At Project Ava, our mission is to provide a platform for those of underrepresented experiences to share their stories and spark progressive dialogue. One of the ways we accomplish this is by investing in the development of Storytellers who create independent media that address social justice issues impacting their communities. We believe our current media landscape needs skilled journalists, writers, producers, filmmakers, artists, and other Storytellers from underrepresented backgrounds.
The Project Ava Storyteller Program is a yearlong development program for aspiring media activists from underrepresented backgrounds who want to grow their storytelling skills and media industry knowledge. Accepted Storytellers receive access to professional development workshops, speakers and editors, as well as lifetime access to Project Ava’s community of advocates.
As part of the program, each Storyteller will receive personalized guidance and resources to produce one piece sharing their story as it ties to a larger social justice issue. This piece, owned by the Storyteller, will be published on Project Ava’s nonprofit editorial. We’ll also help each Storyteller hone their marketing skills and make pitches to other publishers.
Topics we care about:
- Mental Health
- Sexual Harassment or Assault
- Intersectional Oppression
Benefits of being a Storyteller:
- No Tuition and No Costs. Journalism school, film school, and other classes often have prohibitive costs, especially for marginalized communities. All accepted Storytellers pay nothing for our program and we have funds for travel, housing, food and other costs as well.
- Remote Environment. All of our trainings, workshops and editing is done remotely, so you can participate in our program from anywhere. We only have one physical retreat each year that requires travel.
- Individualized Feedback and Assistance. The goal of the Storyteller program is to help you produce at least one first-person piece by the end of the year. While working to publish that piece, you will receive feedback, professional development resources and assistance catered to your needs and goals as a Storyteller. Along the way, we will monitor your progress and make sure you are on your path to success.
- Broad Reach. We continue to develop and build our platform to amplify the voices of our Storytellers. Our editorial and marketing team will work with you to ensure your pieces are seen, read and shared. Previous pieces by our Storytellers have been successfully pitched to Angry Asian Man, Buzzfeed, Everyday Feminism and the Huffington Post.
- Professional Development. Storytellers are provided with professional and/or development opportunities to explore on a monthly basis. Additionally, we aim to prepare Storytellers to further their professional goals, including resume building, pitch writing and personal marketing.
- Networking. Project Ava encourages (and can help pay for!) Storytellers to register for conferences in your local area or around the country. These give you the chance to make connections that will help push your career forward. We also serve as a connecting point between notable guest speakers and the Storytellers who would benefit from the professional information that they can provide.
- Skills Workshops. Each month, a workshop is planned to introduce storytellers to new mediums and skills to use at and beyond Project Ava. This typically includes time with a guest speaker and a “homework” assignment to practice applying the skills learned. All workshops will take place over Google Hangout and scheduling is discussed in advance.
- Lifelong Community. The Storyteller Program is designed to cultivate a diverse and supportive community where you can contextualize your experiences, work through your thoughts and share your stories. Upon graduation from the program, Storytellers remain a part of the Project Ava community forever and retain access to resources, connections and our community discussions.
- Storyteller Retreat. Halfway through the Storyteller Program, Project Ava will fully fund your attendance in a Storyteller Retreat in May. You and your cohort of Storytellers will meet with Project Ava staff, see guest speakers, utilize opportunities to clarify your professional goals and have a ton of fun. This an enjoyable opportunity to learn a lot about yourself, the social justice issue you are passionate about and how to share your stories.
Expectations of a Storyteller:
- Meetings. In order to ensure you are receiving the support you need to reach publication, and to keep you connected with the Project Ava Team, we are asking you to complete a check-in with Melissa (Storyteller Program Manager) once every 2-3 months. In addition, you will plan a regular check-in schedule with Madison (Editor) based on what works best for your publication timeline. Phone calls and/or Skype/Google Hangout are the ideal format for check-ins, but alternatives can be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
- Engagement. The Project Ava Team has worked to develop a series of web-based experiences to aid in your development as a storyteller. We will host a Google Hangout once a month which will cover different storytelling topics/mediums (ex: Vlogging, Podcasting, Pitching, Photography, etc). We will also host a Storytellers Retreat on May 25-27, 2018 which will build on the hangouts and provide community-building/networking opportunities. In agreeing to participate in this program, you must commit to attending 10 out of 12 of the monthly hangouts AND to attending the Storyteller Retreat.
- Story Development. In order to develop your story and reach publication in a timely manner, we are asking you to participate in an initial meeting with Madison (editor) during which you will establish a timeline and determine your check-in schedule. You will be expected to follow your timeline. All storytellers will be expected to produce a first draft by Month 3 (March/April)
- Communication. Communication is a huge part of keeping an online community going! When offered a position within the Project Ava Community, it is expected that you will join the Facebook Group (unless you don’t have Facebook, of course). Still, we expect communication if/when you are unable to make certain meetings or meet certain deadlines. This means responding to emails/doodles/When2Meets in a timely manner, connecting with one of the Project Ava Team Members via phone or any other method of communication.
- Time Commitment. We anticipate that the commitment of each Storyteller be 3-4 hours per week depending on what is comfortable for the Storyteller and required for the development of their piece and ensuring that they are completing assignments and attending meetings. Participation in the program will not require Storytellers to quit their full-time or day-time jobs, all meetings will be conducted outside of standard work hours and on weekends.
- Values Alignment & Community Care Statement. The Project Ava Team works to foster a social justice community which prioritizes the perspectives of those who are underrepresented, misrepresented, or otherwise marginalized. In order to care for this community, all members of our team will be expected to engage in alignment with with Project Ava’s values of integrity, inclusivity, empowerment, innovation and support.
Project Ava’s Storyteller program is designed to embrace, empower, and equip the creation of stories that seek to inspire actions for a socially equitable world. Please apply below to join our community as a Storyteller starting January 2018.
Currently we are focused on US domestic issues of social justice only and we are unable to support Storytellers abroad.
Applications for the 2018 Storyteller Program will be accepted until November 30, 2017. Please contact Melissa Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.