Everything you want to know about Story Jam: New Neighbours

Philo van Kemenade
Storytellers United
6 min readJul 26, 2022

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A flyer for Story Jam: New Neighbours, taking place 19–21 September 2022 as part of the Netherlands Film Festival. Partner logos on the bottom include Storytellers United, the Netherlands Film Festival and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Story Jam: New Neighbours: 19–20–21 September @ IMPAKT Utrecht
Public Presentation: 24 September Hekman Foyer Stadsschouwburg Utrecht
With whom: Creatives of all professional backgrounds with an interest in innovative forms of storytelling
Apply now: https://storytellers.link/events/story-jam-new-neighbours/

Why

Ever since humans gathered around campfires, we have been storytellers. We tell stories to entertain, inform, and spread cultural traditions and values ​​and to ensure cultural cohesion. In today’s world, the internet and digital technologies enable stories to take new shapes: interactive, dynamic, and participatory. The roles of listener and narrator become intertwined and new forms of story are explored.

After two years of lockdowns and limited travel movements, social cohesion in the Netherlands and beyond has declined. Creative professionals also noticed that events and exhibitions were postponed or cancelled: their development stagnated due to isolation and lack of exchange. After these years of confinement, Europe is awakening to war, a fragmented political field, new flows of refugees, a housing shortage, inflation and many parallel realities.

With the Story Jam and its theme New Neighbours, Storytellers United wants to give a new impulse to a young generation of Dutch storytellers, filmmakers, creative coders, writers, designers, web developers and digital artists by working with what storytelling is so good at: exploring, sharing, and enhancing our common identity.

At the intersection of storytelling and technology, we want to make a social impact with stories that connect and, at the same time, contribute to the creative and artistic development of the field and the makers themselves.

What will we do

Storytellers United organises Story Jam: New Neighbours in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. This event will be part of the Professional’s Program of the Netherlands Film Festival, taking place in Utrecht at the end of September. The Story Jam will initiate transdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations between creatives from a diverse range of backgrounds, creating new, valuable, and original formats for storytelling.

On 19–21 September, six multidisciplinary and intercultural teams, guided by mentors, will each develop their own story prototype. Each prototype examines social cohesion in the Netherlands and Utrecht differently and uses the medium that suits their story best. For example, projects can take the form of a web experience, but they can also be a VR, performance, app or installation. At the end of the sprint, the teams will share their results with the public during the NFF Professionals Conference on Saturday September 24.

Early September, the project will kick-off at the Institute for Sound & Vision, where the participants will meet, and the coaches will present themselves. Next to this program, Story Jam participants will be able to attend the rest of the NFF Professionals program and the StorySpace exhibition.

In this first event Storytellers United is organising in the Netherlands, we will work with a maximum of 6 teams. Each team has at least one media maker, one designer and one developer, among whom is at least one ‘new neighbour’. In addition to mutual cultural enrichment, this also offers opportunities for integration and lays a foundation for new professional networks.

You are invited!

We warmly invite creatives of all professional backgrounds with an interest in innovative forms of storytelling to take part. This includes for example:

• Media makers from the digital culture field, including filmmakers, radio makers, photographers, illustrators, and journalists
• Digital designers interested in user interface and user experience design
• Web and software developers with interest in interactive multimedia
• Producers, writers and directors interested in adaptive and non-linear storylines
• Artists exploring mixed media and non-linear storylines in their work

We especially encourage you to join if you have moved to the Netherlands from another country. With this Story Jam we want to build on the unique perspectives from people who are new to this country and celebrate intercultural collaboration, experiences and stories.

👉 Apply now to join Story Jam: New Neighbours

Relevance

For a growing group of people from other parts of the world, the Netherlands is a new — temporary or permanent — home country. Next to mutual inspiration and other positive effects, this situation also creates social unrest and political difficulties on many topics such as housing, employment, and integration. With New Neighbours, we want to shed a positive light on migration and multicultural coexistence.

Already in the 1960s, people from the (former) Dutch colonies such as Suriname, the Dutch East Indies, and the Antilles, followed by the arrival of guest workers in the 1970s, found a new home in the Netherlands. In recent decades, more and more people have crossed our borders, fled war and poverty, climate crises, or sought love, work, or family reunions. In recent months, the latest arrivals have been mainly refugees from Ukraine.

Some new inhabitants will stay here temporarily, while others will take root and stay. But all of them will be our new neighbours, and they will change the Dutch landscape and identity. We must relate to this changing society and storytelling can help with this. Story Jam: New Neighbours focuses on stories from multicultural communities and the social and economic added value this entails. What can we do for each other, and what are valuable connections and collaborations? How can we celebrate social and cultural wealth? What can different backgrounds learn from each other? And how can intercultural stories help with this?

Story Jam: New Neighbours aims to challenge stereotypes and expose commonly held myths, put migrants’ voices at the centre of discussions about migration and deliver innovative messages to help promote migrants’ integration into local communities.

The flow of the event

The three-day build-up of the Story Jam is partly inspired by the pressure cooker approach to hackathons, combined with the diverging and converging processes inspired by design thinking techniques. This structure enables teams to formulate a problem together and, from there, creatively investigate how story format can provide answers. Mentors support teams throughout the process where necessary.

The results of the Story Jam will be shared with a broad audience of festival professionals, partners, and students from Utrecht and other cities in the Netherlands during the final presentation. Participating creators hold intellectual property in everything they create during the Story Jam. Teams are encouraged to publish content and code under open licences whenever possible. This allows a broader community to share the knowledge and experience generated during the event.

Maandag 19 september

Walk in, breakfast, coffee & tea

Welcome, introduction and goal setting

Brainstorm in teams: Discover insights into the problem

Lunch

Brainstorm in teams: Define the area to focus on

PPP stand-up: teams give a short 2 min update on Progress, Problems & Plans. Other teams can be asked for input and offer feedback.

End of day goal: a clear concept carried by the entire team

Dinsdag 20 september

Walk in, breakfast, coffee & tea

Working in teams: Develop potential solutions

Ideally the clear concept enables teams to divide work. Some participants are designing, others are out recording, others are developing.

Lunch

Working in teams: Deliver solutions that work

PPP stand-up: teams give a short 2 min update on Progress, Problems & Plans. Other teams can be asked for input and offer feedback.

End of day goal: a first prototype (think hacky solutions, duct tape, placeholder content)

Woensdag 21 september

Walk in, breakfast, coffee & tea

Working in teams: Develop & Deliver iteration

Lunch

Finishing touches

Internal demo to other teams: tell the story!

End of day goal: a working prototype demoed in front of a live audience

Thursday 22 September: opening Storyspace

Friday 23 September: professionals conferentie

Saturday 24 September: Presentations Gouden Kalf Digitale Cultuur

Sunday 25 September: Public Presentations Story Jam

Supported by

Story Jam New Neighbours is made possible by a grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Ready to take part?

Congrats if you’ve made it all this way! Please join us by applying via the link below. ✌️

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Philo van Kemenade
Storytellers United

Cultural Technologist making stories, tools and things in between × initiator @StoryUnite × building http://gradu.al × here to learn