Story Movements is a catalytic two-day convening that examines platforms and genres of civic media storytelling through the lens of contemporary struggles for social justice. From documentary film to investigative journalism to virtual reality to participatory storytelling to persuasive gaming to photography, the convening examines and captures the current and future-looking moment in story-led demands for social change.


Created and hosted by the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI), Story Movements is an expanded re-launch of CMSI’s Media That Matters conference, which has brought together thought-leaders in media and social change for more than a decade in the nation’s capital.

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When & Where?

Featured Speakers & Main Program:
Thursday, September 15. 9:15 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., with evening reception to follow
Greenberg Theater, American University
4200 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

Friday, September 16, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Washington College of Law, American University
4300 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

Create-Athon hosted by our partner:

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View the detailed agenda.

Why Now?

Over the past several years, we have been galvanized, inspired and motivated by urgent conversations about social inequality and social justice. From Syria to Baltimore, from Black Lives Matter to a water crisis in Flint, Michigan, to a global refugee crisis that continues to unfold, specific thru-lines have emerged amidst the creation of new protest movements in the digital era: race, inequality, urgency, empathy, humanity. Against the backdrop of the globally-connected digital era, the role of storytellers is urgent. And they have risen to the occasion, creating and commanding attention through powerful stories and images that can’t be ignored. Fueled by the dizzying explosion of the social-media era, documentary and transmedia storytellers, gamers and photographers and investigative journalists are contributing to story-directed movements for change.

Story Movements is not designed to dwell on social justice problems. It is designed to ask and answer “why” and “how.” It is designed to inspire, to build, to shape and to leave with blueprints for success for the future – for filmmakers, digital storytellers, funders, advocates, strategists and students. It is designed to smash through silos and bring storytellers, strategists, researchers and issue experts together in a new way, focused on the inequality challenges of here and now.

How Will Story Movements Work?

Day 1 features storytelling case studies communicated through short-form lightning talks from some of the most important, innovative makers and thinkers in social justice over the past few years. Day 2 features a half-day interactive create-athon designed to build bridges across media types and thinkers who will address key social justice challenges.

Send us an email if you’d like to stay in touch about Story Movements.