Innovation Culture Studio


The Innovation Studio provides a space to support the development of unique interactive digital media projects, platforms, tools and approaches to storytelling designed to foster strong, resilient creative communities. We think in systems, build replicable models, and take risks with new technology. Our teams are diverse, intergenerational and collaborative. 

Strategy, design, development, and prototyping in the Alliance Innovation Studio is customized uniquely for each project. We bring together a team of creative and tech experts based on the needs of the project; the central requirement for inclusion in the Innovation Studio is a commitment to sharing out the development process with the field and making the project available for replication in diverse communities and contexts. In every case, we will publish the code, share the data and provide templates or toolkits to enable meaningful and effective adoption.


Independent media organizations around the world may reflect the diverse cultural identity of communities, but they may also be rendered invisible because the content and stories generated are not being preserved, let alone shared openly. And we live in a world where open sharing of content may result in harm to the artists, producers and journalists who create the work, and well as the subjects who inhabit the stories. Despite advances in technology, media/culture archives are deteriorating at a rapid rate and stories are being lost forever. We felt an urgent need to collaboratively address this issue as a field, to find a collective voice, and to strategize emerging and best practices for creating impactful community-based preservation and access solutions.

The Alliance Open Archive Initiative brings together a group of cultural preservation and storytelling experts with independent, institutional and community-based content creators to collect and synthesize highly accessible, collaborative strategies that address three urgent core questions in the field today:

  • WHO is telling and preserving the stories?
  • HOW are organizations and artists addressing the challenge of getting their material preserved and making it accessible, usable, continuous and transformative?
  • WHAT can organizations and artists do to keep pace with emerging and best practices of preserving and opening their digital archives?

In this first year of the initiative, we are gathering the wisdom from the field in a series of in-person and virtual conversations, with some visionary archivists, technologists, culture bearers and storytellers. After this research phase, we will look towards systemic solutions, and what is needed to preserve and open the collective archives of our communities.

Lead Producer/Facilitator:

Jocelyn Arem is a GRAMMY, ASCAP, and Library of Congress Award-nominated archival storytelling producer and consultant. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, PBS and during GRAMMY Week in Los Angeles. Her clients and collaborators include the Library of Congress, the GRAMMY Foundation The School of the New York Times, The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Narratively, Sony Legacy, powerHouse Books, BRIC Arts Media, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Caffe Lena and the Erroll Garner Jazz Project. As the owner of creative studio Arbo Radiko and the Consulting Producer for the Alliance Open Archive Initiative, her unique specialization is in helping creative organizations and artists reimagine historical assets as valuable modern day content; curating, crafting, and leveraging distinctive modern day material from archival collections to enhance publicity, strengthen cultural partnerships, build brand value, engage new audiences, and promote creative legacies. She curates and produces a wide range of catalogs for bespoke print and digital publications, video, album projects, and exhibitions and is an expert in navigating the transformation of primary source material into valuable marketing content. She has been invited to lecture at MusiCares, the School of the New York Times, the Library of Congress, the NYU Music Technology Program, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the EMP Pop Music Conference. She is also a recording and performing artist under the name Rabasi Joss.



Aden Suchak is a Director, Photographer and Writer based in Upstate New York. He is part of the Youth FX film organization in Albany where he works as a film producer and Director of Education. He is a Media Fellow of the Alliance for Media + Culture Youth Media Network Initiative.




Caroline Rubens is the Archivist at Appalshop, a central Appalachian media arts center that is celebrating its 50th year. She manages the organization’s institutional and donated holdings of audiovisual, photo and paper materials, facilitates access to the collections, and helps to plan and execute public programming. She works with the Archive Director to raise funds from public, private and individual donors. In 2017 Rubens served as a co-coordinator for an Allied Media conference track entitled “Disrupting Mainstream History: Memory Keeping, Storytelling, and Archives.” She has presented at professional and academic conferences on topics ranging from the history of Appalshop to the creative re-use of its archival materials. She holds an M.A. from NYU Tisch in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (’06), and a B.A. in English Literature from Columbia University’s School of General Studies (’97).


