Both Together and Apart

Story+, Team-Based Research Program, Thrives Online

Amanda Starling Gould

Following Duke University’s official policy guidance that any “Duke-sponsored academic curricular and co-curricular programs scheduled for the entire summer [of 2020] must be delivered remotely or online,” Story+ decided, without pause or hesitation, to move online.

Story+ is a 6-week paid summer research experience for Duke students—undergraduates and graduates—interested in exploring interdisciplinary humanities research topics and methodologies. The program combines hands-on research with storytelling to create dynamic outcomes for diverse public audiences.

Students collaborate with experts, professionals, and artists on projects spanning the arts, policy, healthcare, human rights, history, feminism, race relations, social justice, literature, dance, social media, music, protest, artificial intelligence, and migration.

Students perform research in the archives, in the field, and in concert with current events. They produce storytelling artifacts - what we might call research transmissions - in the form of physical exhibits, websites, podcasts, graphic memoirs, videos, translations, reports, curricula, and 3D-printed objects. Their methods include textual analysis, visual analysis, archival/historical research, social media research, narrative analysis, cultural analysis, creative work, artistic practice, oral history, writing, and embodied performance.

This year’s students, project managers, project PIs, and Story+ staff are nothing short of innovators. There has never been a remote Story+ program before this summer, but everyone pulled together and the research thrived!

Screenshot of Zoom meeting: six faces in six boxes
Body Work: Reanimating Policy Responses to Coal Mining Disasters team photo, Story+ Summer 2020. Pictured: Alice Carroll, Emma Cairns, Juliet Irving, Hannah Smith, Jonathan Free, and Justin Tornow.

Teams collaborated closely while living apart, in different cities, states, countries, and time zones. This summer, more than 50 students in 10 teams participated across 18 states and 5 countries! Over the course of the six weeks they researched, created, collaborated, discovered, conversed, listened, and authored… all the while also taking and teaching online courses, Zooming, voting, protesting, and weathering a pandemic. They wrote poetry, designed technologies, managed interviews with academic and everyday experts, crafted digital zines, learned to tell stories through physical movement, and participated in global live-streamed music events.

We couldn't have been more impressed by their research this summer, and we’re excited to share their final presentations publicly. All projects can be seen on our Story+ website.

In their presentations, you’ll hear how teams

We at Story+ send sustained thanks to all who helped us along the way, from our FHI staff, to our Bass Connections partners, the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, our libraries colleagues, our boot camp experts, and everyone across campus who supported, mentored, assisted, and encouraged our teams.

Story+ is funded by Together Duke and administered by the Franklin Humanities Institute in conjunction with Bass Connections, with support from Duke University Libraries.

Associated Program(s)