The Storymakers, l to r: Greg Clem, Katt Ryce, Holley Broughton, Chip Denton, Courtney Reid-Eaton, “Outside Collaborator” John Biewen, Mya Hunter, Vimala Rajendran, Paul Broughton, Nia Wilson, Kimani Hall, Roberto Nava, Courtney Smith, Teddy Denton, Jamila Davenport, Debbie Bussel, Roger Spears. (Not pictured: Beatriz Aranda, George Garcia, WUNC “Inside Collaborator” David Brower.)
Storymakers: Durham is part of Localore: Finding America, the latest iteration in the series of public media initiatives that AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, began in 2010. Each of the 15 new projects pairs an independent producer with a local radio or television station. Their mission? To invent new storytelling models with and for communities that public media doesn’t typically reach.
Storymakers is a collaboration among producer John Biewen, audio program director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and host of CDS’s Scene on Radio podcast; North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC; and SpiritHouse, Inc., a black women-led arts and organizing group active in Durham since 1999; and the people of Durham.
The project invites people in one strikingly diverse city to reflect on the forces that unite and divide us – race, class, inequality of opportunity – to look one another in the eye and converse, and to tell stories from their varying perspectives. That’s not all. Storymakers does not simply point its microphones at community residents; it hands over the tools of audio production. We’ve invited a select group of people, about 15 Durham residents, to become audio storytellers and producers. In the spring of 2016 they are developing and workshopping their stories, acting as editors to one another, and by summer they will produce a series of short documentaries for WUNC and Scene on Radio.
John Biewen, the creator of “Storymakers” with WUNC, has followed his radio work to 40 American states and to Europe, Japan, and India. He is audio program director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, where he teaches and produces the podcast Scene on Radio. He co-edited the book “Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound.”
As program director at North Carolina Public Radio WUNC, David Brower has focused on sustainable, listener-focused development, including the WUNC Youth Reporting Institute, expanded education coverage and a national reporting project about military veterans. He is a big fan of strong coffee, old-time music and college basketball.
Nancy “Mama Nia” Wilson, Executive Director, SpiritHouse. With a background in nursing, client services and community organizing, including using Story Circles in a Harm-Free Zone project in Durham, she will help shape and co-lead the Story Circle process.
Mya Hunter, staff organizer, SpiritHouse. A former teenaged co-founder of the Youth Noise Network, a CDS-based youth radio project, and now a community organizer, Mya will help with both the Story Circles and the training of citizen-storytellers.