Casey Davis Kaufman, Associate Director, WGBH Media Library and Archives & Project Manager, American Archive of Public Broadcasting is an audiovisual archivist, project manager and independent consultant who focuses on open access, community archives and oral history, and creative engagement with cultural heritage content. Her professional experience spans audiovisual preservation and access in the broadcast media industry and in higher education, with a particular focus on public service programming and community oral history. Casey currently works for the Boston public broadcaster WGBH as Associate Director of the WGBH Media Library and Archives and Project Manager for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (a Library of Congress and WGBH collaboration), as well as Project Manager for the “Rising from the Ashes: Chimney Tops II Wildfires Oral History Project” at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She has worked in digital production for PBS’ flagship history documentary series American Experience, as an Archives Consultant for the climate action non-profit DearTomorrow, and is an active member and recent board member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists.




Floriane Azoulay, is the current Director of the institution which was founded shortly after the war as the International Tracing Service (ITS). A French human rights expert, she was appointed head of the institution by the International Committee (IC) of the Arolsen Archives in 2016. Steffen Baumheier became Deputy Director in 2017.





Jamie Brett: Creative Projects at the Museum of Youth Culture,I graduated with First Honours in BA Photography in 2013, after a short stint working as a freelance photographer’s assistant for commercial photographers and artists. For the last 7 years I’ve worked closely with founder Jon Swinstead on the journey developing a Museum of Youth Culture from an already incredible archive of over 150,000 photographic submissions, objects and ephemera extensively celebrating British social history over the last 100 years from Bikers to Mods to Ravers. It’s our job to build this new museum unbiased and free from the often misaligned agendas of wider institutions, challenging the media moral panic around youth culture and shaking up the museum sector. Supported by Heritage Lottery and Arts Council funding, the Museum of Youth Culture has worked with a plethora of cultural institutions and international brands so far such as Google, Tate, Mayor of London, Time Out & Fred Perry.




Jennifer Cutting combines a career of preserving and presenting folk and traditional music at the Library of Congress with a career of bringing it to new audiences as a successful  performer, producer, and recording artist. A Folklife Specialist at the American Folklife Center since 1986, her primary work at AFC is guiding researchers through the collections of the Archive of Folk Culture, and producing on- and off-campus “Archive Challenge” showcases of contemporary artists performing adaptations of field recordings they discovered in the American Folklife Center Archive. She is the writer and producer of the Library of Congress’s documentary webcast _Bringing in the May_ (a documentary investigating celebrations of May Day and other springtime traditions); producer of the CD _Music and Spoken Word from the Archive of Folk Culture_ (audio companion to _Library of Congress American Folklife Center: An Illustrated Guide_), and the author of six editions of _American Folk Music and Folklore Recordings: A Selected List_. (1987 through 1992, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress). Jennifer’s academic background includes a Masters degree in ethnomusicology from King’s College, University of London. A pioneering bandleader and performer whose work in nurturing an Electric Folk revival in America earned her a chapter in the new Oxford University Press book _Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music_, Cutting has won 20 WAMMIES (Washington Area Music Awards) for her work directing and performing with both her contemporary Celtic group the Ocean Orchestra, and British folk-rock group The New St. George. The combination of Cutting’s skills as a reference specialist, traditional performing arts producer, and respected folk musician places her in demand as a presenter, grants panelist, conference speaker, and folk music adjudicator.  



Jina Valentineis a visual artist and Associate Professor of Printmedia at SAIC born in Philadelphia, now based in Chicago. Her independent practice is informed by the intuitive strategies of folk artists and traditional craft techniques, and it interweaves histories latent within found texts, objects, narratives, and spaces.  Jina’s work involves language translation, sourcing and mining content from material and digital archives, and experimental strategies for humanizing data-visualization.  She is interested in the organizational structure of archives, collective content creation, and how metadata contributes to informational hierarchies (what’s visible, what’s accessible). Jina cofounded Black Lunch Table with New York based artist Heather Hart in 2005 at Skowhegan.





Along the way I have always found myself on a cultural journey creating amongst others award winning zines SleazeNation and JockeySlut focusing on irreverence in youth culture, fashion music and lifestyles.  Founding of pictureonwalls – the orgnanisation created to make the work of artists including Banksy, Mode2, jamie Hewlett etc.. accessible to the public. Founding of Agency Espionage focused on creating cultural propositions for brands including Oxfam, Action Aid, Bacardi,  Diesel.  But mainly since 1997 when the original archive PYMCA was founded I have been fascinated by people – what we do, how we dress, what we like, and especially how weird and progressive we can be. I have been working with Jamie Brett for 7 years now on converting this archive into the dream of a museum of youth culture. A Museum that reflects the rebellious nature of everything everyday people create.



