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Documentary Storytelling Projects


Stories from Puerto Rico

Rincón, Puerto Rico

Our students in Puerto Rico include a mixture of home-schoolers and kids who attend school locally.  We began this project by learning photography, then students developed their stories based on their interests.  They wrote the scripts and recorded narrations, and combined those with their photos.  The ocean provided our main source of inspiration.  Final projects were screened for the public in the town square.

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Doc Story Assignments - Virtual

San Diego, CA, USA

This project site shows selected student assignments from one semester at Monarch School using WSE's newly designed virtual curriculum for documentary storytelling.  2021 was an interesting year for us educators - equal parts suffering and triumph forging new methods for students to learn while at home during a pandemic.  We are proud of the work our students accomplished during a challenging year.

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Our Lives In The Gambia

Salikenni, The Gambia

This workshop invited students from Salikenni's Upper Basic School to create documentary stories. Students learned basic photo and video skills, then signed out cameras to document self-determined values such as school, home, food, family, work, play, religion, and their hopes for the future. Next they wrote and recorded narrations, and finally worked with WSE instructors to edit their stories. 

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Our Lives at Monarch

San Diego, CA, USA

In partnership with Monarch School in San Diego, California, this annual project invites students to learn the basics of documentary storytelling and create their own stories using photography, video, audio recording and editing tools.  Most students chose to structure their stories around a day in their lives, while others chose the prompt "what would you like to say to the world?".  Their work will be exchanged with student work from across the Americas.


Refugee Youth Stories

Lesvos, Greece

​In collaboration with the International Refugee Committee, this six-day documentary storytelling workshop invited unaccompanied minors seeking refuge from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria to tell their story using photography, video, audio recording and drawing.


What Does Nature Means to Me?

Hartford, Vermont

Biology students at Hartford High were invited to feel the expansiveness and wonder of nature through a series of field trips, including Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park.  The students created a series of photographic stories answering the question "What Does Nature Mean To Me?”


Stories from the Island of Lombok

Lombok, Indonesia

This series of projects involved four workshops, one to make drawings and three to make photographic stories with audio narrations expressing the students' sense of place - specifically their home, family, school and environment. 

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Community Documentary Films

Bolinas, CA, USA

This annual project with Bolinas-Stinson Middle School offers 7th and 8th grade students the opportunity work together in production teams to make community-based documentaries and individual personal narrative films. The group films focus on global issues found locally, including: Globalization, Migration, Habitat Preservation, Climate Change, Water, Human Rights, Fuel, Standard of Living, Population Growth, Pollution, Healthcare and Food Supply.


Tomales Bay Youth Media

Point Reyes Station, CA, USA


In partnership with Tomales Bay Youth Center this project invited students to create a multi-media documentary on a topic of their choice.  Their stories will be exchanged with youth in Vermont. Additional media stories include a documentary about the youth center, and a slide show about Dia de Los Muertos in Point Reyes Station.

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Stories of Justin Morrill Homestead

Strafford, Vermont, USA

During a week-long summer camp at the Morrill Homestead in Strafford, VT, each camper embarked on a journey to make a short mixed-media documentary story featuring the life and history of Senator Justin Smith Morrill.  Campers toured Justin Morrill’s house, carriage barn, orchards, gardens, and ice house. They also visited Strafford’s Post Office, Historical Society, Town House, Cemetery and Morrill Memorial & Harris Library. 


Photographic Stories

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

This project worked with students who attend the Let Us Create after-school arts program in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The students each made a photographic story about their lives to share with the World Story Exchange community.

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Looking Through the Lens

Koh Lipe, Thailand

This project invited students from Koh Lipe, Thailand, to create photographic stories with audio narrations.  Over the course of seven days the students studied the basics of photography and fulfilled a story assignment of their choosing.  The project culminated with a community screening of the student work.


Stories From CLASP Youth

Hartford, Vermont, USA

This project was developed through a partnership between World Story Exchange and CLASP (Creative Lives After School Program). The students learned photographic techniques and went on photo walks around White River Junction. Then the students made a selection of their photographs before writing and recording an audio narration.

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Open Fields Films

Thetford, Vermont, USA

These seven films are the result of an interdisciplinary sense-of-place project. Using information from the 1900 census records and other primary sources, each of our students researched aspects of daily life for a student living in Thetford, Vermont at the turn of the previous century. Our students created historically viable accounts of the lives of their 1900s counterparts, paying particular attention to the use of natural resources. Each film is narrated from the perspective of those historical characters. 


Summer Media Camps

Duxbury, MA, USA


A week-long multi-media storytelling workshop in cooperation with Artistree in Pomfret, Vermont. 2) A two-day photography workshop in cooperation with Crossroads For Kids in Duxbury, Massachusetts. 3) A week-long documentary film workshop in cooperation with the Duxbury Free Library in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

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Photo Stories from MCS

Norwich, Vermont, USA


This project invited the entire 5th grade at Marion Cross School in Norwich, Vermont, USA, to create photographic stories with audio narrations.  World Story Exchange instructors worked in partnership with art teacher Caitlin Eastman to facilitate the one-week workshop.

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Global Video Letters 

New York City, NY, USA 

and Mare, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


​An exchange of documentary films made by youth from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the South Bronx, NYC.Graduate students at The New School hosted a filmmaking class at Middle School 325 in the South Bronx, NYC. Simultaneously another group of graduate students ran a filmmaking workshop in Mare, Rio de Janeiro.


Voices of Hope

Beirut, Lebanon

Home of Hope is a non-profit organization which serves the misfortunate, abused, abandoned, and orphaned children in Beirut, Lebanon.  World Story Exchange partnered with Home of Hope for a two-week project focussed on offering the kids a fun and creative opportunity during their Christmas break from school.

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Our Messages To The World

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA


This project worked with 26 sophomores at East Mecklenburg High School to create 2-3 minute films describing their "message to the world".  The students are enrolled in ESL classes (English as Second Language), and have recently arrived from 14 countries including Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Venezuela, Eritrea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Syria, Thailand and Vietnam.


6th Grade Photography Project

San Pablo, CA, USA

Our annual project with 6th graders at E.M.Downer Elementary School yields photographs and writing reflecting the neighborhoods and environment in San Pablo and Richmond, on the east side of San Francisco Bay in California.  The students learn photography and produce a visual project including one of their photos and a piece of writing.  Each year several student photos are chosen for permanent display on the walls of their school.


Our Ocean Stories

Eleuthera, The Bahamas

WSE supported Deep Creek Middle School's 7th grade during their School Without Walls program. For one week students had opportunities to learn about marine ecology from scientists at Cape Eleuthera Institute, to meet international high school students on campus at The Island School, to practice snorkeling and swimming, and to make a documentary story about their experiences. 


Stories From Standing Rock

North Dakota, USA

Youth water protectors created short media stories while living at Standing Rock as youth water protectors.  The students worked one-on-one with World Story Exchange instructors in partnership with the Defenders of the Water school on the banks of the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Native American reservation.

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La Vida en Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico

This week-long documentary workshop was hosted by Juana de Asbaje Escuela Secundaria General in Brisas De Zicatela, a neighborhood of Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.  Twelve students created personal documentaries in spanish to be exchanged with spanish-speaking students in Vermont and California.

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LMS Core Values Films

Lebanon, NH, USA

This project is an annual collaboration between Lebanon Middle School and World Story Exchange.  8th grade students make short films exploring the connections between one of their interests and one of LMS's Core Values: Leadership, Motivation, Spirit, Perseverance, Respect, Determination, Excellence.  This project has been annually supported by the LMS Parent Teacher Organization and The Byrne Foundation.

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Upper Valley Oral History

White River Junction, VT, USA

A partnership between the Upper Valley Haven (a homeless shelter) and the Bugbee Senior Center.  Five young Haven residents interviewed seniors about local places that have changed.  Next the students took photographs of those places. Third, we investigated the photography archives at the Hartford Historical Society looking for pictures of how those places used to be.  WSE then compiled a film combining the stories from the interviews, the modern photos, and the archival photos.  


Local Stories With Global Messages

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

This project invited students from Liger Learning Center, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to make photographic stories with audio narrations.  Students spent ten days creating multi-media stories about their daily lives at school and their perspectives on global environmental issues.


A Journey Into Self

Hartford, Vermont, USA

An ongoing series of documentary film workshops attended by students from the Design, Illustration and Media Arts program at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center in Vermont.  We created a "personal documentary" curriculum inviting students to make films exploring one thing in their lives that has had a profound impact on them.


Nicaragua-Vermont Film Exchange

El Transito, Nicaragua

and Woodstock, VT, USA


A documentary filmmaking workshop in El Transito, Nicaragua, yielded films that were exchanged with films made by juniors/seniors in advanced Spanish classes at Harwood and Woodstock Union High Schools in Vermont.One of the films from El Transito addresses the issue of protecting the eggs of nesting sea turtles.  Now the community is rallying around the cause and has started a successful hatchery.

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HHS Documentary Experience

Hartford, Vermont, USA


Freshman and sophomores at Hartford High School in Vermont produced multi-media documentary projects. Their assignment was to create a story using photographs, text and audio.These stories will be shared with students in Indonesia, who will be invited to participate in a workshop to make their own documentary photography stories.


Looking Through the Lens

Hartford, Vermont, USA

Design students at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center in Vermont participated in a project asking them to create photographic essays expressive of their place.These projects will be shared with students in Yangon, Myanmar, who will then be invited to participate in a documentary photography workshop to tell and share their own stories.


Stories from Tyler Court Seniors

Carlsbad, CA, USA

A World Story Exchange screening at Tyler Court Senior Apartments led to this impromptu workshop, where senior citizens collaborated with WSE instructors to create stories about their lives and their community.

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Photographic Stories

Hanoi, Vietnam

​This photography and writing workshop invited twelve Vietnamese students to explore their city with a camera and write descriptive captions to create a story.In partnership with Alpha School and the community development organization Action For the City. 


Our Global Campus

St. Johnsbury, VT, USA

A participatory documentary film made by adults with differing developmental abilities from St. Johnsbury, Vermont.  Their film was shared with a group of adults with differing physical and developmental abilities in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  The two groups met each other through skype and asked/answered questions about their respective cultures.

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