CMA Field Trip: The Future of Storytelling Festival

This month CMA took a field trip to the The Future of Storytelling Festival. The outing was led by CMA’s President LaToye Adams at Snug Harbor on Staten Island.


FOST University was offering a lot to the visitors including exhibits, panel discussions and interactive games. There were over a hundred exhibits throughout the Snug Harbor campus, most clustered together inside long tent structures so guests could see the products and demonstrations on computer and TV screens. A little further out the exhibits had their own larger tents, like the Dryads interactive installation, using large flat panel wooden slabs as speaker to produce a call-and-response music rendition by touching or moving the speakers.


As a person who works in the book publishing industry, I was really excited about some of the augmented reality possibilities displayed in the bookstore using a printed book and one’s smart phone or tablet. Given that so many of the exhibits were for virtual or augmented reality demonstrations, systems, and products, I found it encouraging that some of the technology on display paved the way for new pathways into a love for reading and stories. Illustrations can come to life and stories become interactive within these new storytelling “guidelines”.


Due to the commute, I wasn’t on Snug Harbor for long, but I did get a chance to sit in on the panel “When Truth Becomes Fiction and Fiction Becomes Truth” (which everyone was calling “the fake news” panel).  During this fascinating discussion between moderator Georgia Francis King and panelists Jonathan Albright, Adam Mordecai, and Molly DeWolfe Swenson, the audience was reminded of many of the ways fake, biased, and inaccurate sources/stories/sites get attention and are spread as if they are fact. These highly qualified and well-educated panelists talked about how their jobs or companies allow them to help fight the spread of fake news, but also called out the big companies like Facebook and Google, and left the audience asking if it’s their responsibility, with all the power they have, to more carefully vet the sources of the articles and stories their algorithms spread.


The Future of Storytelling Festival was a three-day, full weekend event, and I hardly saw a quarter of all the things FOST had to offer, including more panels and discussions and interactive games, not to mention testing some of the virtual reality exhibits they hosted.

For more about The Future of Storytelling, check out here.