Originally designed as an outdoor activation in Parramatta Square, STORYBOX begins its journey online, while social distancing measures are in place. Because that's just the kind of year 2020 is.
Still, despite the challenges of Covid-19, we're still incredibly excited about the partnerships and storytelling opportunities we're creating, even if we do have to stay firmly encamped in the world of the internets, for now.
As you might have discovered by exploring our website so far, STORYBOX is a new kid on the block.
We are fresh.
We are new.
Actually, not quite true. STORYBOX is a new platform, but the people behind it have been around awhile. Led by Sarah Barns and Michael Killalea, aka the dynamic duo that are ESEM Projects, STORYBOX is what you invent when you wish the world could be a better place, and you keep trying to make that better place real.
STORYBOX is what you come up with when you look around your city and you see advertisements shouting at you, and you wish they'd give you a break.
You know there is so much talent out there.
You know there are so many curious people, creating new work, telling stories, connecting online, yet the world of digital innovation in outdoor spaces seems to be over run with sales campaigns.
STORYBOX is also what you come up with when you know how divisive social media can be sometimes.
When you discover that friendly neighbour might not be so friendly on his local Facebook page.
So you create STORYBOX, because you want there to be a space where imaginations can run wild, where local voices can be heard, and where different portals into place can be shared. And because you know that when you're out in a community, the bubbles of social media don't matter as much. You want to create a platform for community storytelling that isn't about local politics, but about different kinds of local connection.
So, STORYBOX is what happens when you try to make space for creativity, connection and conversation in a place.
STORYBOX is an initiative of ESEM Projects, but it's really all about the partnerships.
We're launching STORYBOX with some wonderful anchor partners, who have come with us on a journey to explore what it might mean to connect differently with audiences in public spaces.
Our launch project is based in Parramatta, with support from anchor partners the City of Parramatta, ABC's Content Ideas Lab, Western Sydney University, Story Factory and Curious Works.
Over the coming months we'll be working with our partners and the communities of Parramatta to surface stories and insights for our STORYBOX Parramatta activation. We're especially excited about the opportunity to surface some of the rare archives we're discovering in the ABC's Archives, capturing life in Parramatta during the 1950s and 1960s when recently-arrived European migrants began to call Parramatta and its neighbouring suburbs home.
So, we're online for now, but we're still busy working in Parramatta, with the community and with creatives and storytellers, whether by Zoom or in shared outdoor spaces, to surface stories and insights for exhibition later this year in Parramatta Square.
Clockwise from top left: Unguarded Moments video by ESEM with ABC Archives, community development worker Alissar Chidiac by painter Brad Robson, the 'Ming Bowl' in the Parramatta Heritage Collection, Parramatta in Colour by ABC Content Ideas Lab, Quotation by Leanne Tobin, Darug artist and educator, Parramatta River Mangroves slow-Tv style by ESEM Projects.