Kafi-Ayanna Allah is a professional librarian working for Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough, North Carolina as the Adult and Teen Program Coordinator.  She works to create and facilitate programming for patrons from middle school age to elders.  Much of her work with youth is centered on the Teen Advisory Board, a group of young people who act as liaisons between the teens in the community and Library staff to ensure that it is a welcoming, nonjudgmental space for teens and teen expression as well as a resource for information of particular interest to teens.






Miranda Lowe is a Principal Curator and museum scientist at the Natural History Museum, London. She is skilled in Archival Research, Museums, Cataloging, Museum Education, and Cultural Heritage. With strong interest in arts, photography and design. With over two decades worth of collections management and curatorial skills she cares for a plethora of historically important specimens from both the Challenger and discovery oceanic expeditions. After a yearlong secondment in 2006 to learn about exhibitions and gallery interpretation in a museum environment she has been passionate ever since about the role that museum exhibitions play in our understanding of the natural world. Miranda plays an active role on committees such as Natural Sciences Collections Association (as Collections at Risk Rep), Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (Member At Large) and the Society for the History of Natural History (Membership Coordinator) for which Sir David Attenborough is Patron. As a volunteer STEM ambassador and communicator of science she does outreach in schools and behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum, London. She mentors students as part of the Social Mobility Foundation ‘Aspiring Professionals’ scheme and the Prince’s Trust. In 2013, Miranda was one of three finalists for the National Diversity Awards ‘Positive Role Model Award for Race, Religion & Faith’ receiving a Certificate of Excellence for her achievement.


Sanchita Balachandranis Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University where she teaches courses related to the technical study and analysis of ancient objects, and the history, ethics and practice of art conservation. Her undergraduate courses always incorporate the close examination of ancient objects from the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum using non-destructive examination techniques. Recent hands-on courses include “Ancient Color: The Technologies and Meanings of Color in Antiquity” (2018) and “Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics” (2015). A recent exhibition “Who Am I? Remembering the Dead Through Facial Reconstruction” involved collaborating with a multidisciplinary, international team of specialists to reconstruct the faces of two ancient Egyptian women in the care of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. Balachandran trained in conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University as a conservator specializing in archaeological materials. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. She is founder/director of Untold Stories, a non-profit organization that pursues an art conservation profession that represents and preserves a fuller spectrum of human cultural heritage.


Shawn Averkampis a Senior Consultant with AVP where she brings over 12 years of data management and software product development expertise to her work. Specializing in the integration of digital innovations into production environments, some of her recent work includes advising cultural heritage organizations on data and digital strategy and guiding the evaluation and implementation of machine learning applications in audiovisual metadata enrichment. Before joining AVP, Shawn served as Manager of Metadata Services, NYPL Labs at the New York Public Library, where she oversaw metadata production, contributed to digital collection and library catalog product development, and directed the development of metadata infrastructure for NYPL’s unique digital resources. Prior to joining NYPL, she supported data curation, digital humanities, crowdsourcing platform development, digital scholarly publishing, and digital preservation at the University of Iowa Libraries as Data Services Librarian and Interim Head of Digital Research & Publishing and as a Metadata Librarian at the University of Alabama Libraries. She earned an MLIS from the University of Iowa and holds a BA in Music from Luther College.


Tanya De Angelisleads the Sundance Institute Archives & Collection, which preserves and shares the work of supported artists and the unique history of the Institute and its programs.






Terri Francisteaches film studies courses and directs the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University. She is a scholar of Black film and critical race theory whose work involves archival research, cultural history, and visual analysis, set within the vicissitudes of performance and representation. Francis published her research on Jamaican nontheatrical films as “Sounding the Nation: Martin Rennalls and the Jamaica Film Unit, 1951–1961” in Film History in 2011, and she guest edited a close-up on Afrosurrealism for Black Camera in 2013. Francis is the author of Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism (Indiana University Press, forthcoming), and her essays appear in Transition and Another Gaze. Francis has worked to animate the Black Film Center/Archive as a living, breathing center of new and offbeat ideas about Black film. She has curated the film series “Race Swap,” “Black Sun/White Moon,” and “Love! I’m in Love!” and the speaker series “Black Film Nontheatrical and before Representation.”


