Introducing The Storebox
May 16, 2016 |
New Media Project
We are delighted to announce that The Storebox is now live. The New Media Project Storebox is a place to gather as many different “case studies” as we can of what Christians are doing in the vast, expanding, intimate, connected, and interconnected landscape of digital media. It is a repository of Christian “experiments” in new and digital media.
The Storebox is directed by Kathryn Reklis, Research Fellow for the New Media Project, and Assistant Professor of Theology at Fordham University in New York City. All the content in The Storebox is created and curated by undergraduate students at Fordham, working under the direction of Reklis.
The idea for The Storebox emerged out of the first phase of the New Media Project (NMP), which focused on six qualitative case studies (you can read all about them here). While the NMP expanded its focus as part of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary, The Storebox is a place to gather information about particular case studies.
“There are so many churches, leaders and Christian organizations doing interesting things with digital technologies. We wanted to find a way to collect information about as many of them as we could,” explains Verity Jones, director of the New Media Project.
Because it is created and run by undergraduate students, it is also a digital experiment in pedagogy. “When talking with Verity about ideas for The Storebox, my focus was always on empowering student researchers,” says Reklis. “Undergraduate students bring new eyes to this material – they see things that I would miss,” she continues, and they miss things that seem obvious to me. We are learning together how to navigate the digital terrain and how to make sense of what is happening.”
The main purpose of The Storebox is to gather and collect information. Websites, Facebook groups, Twitter feeds, Instagram accounts, video podcasts, you name it: If a Christian leader, church, or organization is doing something interesting in digital space, it may end up in The Storebox.
Undergraduate students enrolled in Reklis’s “Religion, Theology, and New Media” course every year are responsible for researching case studies, uploading data to the website, curating it into collections and working in teams to create digital exhibits.
“The exhibits are where interpretation and analysis come in,” explains Reklis. “We present the case studies as straightforwardly as possible – here is the info, make of it what you will. But the exhibits are the end result of the undergraduate students reflecting on a more macro level about what we are discovering together. The process is democratic and open source: We brainstorm ideas together, debate them and vote for them and then students work in groups to pull case studies from across the site into the themes we chose together.”
The Storebox’s first exhibits highlight
Every academic year a new group of students will work on The Storebox, adding new case studies and creating new exhibits. “I look forward to seeing where each cohort will take the project. There is a unique ecology to every classroom that helps drive the questions and themes we will explore.” Suggest a Case Study for The Storebox
We are always looking for new case studies! If you know about a Christian community, institution, or individual engaged in a digital experiment – or you are engaged in one yourself – and you’d like to see it included in The Storebox, please contact us
. We will respond to all inquiries and we would love to grow the reach of The Storebox so that it can map more thoroughly the range of experiments unfolding in digital space.