JCPS Storytelling Project
The Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Storytelling Project is a community outreach program that introduces local high- and middle- school students to digital storytelling tools and techniques. Led by graduate students in our English Department, the JCPS Storytelling Project is helping young people express themselves through the art of digital storytelling.
In its first year, graduate students helped Moore High School Cultural Dialoguers develop the skills they needed to craft, edit, and share their personal stories for a private YouTube channel. These stories culminated in the #KnowMoore open mic night, a student-led evening of poetry, stories, theater, and discussion that centered on students’ experiences as young people living their diverse identities in Louisville. This year, participants in the Project are assisting the students in storyboarding, recording, editing, and workshopping a short documentary that will be screened at the Speed Cinema as part of an end-of-year showcase.
Looking For Participants!
We are looking for graduate students who are interested in lending their time and energies to this project. As well as assisting young people in expressing their own life stories, you would gain valuable experience participating in a community partnership dedicated to digital storytelling. You do not need to have previous experience in digital storytelling skills: we will hold an orientation at the beginning of the semester to train you in basic iMovie and storyboarding skills.
- Facilitate weekly conversations and individual documentary projects with Moore students
- Work one-on-one with students to develop storytelling, recording, and editing skills
- Provide recording support for schoolwide and/or Cultural Dialoguer events (often held on Wednesdays or weekends)
- Provide behind-the-scenes, off-site editing support with students’ direction
- Continue to support your students as they work on finessing their stories ahead of the #KnowMoore film festival.
Patrick: "Working with the Moore students has been the most rewarding experience in my time at U of L. Each week I feel more like a guest than a supervisor or facilitator, as they invite us in to their space, allow us to participate in their discussions and projects, and lead the way on individual and group projects. The students are so open, so engaged, and so excited to tell their stories and speak their minds. I’m usually exhausted on the drive there and inspired on the drive home. These students inspire me to listen better, engage more, and step back from instruction and into the role of collaborator. Letting them take the lead and providing logistical support more than instruction has grown our partnership with the Cultural Dialoguers. We’re set up to provide continued, sustained support and to grow out newer, bigger projects in the foreseeable future."
Ashanka: "The Cultural Dialoguers project at Moore High School reinvigorates me as a teacher-scholar. I look forward to engaging, listening, and learning from and with these students, who are always excited to see and chat with us about their ideas about current events, cultural issues that matter to them, and use the audio and video technology to capture their stories. The students tend to take the lead; I take the role of listening more than anything. The students are very determined and self-aware––they genuinely want to chat about what are often tagged as “difficult topics,” and do so in a supportive and open-minded way."
Caitlin: "Nearly a year ago, I went to Moore High School to help record stories and poetry read out loud by students. I have gone to Moore nearly every school week since. This has been one of the most rewarding projects I have been fortunate to work on at the University of Louisville. Once a week, we go to Moore high school during the Cultural Dialoguers club, where students gather to discuss and make art in response to current and cultural events that impact them. We saw them, talked with them, and created with them after the Parkland shooting, Charlottesville, and other key moments in the past year. Highlights of our work at Moore have included generating ideas with a group of middle school students for a video essay about eating disorders, recording a performance/discussion with the Okolona community at South Central Public Library, and facilitating a roundtable discussion after the Parkland shooting about the student’s thoughts about safety and gun violence in their community. I am always struck by the level of critical awareness and thoughtfulness they bring to each meeting, and always look forward to spending my Thursdays at Moore."