Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cowbird Helps Storytellers and Photographers Spread Their Wings


Join leading digital media innovators from the arts, business, education, and non-profits and explore some of the most important and influential work being done in new media today at the 2012 Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22-23, in Woodstock, Vermont. 

WOODSTOCK, VT - Storytellers and photographers around the world are finding a digital home – a place to tell stories and share photography documenting their lives and the lives of others who aren’t normally heard from, especially in digital media. That home is Cowbird, and its Community Manager, Annie Correal, will be one of the presenters at the Woodstock Digital Media Festival to be held June 22 and 23 in Woodstock, Vermont.

“Cowbird.com is a constantly evolving library of human experience, completely created by the authors,” says Correal. “It’s a tool for people to create records of their experiences.”

Cowbird’s 11,000-plus participants, from 150 different countries to date, use the site to document stories and photographs in a way that was once reserved for photojournalists and anthropologists. Cowbird was founded and created by Jonathan Harris, who was raised partly in Shelburne and considers Vermont his home state. 


As of this interview, 55 Vermonters have contributed 290 stories – numbers that will certainly continue to grow. One Vermonter putting Cowbird to frequent use is Geoffrey Gevalt, an educator who takes advantage of Cowbird’s digital format to publish text, audio and photos. Gevalt has created pieces documenting the reminiscences of elders, his work with young Vermont writers, and even a series on the process of making maple syrup. 
  
At the Woodstock Digital Media Festival, Correal will showcase the work of Gevault and other storytellers on Cowbird. She encourages all who have an interest in sharing or collaborating on storytelling to attend her panel, “Telling [True] Stories,” Saturday, June 23, from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Woodstock Inn.

“Cowbird wants to foster an experience that’s not just about sitting behind your computer all day, but provides an impetus to go out and create stories that interest people,” says Correal. “The site provides a way to connect with your immediate community, to find others who are interested in the same types of things you are. Online relationships can turn into relationships in the real world.” 

The Woodstock Digital Media Festival opens to the public on Friday evening, June 22, with a free Exhibition Opening from 8:30-10:30 p.m. at the Artistree Gallery in Woodstock. On Saturday, June 23, outdoor digital “explorations” and informational sessions like Correal’s “Telling TRUE Stories,” are all free and open to the public. Saturday evening’s reception and presentation is a ticketed event from 8:00-11:00 p.m. at the Billings Farm and Museum.

Storytellers can request invites to Cowbird in advance of the Festival here: http://www.cowbird.com/request-invite/.

For more information on the Festival and to register, visit WoodstockDigital.com.

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The Woodstock Digital Media Festival is a forum and exhibition held each summer in Woodstock, Vermont, where leading digital artists, businesses and educators present their work and interact with their peers as well as with the general public. The Festival combines a beautiful, natural setting with a completely wired town center to create a fantastic “digital campus” offering lively talks, unique outdoor explorations, and ongoing exhibitions of digital art and innovations. For more information on the Festival and to register, visit WoodstockDigital.com.



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