Fetzer Institute + ivoh Partnership
We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Fetzer Institute, a Michigan foundation that “uses its philanthropic resources to help build the spiritual foundation for a loving world.” We will be working with several communities on collaborative, place-based efforts to shift the public dialogue from fear and despair to hope and possibility. A 2019 class of 12 Restorative Narrative Fellows will take part in a training at Fetzer’s retreat space, learning how to tell the deeper stories of people and communities, engaging voices that typically remain unheard and inspiring us to imagine and create a better world.

As part of the partnership, we will explore how dedicated resources, a local cohort of Fellows, and narratives applied to multiple platforms, can engage community members in storytelling and reporting, help build trust, transform perspectives and activate social change. In announcing the grant, Gillian Gonda, Fetzer’s Program Director for Engagement remarked:

“This work with ivoh will help us learn how reflective practices support journalists, how restorative narratives emerge from individuals and communities, and how varied audiences engage with these stories of hope and resiliency. Media and journalism are ripe for transformation as we work—with fellow travelers like ivoh—toward a more loving world for all.”

Restorative Narrative in Atlantic City
In September, in partnership with Mike Rispoli at Free Press and Stefanie Murray at the Center for Cooperative Media, ivoh facilitated a 5-hour workshop on strengths-based media and Restorative Narrative in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mike and Stefanie worked in close partnership with the community and created a space for leaders to dialogue with representatives from traditional newsrooms, hyperlocal news sites, and others in media about identifying and telling stories that moved beyond the boom or bust narrative to a fuller, more authentic representation of all that Atlantic City is and could be. As Mike recently noted:

“The workshop included tough conversations, opportunities to learn, build relationships, small group conversations. Most importantly, a chance to move from conversation into action. Now, we’re moving forward on a collaborative project, led by the people of [Atlantic City] and local reporters…Throughout, all stakeholders involved had a say in the decision-making process about the program, event location, catering…everything. Power was shared in every stage.”

To learn more about this workshop, read Joe Amditis and Mike Rispoli’s Medium article “Using restorative narrative to tell the story of Atlantic City.” If you’re interested in convening a similar workshop in your community, please email Ilsa.

Fellow Update 
Filed under “Restorative Narrative Fellows doing Amazing Things”, Liana Aghajanian (Class of ’17) is documenting the connection between food and identity in her project Dining in Diaspora, Documenting the Armenian-American Food Experience. Her website explains: “For people who have been on the move for over a century, who have lost their families, cities and language, food is the closest thing that encapsulates the feeling of being rooted. Food tells us stories about politics, history, immigration, identity and finding yourself.”

Liana describes Dining in Diaspora’s connection with her Restorative Narrative work on the collaborative efforts of Native American tribes and scientists to help indigenous communities reclaim the bones of their ancestors (look for this coming soon):

“Though it’s not directly related to my ivoh fellowship, the same themes that have carried much of my work and interests are reflected in this project – exile, trauma, marginalization but also survival and resilience. Documenting the experience of Armenians in America through food and the hidden, yet pioneering ways in which they have shaped American culinary tradition is a way for me to explore the complexity of a community through the universal language of food during a polarizing time in America.”