last week I met with Angelo Di Mambro (journalist, video producer and communications consultant based in Brussels).
We had a really interesting conversation about Storytelling for engagement. Especially when it involves introducing your intended audience to some new concept or way of doing things, this can be very difficult.
So we started looking at previous efforts to do this. We started by analysing our experiences of having worked with communication for over 10 years. Then we explored how much respected storytellers such as George Lucas and my first mentor, award winning Swedish Director Roy Andersson, go about building engaging stories.
It was so much fun that Angelo has decided join me in leading this workshop. Later today Angelo and I are meeting again. One of the topics we will be discussing is how to use myths and archetypes in effective storytelling for engagement. An interesting aspect for a transnational community is which myths and narratives are culturally specific and which ones seem to resonate with everyone. It taps into something which I think is very relevant to the design of the OpenCare engagement process. Bear with me as I try to articulate what is no more than an early intuition...
At the turn of this year I had a brief exchange with Evan Roth, one of the early movers in net art and fellow activist. Like many others who grew up on the Internet and who have been fighting against the erosion of civil liberties, he was heartbroken and disenchanted after the Snowden revelations. A kind of collective depression was tangible in the scene, a lot of people for whom this was the first experience of engaging with mainstream politics just dropped out.
Others have been engaging with the significant challenge of making the techno-social debate accessible, and engaging, to people outside the tech scene and Brussels bubble. This is sorely needed. Kirsten Fielder, Julia Reda, Walter Van Holst, our own Erik Lakomaa (all coming to #lote5) and Amelia Andersdotter have first-hand experiences of the difficulties involved. Amelia in particular has been very active in the debate around data security and patient privacy in Sweden.
Evan's talk at #32c3 is a poetic description of how he tried to make this overwhelming, abstract infrastructure something with which he could engage as an artist ( 1hr video). Julian Oliver's creative practice comes at things more from a critical engineering perspective: he has built functional objects which both critique and circumvent the offending practices or technologies e.g http://transparencygrenade.com/
Those of us working on OpenCare will be facing the similar challenge of making difficult (or abstract) topics/debates and insights more accessible. Both to people who are curious, but need a "soft" way into the conversations...as well as to community members, practitioners and relevant decision-makers e.g legislators. So I thought it might be interesting to engage product designers to make some of the more difficult or abstract topics/debates "easier" to approach through the lens of critical design (as an example see http://www.backslash.cc/). Maybe even produce an exhibition at the final event taking place in Milan. This could fit into the prototyping phase of the project. Or it could be a separate parallel strand. Prof. Susanne Stauch and myself have been discussing this in the context of a product design course we will be holding at Berlin University of the Arts UDK