I have an interest in a City of Mississauga initiative that seeks to develop the Story of Mississauga.
The project is outlined in a 190-page City of Mississauga report entitled: “Mississauga Heritage Management Strategy”:
A related report is entitled: “City of Mississauga – Minutes of Heritage Advisory Committee (Approved May 10, 2016).”
A June 1, 2016 City of Mississauga news release about the project is entitled: “City’s First Heritage Management Strategy Brings Heritage to the People.”
A related May 13, 2015 City of Mississauga Culture Division document is entitled:
Story of Mississauga meetings in January and March 2017
I attended a planning meeting connected with the the Story of Mississauga project in January 2017 in Toronto.
I also attended a related storytelling workshop in March 2017 in Mississauga.
The project has prompted me to think about the theory and practice of storytelling – and about the role that stories play in our lives.
Some preliminary thoughts
1) Ownership of project. Who is going to own these stories? How will ownership be conceptualized? How will ownership be determined? And: Why would it matter, who has a sense of ownership of the stories, of the storytelling, of the production and distribution of the stories?
2) Ownership of content. It will be apt, for example, for Mississauga residents to have a strong sense of ownership of the content of the stories. The question that arises at once, with regard to such a goal, however, is: How do you develop a strong sense of ownership, with regard to content of stories that will be included in The Story of Mississauga?
3) Ownership of distribution. It will be apt for people to have a strong sense of ownership of the process whereby the stories that emerge are accessed. How do you develop such a sense of ownership, with regard to access to the stories?
4) Growth and renewal. With the passage of time, will new stories be added to the mix? How can a process of change and renewal be ensured?
Fake news and real news
A person can define storytelling however she or he likes.
One version of storytelling involves having a storyteller entertain an audience for an hour. In order to be entertaining, some production value must be in evidence.
Another version of storytelling involves a short story or novel. Again, you want something that is compelling and interesting.
In another scenario, storytelling might involve a work of non-fiction, as in a news report or a book-length study; again, you need to attract an audience, and hold the attention of your readers.
A fake news story appearing in a televised broadcast, or a speech or tweets featuring lies and gaslighting, can also qualify as storytelling.
Lies and gaslighting can be highly compelling and can serve many purposes, including cultural and physical genocide.
Stories from the Brookings Institution
I first became interested, years ago, in the work of the Brookings Institution when I read studies, that the Institution had published, concerning the long-term economic benefits of optimal early childhood learning. This is a topic of much interest to me. I was impressed with the quality of the studies. I’ve been reading Brookings reports ever since.
The recent work in question, which involves some great storytelling as I will highlight in subsequent posts, is by Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy.
Fiona Hill is director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings.
Clifford G. Gaddy is a senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings.
The storytelling that I refer to is entitled:
A March 3, 2017 Columbia Journalism Review article is entitled: “Study: Breitbart-led right-wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda.”
A March 13, 2017 opendemocracy.net article is entitled: “Scorn wars: rural white people and us.”
An article in the March 27, 2017 issue of the New Yorker is entitled: “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.”
A March 29, 2017 City of Mississauga news release is entitled: “City of Mississauga Wins Municipality of the Year Award.”
A March 29, 2017 Pew Research Center article is entitled: The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online: Many experts fear uncivil and manipulative behaviors on the internet will persist – and may get worse. This will lead to a splintering of social media into AI-patrolled and regulated ‘safe spaces’ separated from free-for-all zones. Some worry this will hurt the open exchange of ideas and compromise privacy.”
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
An April 13, 2016 (note it’s 2016) Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article by Fiona Hill is entitled: “The one-man show the West doesn’t understand.”
Peel Regional Police and the Story of Mississauga
The following topic is of relevance with regard to what will be features as integral to the Story of Mississauga: An April 22, 2017 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Peel police discriminated against decorated officer based on race, rights tribunal rules: Peel police discriminated against a South Asian officer and devalued the South Asian community, a human rights tribunal has ruled.”