2022 Program Topic:
Media and Technology
Friday November 18
The arts are not simply a mirror of society. Rather, they are a driving force behind many social transformations. The arts communicate ideology and mobilize people all along the political spectrum. They foster solidarity around shared purposes, values, and identities and provide elements of aesthetic pleasure that can inspire creative responses to fear, oppression, and exploitation. The arts are also tactical interventions in their own right, providing a method for critique and resistance.
How can the arts be married with digital technologies to tell new stories of anti-racism? In this session, the co-presenters ask attendees to experience two new narratives constructed using 360° video cameras. This relatively new technology enables creators to capture an experience and invite audiences into them virtually, almost as bystanders. The two narratives at the heart of this session concern firsthand accounts of racial microaggressions. They demonstrate how new technologies can be a creative, expressive tool for learning about and working through racial microaggressions.
The session offers the opportunity to view the videos with VR headsets. As the videos were the products of a new course, Rehearsals in Anti-racism, the course designer and student creatives share the impetus behind the projects. They discuss the key concepts guiding their creative practice, and invite attendees to participate in a critical dialogue about the promises and perils of racial storytelling, reflection, and learning with new technologies. Special attention is given to how VR can help with healing after a racial event, but also risks retraumatizing visitors to virtual spaces.
In the wake of QAnon, insurgent movements are embracing its model — building passionate extremist communities using the symbols and communication styles of pop-culture fandoms. When these viral techniques are combined with the infinite reach of digital platforms, the result is a dangerous new approach to hacking our democracy, consolidating influence and advancing the surging cultural power of white nationalism. From the parents’ rights movement to the pro-authoritarians, these toxic digital narrative ecosystems are activated by content created by influencers and right-wing media; held and spread by communities that criss-cross platforms and demographics; and ultimately ultimately forge the identities, beliefs and behaviors of millions.
Join Western State Center’s Eric Ward, Pop Culture Collaborative’s Tracy Van Slyke and Institute for the Future’s Jeff Yang as they share groundbreaking research and cultural analysis on how these “digital narrative ecosystems” are being created, evolved and expanded; discuss the implications of their growing role in American racialization and politics; and share insights on how these same fandom-based narrative change strategies could inspire millions of people to resist, neutralize, and supplant the white nationalist movement with the yearning for a just and pluralist society.
When Prism was established, it was because we knew that the status quo media landscape wasn’t reflecting enough of the truth — and it wasn’t bringing us closer to our vision of collective liberation and justice.
Prism is a community of journalists and justice seekers committed to delivering detailed and thought-provoking news and analysis at the intersections of multiple issue areas. We help people to understand the issues that matter most to them, digging deep into both systemic problems and solutions to empower readers with information that pushes the conversation on justice forward, and moves people to action.
For Facing Race 2022, in contribution to the goal of creating and building the society we want and deserve, our focus for this session is: How asset-based and participatory storytelling can advance social justice. The Prism team will host a panel discussion on what we’ve learned on applying a social justice approach to communications.
Our panel will engage with attendees on the context and history of worker’s rights news coverage, solutions, and lessons learned toward creating a participatory journalism model, and host a real-time workshopping session.
Prism’s goal for this panel is to welcome folks into a collaborative conversation on what it means to center lived experiences, how advocates and allies amplify solutions, and why this approach to storytelling is integral to racial justice.
Saturday November 19
Deeply-entrenched toxic narratives such as scarcity, individualism, and the inevitability of inequality, are serious obstacles in the fight for land, housing, and racial justice. Five years ago, advocates and organizers from 16 racial and housing justice groups came together with renowned artists from all over the country to identify and deconstruct these harmful narratives, while creating visionary alternatives. Join members of our groundbreaking BIPOC-led collective, Rise-Home Stories, to learn how we created a body of award-winning multimedia projects that advance new narratives of abundance and collective action to support grassroots organizing.
-Alejandria Fights Back! / ¡La Lucha de Alejandria! - a bilingual, illustrated children’s book whose 9-year-old Afro-Latinx heroine fights evictions on her block.
-Dot’s Home - a time-travel video game that allows players to experience racist housing policies over decades, through the eyes of one Black family living in Detroit.
-But Next Time - a podcast lifting up community-led responses to climate-fueled disasters.
-MINE - The pilot of an animated web series set in a future utopia fueled by sentient water, whose protagonist is Blaze, a non-binary Black teenager.
-StealEstate - an interactive web experience featuring audio storytelling and dynamic illustration that makes the case against the financialization of housing.
In our breakout session, you’ll hear how advocates became storytellers and artists became advocates as they shared creative decision-making power. You’ll also learn how you can use this media to support your own organizing and narrative work. We’ll help you identify harmful narratives that affect your social justice work and brainstorm visionary alternatives.