Tufts University

Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice
The Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice at the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University prepares students to perform the challenging yet vital function of seeking out and understanding important global and national issues, and to explain them in a compelling way using visual, written and oral narrative techniques.

The role of narrative storytelling is increasingly important in this time of rapidly reported 24 hour news to elaborate beyond the news bulletin. It is a genre with multiple layers and contexts that renders the issues at hand more essential and compelling, less formal and constrained than conventional reporting. Students will be trained by immersive practice to identify human stories that act as a vehicle to explain large complex issues.

The ability to communicate complex ideas with a strong narrative across multiple platforms is as critical to students who seek careers in journalism as it is to those seeking a future in politics, business, commerce, advocacy or humanitarian work. Core to its mission and vision, the Program seeks to promote narrative documentary work that cultivates progressive change by amplifying relevant voices, breaking down barriers to understanding, advancing human dignity, and highlighting social injustices, with local, regional, national, and international audiences in mind.

How It Works

The principle focus of the Program is practice underwritten by a sound understanding of theory. Through collaborative partnerships and extended fieldwork, the Program will teach, present and create narrative documentary work, using photography, video, audio, and the written word.

Students will learn how to apply the craft of storytelling across a range of platforms and be encouraged to be innovative, taking into account the habits of consumers from the traditional printed form to digital delivery.

The Program will teach its students how to ask the right questions of themselves and others and instill in them an ability to accept that what they don’t know is as important as what they do know. By initially immersing them in stories that are beyond the limits of their own experience, we will encourage them to challenge their preconceptions and prejudices and teach them strategies to look beyond those limitations.

The Program is not training journalism students. It is taking students interested in politics, history, economics, international relations, conflict resolution, technology and engineering – students who have already demonstrated an engagement in the world – and teaching them storytelling and journalism. These students are committed young men and women who are enrolling in the Program in addition to their core curriculum.

It is a unique university program.

For further information please contact Sam James at samuel.james@tufts.edu