We had the pleasure to have Amelia Brown speak at our Social Change Forum this year. She helped us through the forum by continuously reminding us that we must always know our privilege, our process, and our people.  These three P’s play a very important role in how we continue our lives as social change agents.

Amelia Brown is a consultant with more than 20 years of experience in advocating and activating social change spanning 30 countries and four continents.  She earned an MA from the University of Minnesota in Arts and Emergency Management.  She is the founder of Emergency Arts, a central resource and network for people working in art, emergency response and community development. Most recently, Brown published the first article in a series of three in the online magazine, Creative Exchange.  This woman is a leader for us all and her passion for art in emergency will help us all move forward.

Here is a sample of her first of three articles being published on Creative Exchange:

Connecting and Collaborating

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States, resulting in the second-costliest hurricane recorded in U.S. history. In the wake of the disaster and emerging rebuilding efforts, multimedia producer, educator, and storytelling strategist Rachel Falcone founded Sandy Storyline with partnerMichael Premo. Sandy Storyline is an online platform that lets residents share their own stories about living through and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy through videos, images, and narrative text. The multimedia website acts as a living history of the community, as told by its members.

Falcone was inspired after observing survivors exchanging cell phone images and stories at communal charging stations. Falcone remembers, “After the storm there is a lot of connection among story; everybody has something to share and there is a process. For us, we wanted to both allow the space for people to share their very personal experiences, but also build connection, understanding, and relevance.” Sandy Storyline served as an outlet for survivors to share stories amongst themselves and with a wider audience.

Falcone’s background in community engagement projects such as StoryCorps and Housing is a Human Right facilitated networking among residents, artists, and community-based groups.  Falcone explains the importance of artists in recovery, stating, “Artists provide so many things. They are supporting the social part of the community. Art strengthens the community’s ability to respond in every way. It brings us together, connects us; it’s a critical piece that would be missing otherwise in how we are thinking about rebuilding.” Artists, she says, play a vital role in both short-term response and long-term recovery.