Environmental Storytelling: Co-Creation within the Artistic Process
A conversation with David Borish about his documentary, Herd.
Pictured: David Borish (Left) and Inez Shiwak (Right) during an interview.
Co-Creation is one of the most valuable aspects of the climate movement, especially within youth environmental activism. Collaboration across communities is driving the fight against climate change and is crucial on all levels whether local, federal, or international. At the Harvard CChange Youth Summit, our communications, press, and media focus group has learned about how co-creation can be utilized to share messages and stories. To learn more about co-creation in the climate movement, specifically within the artistic process, I interviewed an environmental storyteller by the name of David Borish. David is the Director/Producer of the documentary Herd, a story of people and caribou, as experienced by Inuit from the Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut regions of Labrador who have been living with caribou declines and a total hunting ban since 2013.
How did you use elements of co-creation during the production and interview process?
David Borish: During the interview process, I worked completely with my colleague, Inez Shiwak, who’s an Inuit community researcher and we co-interviewed pretty much everyone together. That was really, really important not only from a process side but it also gave people a sense of comfort knowing that someone from the community was there asking questions. It also helped that you know me as an outsider was asking questions that they might not have thought about, or would answer to a community member.
You touched upon how your team shared drafts of the film with the Inuit communities to receive their feedback on the documentary, could you elaborate more on that feedback and editing process?
David Borish: So the first thing we did after filming was I created a summary video, kind of like a trailer but longer, and it was just me putting out my vision, from my experience, and what I thought the film could look like. That summary video was sent to partners and community members to see ‘how are people feeling about this’ because if they are not aligned with the summary video, then I know we have to do some rethinking. That gave people an idea of what the documentary could look like cinematically and visually, but also for that narrative. So I’d say that that was a really early start and important start, and then it was kind of like the showing on the screen, sending links to draft versions of the film to others.
Check out and learn more about Herd at https://www.inuitvoicesherd.com/home.