Vincent Morissetis a director known for his artful use of technology and interactivity. He’s also the founder of the studio AATOAA (pronounced à toi, meanings ‘yours’). Vincent has been celebrated worldwide to successfully revisit and change how we experience music videos, videogames, album artwork, films and virtual reality. Morisset collaborated artistically with Arcade Fire for twelve years; Neon Bible is considered the first interactive music video, and Just a Reflektor won the Primetime Emmy Award. With Icelandic band Sigur Rós, Morisset directed their groundbreaking live-experience INNI. With the NFB, he created BLA BLA and Way to Go. Both got the Webby in the Net Art category. Morisset’s work has been featured at a myriad of museums and festivals, including SXSW, SIGGRAPH, Sonar, TIFF, Japan Media Arts Festival, GDC, MoMA, la Gaité Lyrique and the Cooper Hewitt.





Born and raised in Queens, NY, Yvette Ramírez is an arts administrator, oral-historian, and archivist-in-training. She is particularly inspired by the power of community-centered archives to further explore the complexities of information access and memory within Latinx/Andean diasporic communities in the United States. With nearly a decade of experience as a cultural producer, Yvette has worked alongside community-based and cultural organizations such as The Laundromat Project, Make The Road New York, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, The Noguchi Museum, and, most recently, as the national outreach coordinator at PEN America. She holds a BA from Hunter College and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Digital Archives and Library Science / Preservation at The University of Michigan.






The VR Colored Girls Museum

“I dream of a reality where technology senses what we see, touch and feel; a reality where technology no longer gets in our way, but instead embraces who we are.
I dream of technology on a human path.”  

                                                   Alex Kipman

The Colored Girls Museum honors the history, experiences, creativity and resilience of Colored Girls. It is the first institution of its kind to consider memoir, in any form, as well as objects of personal and historic significance, as evidence — with empirical value. It is located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture has partnered with the Museum, Microsoft, and 371 Productions to conceive and build the VR Colored Girl Museum. It will be equal parts exhibition space, culture center, research facility, gathering place and think tank.

The goal of the project is to co-create an immersive museum experience in virtual reality — in the browser. Combining photogrammetry, archiving, oral history and the latest webVR technologies, we intend to create an exact replica of the museum in Germantown that will be accessible to audiences around the world. We will also build out meeting spaces for arts and culture groups, a theater for film screenings and live performance, and a museum gift shop where artists can sell their work. We will offer a schedule of tours for school groups and nonprofit organizations, sample lesson plans and maker toolkits.  The Museum will be designed and developed by diverse, intergenerational creative teams around the world.  This is next generation, culturally transformative arts engagement — for everyone.

The current technology plan for the VR Colored Girls Museum leverages ReactVR, A-Frame and other tools like Hubs by Mozilla, to enable social experiences and creative collaboration in an open-source XR environment.

We are building a hosted space where teams of diverse, intergenerational artists, creative technologists and developers from US, India, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East will be able to collaborate, and the notion of tech that “embraces who we are” reflects the authentic experience and powerful voice of the colored girl. We are creating protocols, workflows and UX design for a photo-real interactive XR-powered museum in the browser that can add new technologies as they are developed  Throughout the process, we will be writing, curating and sharing model curricula so young developers, designers and creative technologists can work through online lessons and receive mentorship throughout the arc of the project.

Related to the immersive VR Museum project in the browser, we will also be producing The Skin I Own, directed by Amanda Shelby. The Skin I Own will be a short VR film, a volumetric journey where VR technology is rendered as ethnopoetry; the beat of the music, the geography of the viewer’s body, the architecture of the virtual space, and the voices of black women guide visitors through the garden, into the museum, on to the porch, through the door and into the front room, where we, the viewers, are among the paintings and objects, seeing our reflections and entering their worlds. In the light of the collective realness of black women, in full view of scars that have healed, and the pain still carried on her shoulders, The Skin I Own also enables viewers to acknowledge their own fears of being unseen, and unheard.  The goal is a creative, communal and emotional experience — centered through the stories, and grounded by the voices, of ordinary/extraordinary black women.

The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture has teamed up with Microsoft to build a very smart digital library of independent film, video and photography. It’s called FRED.

FRED means “peace” in Scandinavian languages.

And it’s a very cute name. FRED promotes peace by connecting people through the power of story. It is a new tool that puts AI and machine learning technology to use for the preservation and innovation of global culture, stories and humanity.

