New Video Silent Stories Feature a Global Cast
In this global Covid-19 pandemic, Learning Life is pleased to announce the release of four new and innovative video silent stories to spur conversation on international health issues. The videos, each linked below, were made with a cast of actors and producers from four countries worldwide, and are a project of Learning Life’s Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI).
In line with Learning Life’s mission to spread learning and innovate education beyond school walls, FDI connects families worldwide to share and learn together via our FDI Facebook group. This year, from April to October, 40+ selected families in 20+ countries across the globe are participating in a food culture project through which they are sharing photos and text explanations in answer to six family and country food culture questions (e.g., what does breakfast look like in your family? What is a food trend in your country?). Learning Life also posts content of interest to families worldwide including profiles of FDI families, We Are Family Diplomats posters, interesting perspectives on family life worldwide, and free and low-cost, online, multi-lingual resources for individuals and families.
In addition, starting last year, Learning Life staff and volunteers began developing video silent short stories to creatively and collaboratively engage our youth and families in learning about international issues. The stories are silent for two reasons: to stimulate viewer conversation about the stories’ meanings, and to allow anyone worldwide, regardless of their spoken language(s), to understand the stories. In the fall of 2019, Learning Life produced its first four video silent stories on issues of poverty, labor and consumption, gender inequality, and school work. These stories featured Learning Life Mentoring Program youth and adult volunteers in the metro Washington, DC, USA as the on-screen actors.
Those stories followed on an original pilot live Global Storytelling Challenge led by Learning Life staff and featuring 7th and 8th grade students at Saint Thomas More Catholic Academy (STM) in Washington DC in fall 2018. The students created and performed their own plays about child labor and human trafficking before an audience of fellow STM students and Learning Life volunteer storytelling judges.
This summer, we took an ambitious step forward in the storytelling project by producing four new videos engaging FDI families and youth in four countries across the world: Australia, India, El Salvador and the USA. While the 2019 stories were recorded in-person in metro DC, the 2020 stories were recorded online via Zoom, commonly involving actors, camera persons and directors in two countries at the same time. Consonant with the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 videos focus on widespread international health issues, including communicable diseases like Covid as well as diabetes, heart disease, and water scarcity and pollution. A report on the 2020 project’s impact on the health knowledge of the participating child actors is forthcoming later this year.
In 2021 and beyond, Learning Life plans to produce more video stories like these, and collect them in a growing library of silent stories on international issues on Youtube to spur conversation and learning in families, groups and classrooms across the globe. The long-term vision is to develop an international silent storytelling competition that engages youth and families worldwide in making their own silent stories, or stories in collaboration with youth or families in other countries. To learn more, or get involved in future Learning Life silent stories, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning Life wishes to thank the following volunteers for helping to bring the four 2020 silent stories to fruition:
Video and story production staff: Gina Dario Stringer, Debjani Bhattacharya Das, Trinabrata Das, Ella Fasciano (special thanks to Ella as video editor for the 2020 stories!), Angeline Fry, Emily Krisanda, Paul Lachelier, Allison Miller, and Kelly Pemberton.
Health education staff for the 2020 stories: Angeline Fry and Emily Krisanda. We also wish to thank the Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSM), and the Director of GUSM’s Community Health Division, Dr. Kim Bullock, for their support of the 2020 silent story project.
Story actors: Diego Constanza, Leo Dario Stringer, Triggya & Trinabh Das, Lily Fasciano, and Kieran Lamb.