scott Macklin along with his Communication Leadership graduate and Dept. of  Communication undergraduate students designed and implemented a story-making strategy for the City of Music Career Day.  This one-day educational program provides high school juniors and seniors and college students direct access to music industry professionals through networking, experiential learning, engaging workshops, and performance. Produced In partnership with One Reel, with the support of the Office of Film and Music and Office of Arts & Culture, the event hosted over 300 high school students, 25 industry experts, and 20 different organizations.

Sounds Beyond Barriers

Six teaching artists from Seattle & LA had the privilege of spending a week at the King County Juvenile Detention Center in Seattle with an amazing group of youth. Together they wrote three songs utilizing a collective songwriting process developed by indigenous Mayan communities in Chiapas, Mexico and by Chican@ artivistas in East LA. The project, called Sounds Beyond Barriers, included the youth & staff at KCJD, Martha Gonzalez, Ph.D., Quetzal Flores, Stephany Hazelrigg, Teresa Bazan, Alex Chadsey, and Scott Macklin. It was made possible with support from the Jubilation Foundation and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

“My Hands, My Voice, My Music” – Workshops with Tacho Utrera on the Art and Labor of Son Jarocho

In partnership with smART Ventures, the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, the Seattle Fandango Project (SFP), the Casa Latina day-labor worker center, and the Communication Leadership program designed and implemented a worksop with Latino immigrant day-laborers. Tacho Utrera, a musician and luthier with expertise in the Mexican music of Son Jarocho, came to Seattle to share the dialogue and practice of the Fandango tradition with Latino immigrant day-laborers and members of the general public. The Fandango is a participatory and celebratory practice incorporating the music and zapateado dance of Son Jarocho to generate communication and trust between participants and build a community of support.

PowellsWood Garden Storytelling Festival 2015

The PowellsWood Storytelling Festival is made possible through the generous support of Monte and Diane Powell, and the efforts of Des Moines resident Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald. The festival is sponsored by the PowellsWood Garden Foundation, the Seattle Storyteller’s Guild, and the Fireside Story League of Tacoma. Additional volunteer support comes from the Mount Tahoma Storytelling Guild.

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Building a Foundation for the Story Co-Op Experience