We are proud to announce the launch of a new blog dedicated to showcasing the stories of Nashville’s immigrants and refugees. NPT’s Next Door Neighbors Storytellers blog, accessible at blogs.wnpt.org/storytellers, is the web portal for a community project that expands on the Emmy award-winning Next Door Neighbors documentary series.
Building on NPT’s close relationships with local immigrants and the organizations that serve them, the goal of the Next Door Neighbors Storyteller project is to help Nashville’s immigrants and refugees find their voice by training and equipping them tell their own stories through digital storytelling skills. NPT provided hands-on training, equipment and support throughout the initial phase of the project, resulting in video essays that are personal, unique and captivating. The new blog provides a platform for the close to 150 immigrant and refugee stories on NPT’s Next Door Neighbors Storytellers YouTube Channel.
There are stories by Kurdish, Somali, Egyptian, Japanese, Bhutanese, Mexican and many more communities, that together provide a wide-ranging view of the diversity of music city and craft a larger, more inclusive story about why Nashville is an “it” city right now. Stories on the blog are categorized by topics including food, immigration, culture, faith, entrepreneurship, survival and Nashville.
While Storytellers started more than three years agp, the new blog was initially developed this spring at the HCA Foundation-sponsored Hack for the Community, where local developers and designers volunteered their time to work with Nashville nonprofits. With the input and guidance of NPT’s Joe Pagetta, director of media relations and online strategies; Will Pedigo, Next Door Neighbors producer, and Shawn Anfinson, Next Door Neighbors Storytellers project manager, HCA project manager James Bumpass led a team of six developers and designers who worked on the best way to showcase the videos.
There is an area of the blog where immigrants and refugees can download training materials and videos, and find out about upcoming workshops. They can also inquire about telling their own stories, and a use form to submit stories they’ve already done for inclusion in the project.
“We hope by providing a better showcase for these stories that this rich, vibrant part of Nashville’s culture gets to shine a little more and take its place along many of the other facets of this city garnering national attention,” says Pagetta. “Some of these stories are really excellent, and all are sincere and heartfelt. Some are funny and some are heartbreaking, but all took courage to tell. I hope, too, that it inspires more members of the community to tell their own stories, and together we can build this amazing digital quilt of the unique people that now call Nashville home.”
Kevin Kennedy did additional development work, and NPT intern Chloe Cable brought the bulk of the YouTube collection into the blog. Soraya Salam worked on an early phase of the project.
The Next Door Neighbors Storyteller project is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Nissan Foundation.