Stories create empathy. Empathy prompts action. The concept demonstrated below invites visitors to step into the shoes of North Carolinians and live their story. Suggested in response to the Emerging Issues Commons' need for exploring ways to increase visitor participation in its space.
Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) is a public policy organization with a mission for enhancing North Carolina’s long-term prosperity. The Emerging Issues Commons is North Carolina’s space for people to come together to solve challenges across the categories of environment, education, economy and health. Citizens can contribute ideas based on data provided in the physical and digital spaces. The physical space is located within James B. Hunt library, featuring interactive displays that showcase data and mini-documentaries, and provide a way for visitors to share their ideas for North Carolina.
Using storytelling, quantitative data can be made into qualitative, easily digestible information. Multiple touch-screens, or ‘story-portals,’ will host the narratives in the IEI space. The visitor will choose from a range of scenarios and unravel a story, step-by-step, by making decisions from the point of view of the North Carolinian who the fictional story is about. The interface will also allow a visitor to see other visitors’ ideas and discuss them, as well as summon relevant data if needed within the ‘story’ itself. The story portals will be present in multiple spaces across the exhibit, allowing more than one user to engage with the content at a time.
The fictional stories would be based on IEI's content (both quantitative and qualitative), consisting of events from a North Carolinian's perspective placed within a template consisting of an image, portion of the story, and a question whose answer determines how the story will unfold (see video above). For example, the story in the demo is inspired from IEI's informational video Creating a 21st Century Charlotte which addresses the issue of public transportation in Charlotte.