Since 2012 I’ve been working both in and outside the classroom on a variety of community engagement and counter-storytelling projects. The goal of counter-storytelling is to engage people in the authorship of the narratives that most define them, often in resistance to “stock” narratives we receive from a variety of sources: media, educational institutions, even legislation. UCLA scholars Daniel Solorzano and Tara Yosso see storytelling as an opportunity to revisit and reassess the value of experiential knowledge. I’ve learned a great deal about this from my colleague Sarah Ochs. Trained more centrally in narrative methodology for conflict analysis, she introduced me to the works of Suzanne Hardy and Sarah Cobb, who have both done pioneering work exploring how humanities tropes like genre can impact conflict resolution in our communities.
- Alternative publications from Virginia jails, prisons, and reentry services.
- Unheard Histories: an oral history and archival project targeting mass incarceration.
- Just Mercy at VCU: a collaborative community engagement project done with VCU’s Common Book Program.
- Restorative conference and sustained dialog: ongoing training in community conflict analysis and resolution.