Empowering Flint Youth through Digital Storytelling: A Case Study

The long-term lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan, has drawn international attention to how residents and lawmakers are grappling with the current realities of life in Flint. However, what so far has been left out of public conversation, in an attempt to uncover who is to blame, are stories from the people most impacted by this disaster: Flint’s youth. As educators interested in social and environmental justice, we aim to help high school students in Flint use information technology to share with the world their perspective on the water crisis. In partnership with a classroom social studies teacher, we propose to teach Flint students journalism and digital storytelling techniques through a series of classroom visits by our research team. This interdisciplinary pedagogical intervention will bring to a Flint high school classroom an infusion of information technology, journalism coaches, and scientists who can share facts and answer student questions about the water crisis. As an integral component of the digital storytelling process, we will ask students to interview stakeholders in the Flint community using techniques practiced in ethnographic research and journalism.

Project Information

Type of Project: Research Educational

Target Population: Adolescents Young Adults

Start Date: 5/1/16

Principal Investigators: Emilia Askari

Lead Institution: UM-Ann Arbor-Program in the Environment

Project Partners

Needed Community Partners: Flint Community Schools

Contact Information

Email: easkari@umich.edu