The “Beyond #PovertyPorn” Debate: Instances of “Positive” or Effective Storytelling

Kurante hosted a G+ Hangout on the question of “poverty porn” and how to move beyond it. Participants included Charlie Beckett, Ethan Zuckerman, Linda Raftree, TMS Ruge, Lindsay Poirier, and myself. The last question of the day was to talk about any instances of positive imagery we can point to. The following is a list I came up with just after wrapping up the call, and therefore is not exhaustive and not in any particular order, but I hope helpful.  I’m also not appending any comment to them for the moment, but may come back to this post in a few days and edit to do so.

All are independent projects, not native to any institution, but each represents a way of telling complex stories, trusting the “subjects” or on the other hand participatory/local storytelling, humor and satire, or innovation in narrative.

1. Sandy Storyline

2. Radi-Aid

3. Granito

4. Alma, A Tale of Violence

5. Dadaab Stories

6. Proyecto Rosa

7. Revolutionary Optimists

8. A series of short films by Marc Silver*

(a) A Life on Hold

(b) Laugh and the World Laughs With You

(c) The Torch

(d) Inside Comayagua Prison

9. Lakou Mizik*

10. Enjoy Poverty — This one it isn’t “positive,” per se, but instead is cynical, satirical, and controversial, and therefore gets a special mention.

* Disclosures: Marc Silver is one of my partners (on Who Is Dayani Cristal? a project he founded with Gael Garcia Bernal). Lakou Mizik is a project that I work with.

​This post was originally published at 

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