The Disability Rights Storytellers Fellowship managed by Rooted in Rights and AAPD provides the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to learn and apply skills in digital media storytelling, and to connect with media professionals to prepare participants for advanced careers in media production, journalism, online advocacy, or digital design. The project combines hands-on training in cutting-edge technologies with a strong foundation in developing each individual’s voice and using story-driven videos in advocacy.
Upon admission to the program, Rooted in Rights will send a pre-tested, pre-assembled video production kit to the Fellows. The fellowship kicks off with orientation sessions in which Rooted in Rights creative professionals and AAPD staff lead workshops on the history of disability justice, current policy issues, and the media’s role in the disability rights movement as well as technical workshops focused on video technique, script writing, digital storytelling, basic camera composition, and video editing.
The Fellows will begin using their kit and gain valuable hands-on experience right away. During the 6-month fellowship period, Fellows are expected to write and film two 3-4 minute videos. At every step in the process, the Fellows are a part of the Rooted in Rights production team – receiving feedback and guidance while being challenged creatively to make the videos as engaging as possible while also meeting the standards for quality and universal accessibility that all of our video projects demand. The Fellows will have the opportunity to ask questions and Rooted in Rights professionals will be available for one-on-one mentoring. At the beginning of the fellowship, Rooted in Rights will work with the Fellows to arrange a schedule for choosing video topics, developing a production plan, filming, and editing to ensure timely completion of both videos.
In addition to hands-on workshops, the Fellows will participate in video chats and Q&As with media professionals, including people with disabilities, to receive advice on how to break into the media industry. AAPD will also work to connect each Fellow to internships and employment opportunities. Because work in the Storytellers Fellowship is not a full-time commitment and can be completed from anywhere, the Fellows would have the opportunity to begin work or internships simultaneously.