is Beyond the Surface's participatory transmedia storytelling movement.
Storytelling is an innate human ability to share information in order to connect with others. Neuroscientists have determined that listening to a compelling story about an experience stimulates the same regions of our brains as having the actual experience ourselves.
Partnering with local schools in small-scale fishing (SSF) communities, Coast 2 Coast enables rural students to explore their ancient oceans & ancestral villages as resilient researchers and skilled communicators, using transmedia tools, community-based participatory research approaches, and impact storytelling techniques to illustrate their SSF’s importance for ocean-human health and sustainable futures. Our transdisciplinary team engages local youth as skilled science communicators through photography, photojournalism, comic, stop-motion animation, street art, murals, filmmaking and novel “edutainment” weeklong workshops, 6-month programs, and touring festivals that foster digital literacy, geospatial knowledge, entrepreneurship, and awareness around the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), the first international instrument to protect artisanal fisheries.
Guided by the SSF Guidelines, local students identify their fishing villages’ strengths, investigate changes, daylight challenges, and brainstorm potential solutions. Participants co-create their own stories rooted in traditional knowledge, fortified by science, and expressed through students’ imaginations that highlight their ocean and community as a marine social-ecological system. Through partnerships, we work to implement these youth-driven, community-based solutions for healthy seas and SSF communities
Modern technology makes storytelling easier than ever. However, a massive digital divide separates wealthy and lower-income households. As our planet experiences dramatic social and environmental challenges, it is communities living along the coastlines where livelihoods are most affected by climate change and environmental degradation due to rising sea levels, plastic pollution, and overfishing. These villages face a twofold problem: lack of capacity to have their perspectives heard and barriers to receiving information on potential drivers of and adaptation to change.
Through our media and visual arts workshops, local youth from small-scale fishing villages develop key communication skills through the power of play their own creativity. We work together with local partners and schools to provide a safe space for participants to observe and explore their lives, villages, and natural environments from behind the lens and new vantage points. Our goal is to engage local youth in a playful way that genuinely fosters self-trust, cultural values, and marine stewardship for their coastal communities' sustainable futures.
We believe in the power of stories as a bridge to reach people and emotionally connect. Beyond the facts, we provide a pathway for the faces, names, and characters who depend on the ocean the most for their survival to share their side of the story before it's too late.