Online community builds rural connections

Participants in the Rural Youth Assembly used PlaceStories, an online tool developed for use in the Australian Outback, to share stories, photographs, and videos.

     (**Visit the PlaceStories Youth Assembly story map.**)

PlaceStories combines digital storytelling production tools with online social networking and mapping to help users see the geographical connections among people, places, and issues.

PlaceStories is the creation of Feral Arts , a cultural development company in Brisbane, Australia. Feral Arts developed PlaceStories to use in areas where Internet bandwidth is limited, making it an ideal application for rural communities wanting to tell their own stories and connect with others worldwide. In Australia, the software has been used by indigenous populations and other rural residents to discuss such issues as land-ownership rights, sustainable agriculture and healthcare services. The Center for Rural Strategies, which manages the National Rural Assembly Steering Committee, is partnering with Feral Arts to build out PlaceStories communities in the United States.

For the Youth Assembly, participants used PlaceStories to introduce themselves before the event via digital "postcards." During the conference the media team produced a reflection on the purpose of the gathering and posted interviews with participants about issues in their home communities. Youth delegates are being encouraged to continue using PlaceStories for story sharing, community building and policy advocacy.

 See a map of all the PlaceStories produced so far as part of the National Rural Youth Assembly.

Visit the PlaceStories project page for the National Rural Youth Assembly.