In order to make informed decisions, governments, academics, and the general public must have access to information that connects local matters to the global system it resides within. Circle of Blue is a collective of journalists who provide that outlet by offering comprehensive and vital coverage of the world water crisis, specifically the intersections among water, energy and food. However, a broader approach to storytelling might reach a larger, more diverse audience. To explore that notion, I am creating a transmedia story titled From Region V: 2030. Transmedia storytelling distributes narrative across different media platforms, which provides multiple access points for a diverse audience. Through transmedia storytelling, I will provide more access points to Circle of Blue content. Additionally, this project will provide outlets for audience members to take action.The goals for this project are twofold:
1) to use a narrative to raise awareness of the global water crisis and
2) to encourage social change.
Set in Muncie, Indiana, the narrative will focus on the everyday lives of characters living with a catastrophic water crisis in the year 2030. The narrative projects the water crisis as it stands today into a timeline in which nothing has been done to combat critical issues, such as the push for ecological sustainability in Oakland, California or the political and social opposition that has forced mining companies to focus on their environmental impact. The storyworld for this narrative will be rooted in hard science, revealing a realistic depiction of a bleak, but preventable future. The story is intentionally set in Muncie because the city does not experience any overt water source or quality issues. However, everyone is part of the same global water system, and the goal for this narrative is to connect audience members with that global system and the issues that surround it.
From Region V: 2030 will be told across three platforms:
- a serialized online graphic novel that will be distributed through a project website;
- a series of essays that will be delivered online; and
- in-world zines that will be distributed throughout Muncie and Indianapolis.
Zines are small, self-published magazines that emerged in the punk subculture in the 1970s. The graphic novel will be the main narrative platform, and the in-world zines will be used to explore the larger society of the storyworld. The essays will be written by myself, occurring in today’s society. The purpose of these essays is to discuss the themes of the graphic novel, connecting the audience more directly with the water crisis as it stands today.
Every part of this narrative will connect directly to a series of “tentpoles,” which are the central themes of a transmedia storyline. The tentpoles for this storyworld will come directly from Circle of Blue content, specifically focused on the intersections of water and energy, climate, food, policy and water quality, as outlined on the Circle of Blue website. Every story fragment of From Region V: 2030 will be informed by, and connect directly to Circle of Blue content.