In November 2019, The Peace Studio merged with Images and Voices of Hope, a 20+ year nonprofit working to produce stories that might lead to compassion and empathy across differences. We are proud to carry on their legacy with a deep commitment to the storytelling genre they created: Restorative Narrative.ivoh created the Restorative Narrative genre, a strengths-based approach, to tell the deeper stories of people and communities experiencing adversity—such as a school shooting or natural disaster, or systemic barriers, like poverty—and tapping into their strength and resilience to cope and grow.
Restorative Narrative captures the realities of those working to reclaim or rebuild their lives. It highlights strengths, potential, healing and growth, instead of underscoring what is broken as conventional news does.
Through this type of storytelling, we are seeking to amplify the voices of those who are traditionally unheard. These stories can inspire audiences who see renewed potential for their own lives and communities and change perspectives by showing commonalities across differences. Ultimately by telling more complete and authentic stories, we can increase confidence and trust in storytellers.
ivoh was inspired by Rachel Aviv’s New Yorker story chronicling how the Newtown Bee, a small weekly community newspaper, responded to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Curtiss Clark, the editor, thought about the paper’s purpose during the tragedy’s aftermath and determined “We need to extract ourselves from the sticky amber that freezes things in time” and so highlighted the community’s “acts of benevolence.”
Clark’s thoughtful response caused ivoh to consider how media tends to focus on”what happened” instead of “what’s possible”, which can make it challenging for a community to move on from a devastating experience. Instead, Restorative Narratives can tell and spread those stories of resilience and recovery.