'StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.”
Story Corps is a program aimed at recording and archiving the oral history of experiences of everyday people in the United States.
Especially in a time when our lives rely so heavily on technology, interpersonal communications can be difficult to get started but have the potential to be more impactful and engaging in our everyday lives.
Douglas Rushkoff, the author of “Team Human”, advocates for a reinvigoration of interpersonal relationships as a means of helping us as society grow and prosper. As we experience life during a global pandemic, the idea of forming person to person connections is more challenging than ever before, leading to a general feeling of isolation and loneliness. The ethos of Story Corps is to help build connections through the sharing of experiences. While we are not able to do that primarily, given the current quarantine and social distancing precautions being taken around the spread of COVID-19, Story Corps has developed an app to encourage safe engagement and participation in their mission.
Throughout the book, “Team Human” there are many themes and ideas that focus on the importance of building connections in an attempt to build community, in order to help us overcome the isolation and loneliness that can grow from an increasingly technologically centered life. The idea of building a community and finding a sense of place and belonging are the foundational elements of a society and their accompanying systems of government.
In your interview, pose the questions found in our campus read, “Team Human”. Before you get started on this assignment, think about a subject in your life that has a compelling story relative to the provided prompts or themes. If your interview subject does not meet these themes or prompts completely, that is fine; consider identifying a theme on your own as you read the book and choose your interview subject relative to that theme.
1. Visit https://archive.storycorps.org/login/ and create an account using the “Get Started” button on the page.
3. Your classroom has a community for established as a repository for all of the recordings made by students in your class.
4. Follow the instructions to get your recording made and archived!
The Story Corps platform provides for three different privacy settings:
• Public: Your interview and related information are available to anyone on the web.
• StoryCorps Community: Your interview and related information are available to anyone with an account on the StoryCorps Archive.
• Private: Your interview and related information are private, and only visible to you on the StoryCorps Archive website. (Story Corps Connect Teachers Toolkit)
Please remember to notify the subject of your interview that your recording will be available on the Story Corps website. You and your interview subject may agree on either of these settings as you see fit.
“Complicated brains make for more complex societies” pg. 14
And complex societies make for a more complex set of experiences. In your interview, discuss with your interviewee how the society/environment they grew up in or spent their formative years in created notable experiences in their lives and how those experiences shaped the way they see the world around them today. Have those experiences prompted them to change society as they see it today? If so, how?
“Social losses...are experienced as acutely as a broken leg.” pg. 15
Losses within a community, regardless of the size, affect all of us. Discuss with your interviewee their perception of community loss, which can be defined as narrowly or as broadly as they would like, and how that impacts the way they structure their connections with the world around them. For example, the deaths of unarmed black men and women, both cis and trans, are felt acutely in our society, with the notion that a loss of one is a loss to us all. Have these events prompted them to become more active in their communities or have these and events that have happened like this consistently in the past decades, made them form different kinds of connections?
Political organizing methods (Statement 85-91)
Prompt #1 - Statement 86: “When you live somewhere, you can’t just tune to a different channel and get different neighbors. Everything comes back around.”
Politics, as they say, are local. Consider choosing a subject that either has current or a historical involvement in local politics, in any capacity, and have your subject share with you a story from their experience. Does that statement ring true in the experience of your subject? Or do they see themselves as an informed local voter? If not, what are the barriers that they see to becoming involved in local politics? How do you and your subject see local politics the community that you live in? Do you think that there is more representation at the local level? How do you know?
Prompt #2- Statement 87: “Citizen diplomacy, on the other hand, is behavioral: showing by example, live and in person. Instead of leading to confrontation, it engenders interdependence.”
Consider asking your interview subject if there is a person who inspired them to get involved in some way in their community. Was this person someone you knew personally or was it a public figure? What actions did their example encourage you to take? How have you worked to inspire others in your community as they did for you?
Prompt #3- Statement #88: “By relegating the democratic process to the behemoth media and internet companies, we dispense with both the power of rapport and the connection to place. This makes us more likely to see one another as less than human, and act or vote inhumanely ourselves.”
Discuss with your subject how access to information has changed for them and how it affects the way they view their communities, both in the immediate and national sense. Has it become more difficult to access reliable new sources? Has your perception of what is a reliable source of information changed? How have you or they the changes that are wrought by a dynamic media landscape affect the way that you view your immediate community or the world around you in general?