ScholarShift Stories: Humans of Shattuck-St. Mary’s

November 04, 2016

Storytelling module brings Humans of New York approach to SSM.

Participating Shattuck-St. Mary’s students were introduced to the basics of digital storytelling through a two-session ScholarShift module, held on October 27 and November 3 in the weCreate Center.

Following a brief summary of how digital storytelling has evolved through the emergence of social media, students examined the approach of Brandon Stanton, a photographer, blogger, and best-selling author of Humans of New York. Since 2010, Stanton has interviewed and photographed more than 10,000 New York city residents, providing unique insights into the lives of strangers on the streets of the Big Apple. His personal style focuses on individuality and emotion, and has resulted in two best-selling books and more than 20 million followers on social media. The approach has been mimicked in several other urban areas through blogs such as Humans of Minneapolis and Milwaukee Stories, among others.

Students selected their favorite stories and explained what they liked about each entry before watching a short video that examined Stanton’s strong ability to get strangers to open up to him for his blog stories. 

Students then practiced interviewing one another before heading out into the SSM community to duplicate the Humans of New York approach and learn more about their classmates, teachers, and staff members. Each student was asked to interview three SSM community members and produce a short paragraph and photo detailing something they hadn’t previously known about their subjects.

During the final session, students discussed their process and what they learned from the experience.