FRED provides access to vaults of previously inaccessible or little-used archives, independent film and video, and orphaned public media works. FRED can also create access to unseen footage from “cutting room floors” that could be incredibly valuable in a new context. FRED can help us re-ignite interest in the histories that are not taught in school. FRED can empower us to illuminate the stories often excluded from “dominant narratives.” FRED can rise up unknown, lost and forgotten content to inform our work, our learning and our lives. We need FRED to help us envision and narrate our desired futures.

We are building FRED in collaboration with Microsoft, along with an international network of media arts organizations and archives, independent filmmakers and editors, scholars, photographers, librarians and technologists. Here’s the plan for the first version of FRED:

  • ● FRED ingests as much contributed, archived and public domain footage as is humanly possible to curate — in full collaboration with rights holders.
  • ● FRED automatically indexes the footage so it is searchable by a diverse and exciting set of metadata: place, time, sentiment + emotion, gesture, person, utterance, and more.
  • ● FRED can translate audio into subtitles in 14 languages at the present time, and can deliver them to streaming content.
  • ● FRED can protect the visual identity of people, per request of rights holder.
  • ● FRED automatically returns clips and information based on the specified search criteria (i.e.’ Archbishop Desmond Tutu laughing in New York between 1975 and 1980’, or ‘Sound bites about LGBT hate crimes’). Watching is free.
  • ● Members of FRED can pay to license specific clips for use in new works or for educational or exhibition purposes – per agreement of the rights holder. FRED connects you to the rights holder and processes your payment once approved.

Imagine if FRED was embedded in film editing software, enabling automatic rich media searches for exactly what you are looking for, when you need it. Then imagine if you could call on FRED in academic libraries and research labs, social media networks, online learning environments, or activism trainings. FRED will exist through multiple interfaces, allowing users to quickly and easily interact with a wealth of media.

FRED is a soulful new machine – a new media library of the future — that will help humans have access to the richness that is our global media culture. To expose injustice, to uncover secrets, to illuminate the undiscovered, to honor the past, to empower those whose stories must still be told.

To support FRED with funding, resources, brainpower or media contributions, contact The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture Executive Director Wendy Levy,

What Is a HatchLab?

A HatchLab is a new kind of global storytelling workshop. Designed to build creative strategy muscles for filmmakers and nonprofit organizations, HatchLabs facilitate collaborations between artists, movement leaders, scientists/technologists, civic leaders, policy makers and communities.  HatchLabs offer new tools and opportunities for the voices of those traditionally marginalized to be a central part of creative ideation and social reform.

HatchLab participants gather for a single day, from 9AM – 5PM, joining a team of award-winning artist/mentors to explore inclusive, collaborative, and responsive storytelling models, build deeper connections as a creative community, and activate new narratives designed to embolden and sustain vulnerable communities.

After a HatchLab, the collaborative projects that emerge from the workshop are eligible for funding and mentorship throughout the year. We feel an urgency to move beyond tired Hollywood tropes, appropriation and apocalyptic messaging to support co-created films and videos, community-based artist residencies, interactive projects and innovative technologies that honor and amplify the voices, wisdom and lived experience of the people whose stories are told.

We began the HatchLabs in 2016 focusing on Climate Change and Environmental Justice storytelling;

  • March 21/22 at the Carnegie Institution for Science, in collaboration Environmental Film Festival at our Nation’s Capital
  • April 10 at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford — in collaboration with Sundance Institute’s Stories of Change Program
  • June 7 at the NAMAC Conference, Alliance 2016, in Oakland, CA

In 2017, the HatchLabs explored Racial Justice and Inclusion:

  • August 2 at the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia, in collaboration with The Colored Girls Museum
  • October 10 at the New Orleans International Film Festival, in collaboration with Antenna Collective
  • November 2 in Chicago, in collaboration with Appalachian Media Institute, RYSE Media Center and Donda’s House

To see a video of the 2016 HatchLabs click here.

