Story Movements is a biennial CMSI convening that curates and presents research and case studies about the role of narrative in contemporary movements for social justice -- across platforms and genres of civic media storytelling. From documentary film to investigative journalism to participatory storytelling activism to the entertainment industry and beyond, Story Movements examines and captures the current and future-looking moment in story-led demands for social change.

Story Movements 2021

Through talks, panels and discussions, the convening looks through the lens of contemporary themes of social inequality and injustice to ask and answer: What works? How can genres of civic, justice-oriented storytelling work with one another? The convening responds to the vitality of the moment in civic media platforms and stories, as well as the urgency of social justice and inequality, and optimism and hope for change.

Story Movements 2019

The convening hosted a wide spectrum of social justice-oriented media makers — including documentary film, and journalists to podcasters, and movement communicators, and comedians, and community organizers, and technologists — who were all using the power of media to shift and shape culture and policy and hold power to account. “Most conferences are focused on the challenges of this new [digital] ecosystem,” said Jennifer Humke, senior program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, who directs the Participatory Civic Storytelling program, that supports Story Movements. “But I think it’s just as important to bring like-minded people together to say: ‘how can we take advantage of opportunities afforded by these new forms of media making and distribution to create a more pluralistic and inclusive democracy?’ And I think that is what sets this conference apart.”

Presenting Funder

Story Movements is supported by our presenting funder, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.