Freedom Stories is a new initiative from the International Storytelling Center (ISC), in Jonesborough, Tennessee, made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It will bring together professional storytellers, humanities scholars and audiences in the Central Appalachian region for direct dialogues in a series of bridge-building, forward-looking planning sessions, public discussions and resource development initiatives. The interpretive goals of this program are:
- A better appreciation of episodes in the history of Appalachia that intersect with the broader history of African Americans in the United States, including but not limited to the emergence of the abolitionist movement, the Jim Crow era, migrations of African American families within and away from Appalachia, and desegregation;
- The contributions of African Americans to the economic, cultural and religious history of Appalachia;
- The role that face-to-face storytelling has played in African American and Appalachian communities.
Job functions include:
- Coordinating all aspects of the Freedom Stories Project including:
- Planning and implementing a series of 12 public discussions to be held mainly in East Tennessee with some work in Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina;
- Coordinating residency sites in concert with identified host partners;
- Communicating and liaising with identified storytelling artists and humanities scholar partners including travel and lodging, and materials requests;
- Collecting and compiling data from each Project discussion event;
- Collecting and compiling individual stories from Project event participants;
- Developing a cumulative multi-media toolkit to be used both in-house at ISC and disseminated to the public via the ISC website and between/among local and national partners;
- Overseeing the preparation of all specific event-related materials;
- Being the representative of the Freedom Stories Project and ISC to the organization’s identified partners, potential partners, and communities at large;
- Developing materials in concert with the ISC President and Management Team including, but not limited to:
- Press releases, advertisements, and other promotional materials
- Social media posts;
- Evaluation tools for gathering both qualitative and quantitative data
- Podcasts, videos, and other multimedia;
- Other materials as needed.
- Other duties as required.
The ideal candidate will have the following:
- A graduate or terminal degree in storytelling, Appalachian Studies, African American Studies, folklore, history, or related humanities field; emphasis in applied studies and/or social justice is a plus
- A background in successful nonprofit project management either in an administrative or managerial role;
- A firm commitment to and passion for social justice and celebrating diverse voices in the region;
- A commitment to the message and themes of the Freedom Stories Project:
- Storytelling is integral to historical inquiry and discovery;
- Storytelling has been a crucial means for cultural survival, shaping identities, facilitating dialogues and achieving equity for marginalized communities;
- Black communities and individuals have played key roles in improving conditions for Appalachians of all backgrounds and African Americans across the United States.
- A commitment to the arts, nonprofits, and community development;
- An understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of Appalachian communities and the complexity of Appalachian histories;
- An understanding of and appreciation for the value of storytelling as a tool for social change and community building;
- An understanding of and appreciation for the scholarship of storytelling;
- Excellent organizational, writing, editing, and verbal communication skills;
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office;
- Experience in digital media production;
- Experience in curriculum writing and technical writing;
- Ability to work individually and as part of a team;
- Adherence to the highest ethical standards;
- An optimistic and positive attitude.
Hours and Compensation
- Average 25 hours/week;
- $60,000 total for duration of contract;
- Benefits negotiable.
***This is a grant-funded position with a 21-month contract (Jan. 2020-Sept. 2021).
How to Apply
Address a cover letter and resume to Kiran Singh Sirah, ISC President. Send application and any inquiries to Lynnea Salinas, Assistant to the President, at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 31, 2019.
You can view the first Freedom Stories session, recorded live with storyteller Sheila Arnold, at the 2019 National Storytelling Festival below: