Making Connections at FoST Summit
BY Shannon Fanuko — April 5, 2018
The FoST Summit is an amazing experience for many reasons––the world-class performances, inspiring speakers, thought-provoking workshops––but one of its most unique distinctions is having been the birthplace of many creative collaborations between individuals and companies that might not have found each other without FoST. 

One such collaboration is between Gender Proud and Univision. After connecting at the 2015 FoST Summit, the two groups joined forces to help alleviate the ongoing discrimination that transgender individuals too often experience in the workplace.

Together, the two companies have produced a web series that tells three different stories of transgender youth from various ethnic and economic backgrounds: follow Tiffany, a former sex worker who now works at the LGBT Center, as she gets her GED so she can get hired full time, and watch as Alexis, a college educated Latina struggles to get a dishwashing job because of her identity as an undocumented immigrant. The project hopes to eliminate transgender workplace discrimination and encourage social and workplace acceptance of diversity.

Another collaboration sprung up between Global Nomads Group, Dr. Nonny de la Peña, and Immersive Journalism’s Project Syria. The three worked together to create a program that connects American and Syrian youth through immersive virtual reality. Inner city high school students in American were immersed in a virtual reality recreation of a bombing and its aftermath in Aleppo. Afterward, the American students met with Syrian refugee youth at a Save the Children community center in Amman, Jordan, via live video.

“I was introduced to virtual reality by Nonny de la Peña at the FoST Summit in 2014. That day, Nonny and I agreed to explore how we could blend virtual reality with virtual exchange,” said Chris Plutte, Executive Director of the Global Nomads Group and a 2014 FoST Speaker. “It all started at FoST.”
 
Conservation International (CI), a nature conservancy group, came to FoST Summit specifically looking to form collaborations and get help spreading their message of saving nature. The FoST community rose to the occasion and came up with two creative solutions that CI implemented: one was a photo contest that drove participation in the #INeedNature campaign and received more than 7,000 submissions. The second idea engaged YouTube celebrities to participate, and ultimately garnered the support of nine millennial YouTube stars and generated 33,000 views on YouTube.

Of course, there are hundreds of other collaborations and projects that have grown out of the FoST Summit over the years. The magic of FoST comes from our community, and the greatest magic happens when our community comes together to change the world. 

Have a story of collaboration you’d like to share? Email us your pitch at info@futureofstorytelling.org.
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