In 2018, we worked with HatchLab alumni on a series of granted projects:

Granted Projects


A Place At The Table (working title)

Milena Velis with Cynthia Oka, T.C. Owens, Sheila Quintana and Jazmín Delgado – a collaboration between Media Mobilizing Project and New Sanctuary Movement

In December 2017 Carmela Hernandez and her four children took sanctuary at the Church of the Advocate, a predominantly Black church and organizing hub in Philadelphia, PA. Carmela has a pending deportation order to Mexico, and plans to live in sanctuary until she can stop her own deportation, making a public act of resistance against the criminalization of immigrants. A Place at the Table explores the relationships and community built by the people coming together to support and fight alongside Carmela and her family, and how working class Black and immigrant community members build relationships of solidarity and learn about each other’s realities, struggles, and dreams. Working collaboratively with Carmela and the New Sanctuary Movement, artists from Media Mobilizing Project will create short form documentary work focused on shared meals and the day-to-day realities of living together as a community.  Inspired by the words of Rev. Dr. Rennee McKenzie: “We benefit ourselves when we stand for and with each other to fight for justice and a place at the table.”

The Stories of Strawberry Mansion

Keir Johnston with Ernel Martinez, Martha O’Connell, Chidi Asoluka

While Strawberry Mansion and Brewerytown are currently in a vice grip of speculative development and gentrification in Philadelphia, there are also new and important resources available to the neighborhood’s young people and families through vibrant community development programs. The collaborators on this project ask, “how do we ensure that the neighborhood residents are able to benefit from and access these new resources authentically, and have a say in what they are?”

The Stories of Strawberry Mansion is a collaboration between local art collective Amber Art & Design, with Fairmount Park Conservancy and The New Community Project. Through a process they call Story Exchange, the community-based artists are collecting stories from local residents, and sharing with each participant the story of one of their neighbors. They will host bi-monthly events and community dinners that will feature live storytelling, facilitating deeper connections in the neighborhood and building towards collective decision-making about how to spend the resources being allocated for local schools, parks and programs. The hope is to redefine and rewrite the relationships between the neighborhood and its institutions, creating a new support network based on participation, trust and collective voices.

Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly 002 (Progress Aerospace Enterprises)


Rasheedah Phillips with Camae Ayeva (Black Quantum Futurism Collective), Ras Mashramani (Metropolarity Scifi Collective), Danise Valentine, and Fair Housing Rights Center of Southeastern PA

In Philadelphia in the 1960’s, Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, a civil rights leader and minister at Philadelphia’s Zion Baptist Church, established Progress Aerospace Enterprises (PAE), the first Black-owned aerospace company. An innovator of its day, PAE had strong connections to the civil rights movement, affordable housing, economic stability in the Black community, passage of the Fair Housing Act, and the space race. Sullivan also founded the Zion Gardens affordable housing project and Progress Plaza. Community Futurisms is an ongoing collaborative art + research project exploring the impact of redevelopment, gentrification, and displacement within the North Philly neighborhood known as Sharswood. In this iteration, the collaborators will produce an interactive and participatory art exhibition based on this extraordinary legacy. The exhibition will feature the work of multiple local artists and storytellers, and will include writing, co-created zine production, collage art, film, soundscapes, and sculpture. The vision of Community Futurisms also includes oral history/oral futures interviews with surviving individuals from PAE, as well as a series of story workshops, affordable housing discussions, and collaborative art-making activities.

Re-imagining Migration 360


PhillyCAM, Brookline Interactive Group, and Gabriela Watson Aurazo,

As Philadelphia affirms its status as a sanctuary city committed to the safety of its immigrant residents, opportunities for those targeted communities to be heard and share their points of view are more needed than ever. Access to multilingual media content and training is a way that communities can tell their stories through their own means — promoting understanding and respect through cultural exchange. PhillyCAM’s Atrévete producers together with a diverse group of local immigrant artists will learn how to use 360 filmmaking to share their stories of migration in new, immersive ways. Audiences will interact with the work online and at live events. The narrative will explore a physical environment while interweaving elements of memory, dreams, aspirations, and struggle. PhillyCAM and Brookline Interactive Group want to use this project as a way to go beyond headlines to create intimate portraits of those most affected by the current administration’s position on immigration; from the story of a single dreamer facing possible deportation to a migration story that spans 3 generations. This project presents an opportunity for PhillyCAM to become a local leader in 360 storytelling to support others working in the non-profit and social enterprise field. They hope to create a template for a strong immersive news/content sharing network, engaged communities, training programs, and collaborative, community-based VR projects.


Nicolas Aziz


The Native Gentrification Project

Nic will write about his concept of “native gentrification,” a modern-day example of W.E.B DuBois’ “double-consciousness theory.” Within the context of life in New Orleans, Nic is raising compelling questions about the complications of the African-American experience of gentrification and the layers of identity narratives emerging in popular culture.

Imani Jacqueline Brown


Truth As Theatrical Fiction

Imani is pursuing an ongoing exploration of the meaning of truth in an age of fake news, alternative facts, and the resurgence of global fascism. This project brings to light a series of kaleidoscope conversations and interviews where participants share personal and social mythologies about truth, prejudice and politics. How might posing questions without answers reveal our deepest divides — and give us the visual language to heal?

The Alliance Innovation Studio provides a space to support the development of unique interactive digital media projects and other story-driven open source social justice tools and technologies that are designed to serve the field and foster new creative experiences and social impact in communities around the world.

Strategy, design, development, and prototyping in The Alliance Innovation Studio is customized and unique to each project. We bring together a team of creative and tech experts based on the needs of the project; the central requirement for inclusion in the Innovation Studio is a commitment to sharing out the development process with the the field and making the the project available for replication in diverse communities and contexts. We’re talking about publishing the code, sharing data and providing templates or toolkits for meaningful and effective adoption.

The 2017 Innovation Studio Projects are:



Chihiro Wimbush
FOOTPRINT is an experience of the Refinery Corridor Healing Walks, led by Native American grandmothers (Idle No More SF Bay) who live downwind from the Chevron Oil refinery in Richmond, California. After the Chevron explosion of 2012 poisoned their air, they turned to an ancient tradition of healing walks along the oil refineries of the Northeast SF Bay, rallying local communities to reclaim their land and water. We will create a Projection Map of the walk (to project on the side of the UN?) with surround sound installation of the chants/songs and environmental audioscapes of the walk, an immersive experience contrasting the natural world with modern oil industry. Through voices and images of the Walkers we join in their prayer and song for healing, and participate in reclaiming the land. The Map will guide us in to an exhibit that will include photos of these Healing Walk leaders (power of matriarchy) with mini-docs activated via augmented reality that will share personal narratives of the grandmothers. Next year is the fourth and final series of Refinery Healing Walks; this is the last chance to document this transformative event.
Growing From the Inside-Out

Growing From the Inside-Out

Insight Garden Program, San Quentin State Prison (Amanda Berger)
The vision for this project is to bring the audience into San Quentin Prison, where the Insight Garden Program transforms prisoners’ lives through reconnection to “self, community and the natural world". We will create a participatory documentary highlighting the prisoners’ active work in the planting, growing and harvesting stages of vegetable and flower gardens as well as the journey of self-discovery, along with the raising of environmental awareness, “inner gardening” mindfulness, and global climate issues. The film will be part of a forum that brings the target audiences together with environmental leaders and incarcerated participants -- sharing experiences and passion for environmental stewardship. Collaborative filmmaking practice will underscore deep work exploring the impacts of global climate change on low-income and underserved communities, the healing effects of working with nature, the importance of “green jobs for all,” and the impact Insight Garden Program has had on shifting lives and “greening” prison cultures.
Stories from the Sea

Stories from the Sea

Blue Ventures (Martin Muir)
This project tells the story of a grassroots community taking control of its natural resources in a changing environment. Using an intensive participatory approach, community members in Tanzania (through partner organization Mwambao) will be trained in all aspects of short film production. These videographers will be actively working with communities to document their stories, monitoring action and changes in the marine environment during a time of unprecedented challenges. We hope to use the Ricoh Theta as part of this process to capture 360° footage of the community, and have sourced an underwater housing which will allow some unique and immersive footage to be created as part of this project − helping engage communities in the tangible benefits of conservation − above and below the water.

The 2015/2016 Innovation Studio Projects are:

Chasing the Sun

Chasing the Sun

Part film, part book, part something new, Chasing the Sun is an immersive online story about the Arctic, told in a compelling first person narrative that makes the North’s current and coming struggles more vital and relatable.
222 Forgotten Cities

222 Forgotten Cities

222 Forgotten Cities is a photo series aimed at visually dissolving the disconnect between the popular, media-informed perception of a city and the reality of the people who live there.
Global Witness Interactive

Global Witness Interactive

In the Innovation Studio, Global Witness will produce a blueprint for leveraging emerging technologies, interactive online storytelling and web-based mapmaking.
Question Bridge

Question Bridge

Child Brides
This interactive effort will be an online portal that facilitates a transformative “megalogue” between a critical mass of child brides around the world.
Map Your World

Map Your World

Map Your World is an open source data/mapping/storytelling platform that empowers youth around the world to make positive changes in their own communities.