Elizabeth Kilroy on Tackling New Media Narratives

The New Media Narratives is the first program of its kind at International Center of Photography, drawing on the institution’s tradition of progressive, engaged, experimental photography in the pursuit of telling the most important stories. Spearheaded by its Program Chair, Elizabeth Kilroy, an award-winning interactive designer and educator the program continues its tradition in welcoming creative visual storytellers from many disciplines and artistic practices. ICP Hackathon is a weekend interdisciplinary opportunity for photographers, filmmakers, developers, designers, makers, journalists and visual artists to come together and collaborate on the future of storytelling. 

Recently, Blink’s Sahiba Chawdhary got an opportunity to quiz ICP’s Elizabeth Kilroy about their pilot New Media Narrative Program and its latest event this weekend, #hackthephoto, to continue its tradition to explore innovative storytelling.

Sahiba: Tell us about yourself and your work with ICP?

Elizabeth: I am the Chair of the New Media Narratives program at ICP. ICP has a long tradition of engaged photography in telling the most important stories since it was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa.The New Media Narratives Program continues this tradition by welcoming creative visual storytellers from many disciplines and artistic practices who are interested in digital storytelling.

Sahiba: Tell us about the new media narratives program at ICP?

Elizabeth: We live in a visual age of collaborative consumption; we share. Social platforms have imploded how digital content is produced, distributed and consumed. Stories are shaped by and delivered through screens, mobile devices and VR headsets. More critically, this is changing how photographers and storytellers approach their craft.  As people upload an average of 1.8 billion digital images daily, new approaches and skills are required to tell the important stories of the day. The New Media Narratives Program at ICP is a new one-year certificate program offering a strong background in photography, visual storytelling and development for digital and interactive media, allowing students to make engaging and collaborative work and tell stories using a variety of new tools and platforms.

Sahiba: How did the idea come about? What is your goal with the program?

Elizabeth: This is our first year! The program evolved through discussions between myself and Fred Ritchin, Dean of the School. Compelling visual and interactive content is a way to break through the digital clutter and tell those stories. Photographers are now creating original video content and recording audio to accompany their stories. Visual storytellers are required to curate and make sense of the ubiquity of images. Data visualization and mapping techniques can be used to bring advocates, viewers, and participant closer to global issues. Photography has opened out and embraced multi-platform storytelling and New Media Narratives is designed to give visual storytellers the tools needed to create and engage.

Sahiba: What are your plans for the program? Where do you see it developing in the next few years?

Elizabeth: Technology will constantly change but telling a good story and having an engaging aesthetic and a clear voice will remain constant. It’s always about telling important stories and making meaningful work. We hope to grow the program and invite more students to apply.

Sahiba: What experience would you like to deliver through the brainstorming sessions?

Elizabeth: We are very open to seeing what happens and plan to let the hackathon happen organically. We will assign teams, pair content creators with designers and coders and see what they come up with.


Sahiba: What are the key events to look out for over the weekend? Some inside scoop?

Elizabeth: We have some great speakers to kick off the event. Stephen Mayes is our keynote speaker. We have great judges and mentors plus we will feed you, give you drinks and award some great prizes.

Sahiba: What do you see as the future of storytelling?

Elizabeth: VR storytelling is the next frontier and I expect to see a lot of innovation in that field as well as improved technologies which will make the barrier to entry easier for aspiring VR filmmakers. The next version of Adobe Premiere will include VR editing, for instance. At the same time we will see more and more innovative mobile storytelling and filmmaking as your phone gets smarter and smarter.

Sahiba: How do you suggest traditional journalists adopt these innovations?

Elizabeth: Don’t be afraid of the technology. It’s just another tool. A good story is a good story and the same rules of journalism apply to both digital and legacy platforms.  

Sahiba: Where do you see tools like Blink evolve and benefit freelancers?

Elizabeth: Blink is a digitally native tool, a global platform for locating talent and hiring photographers. It should be the go to platform as more and more networking is done online and borders dissolve.

MORE INFO: http://www.icphackthephoto.com/ 



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  1. I just stuffed myself with caffeine, sugar, cookies and then some more caffeine. But the story didn’t unfold itself on my (blank) screen.My fingertips weren’t making miles on keys.I guess I’ll just wait here for another hour, see what happens (and while I’m waiting I might as well eat the rest of the cookies).Sometimes something that looks like a story will show up.. Other times I’ll go to bed just feeling stuffed.Anyway, I doesn’t keep me from trying again tomorrow.

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  4. I would like to suggest the following duets of Rafi-LataPaon chchu lenedo phoolon ko inayet hogi- TajmahalTere bin sune nain hamare- Mere surat teri ankhenyeh dil tum bin lagta nahin ham kya karen- IzzatTere ankhon ke siva duniyan mein rakhha kya hai-Don’t remember the film’s name

  5. A fantastic list, Vinay. I’ll bite, though, and say “Huh? Who?” with regards to 13AD.Thanks for reminding me about The Living Years. It’s hard for me to think about that song without getting some sort of photo montage flipping through my brain.Regarding your karaoke song, I remember when Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You came out. I couldn’t figure out the lyrics in one place, and thought Medirios was singing Ya-numma-numma-numma. Clapton in Seattle? Fantastic!

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