COMMLD 530B: Ethics of Storytelling

Course Description:

Ethics plays a critical role in how we tell stories. What values are behind the story? Who is telling the story, and for whom? What is the intended outcome, and what could the potential impact be? What are the ethics around new media technology like deep fake as we continue to take stories at face value?

Ethics and subjective bias in storytelling can also be complex, and thus they require our attention and reflection in responsible and responsive creative communications. This course will address various storytelling mediums and scenarios where ethics in storytelling are actively at play. Students will engage in critical discourse and assignments to assess values that impact ethical decisions personally and professionally. Assigned media and reading material as well as student sourced case studies will be used in order to ensure diverse and current content. As a conclusion to the class, students will create a final video, audio, web or UX project that engages an ethical challenge.

Instructor: Elliat Graney-Saucke

Elliat Graney-Saucke (she/they) is a white queer femme documentary director/producer, creative sector consultant, industry curator, and educator. While producing media in the US, Germany, Denmark, England, Poland, Serbia, Italy, Spain, Canada, and Israel/Palestine over the span of 20 years, Elliat’s work has focused on marginalized cultural identities. Upon returning from spending the majority of ten years in Berlin, Germany, Elliat served as the first Executive Director of Seattle Documentary Association, organizing industry gatherings involving partnerships with the Wenatchi Tribe and the Washington Film Commission. Seasoned in working with communities and organizational stakeholders internationally, Elliat has produced and curated over 10 culturally specific creative arts festivals and conferences encompassing over 45 nationalities, leading to additional projects like editing the international anthology Innovate Heritage – A Time-Lapse: Contemporary Arts and Heritage in Today’s Society (Springer). Industry and research focus areas include: documentary film industry, storytelling ethics, intangible/tangible and uncomfortable heritage, international diplomacy (UNESCO), creative economy and policy, incarceration, decolonizing the mind, queer/lgbtqai culture and theory, oral history and intergenerational knowledge exchange, and embodied cultural, racial, and geographic equity/justice. Current documentary productions include Boys on the Inside, about three Latinx ‘boys’ who have experienced incarceration in women’s prisons, and Safta, about a holocaust survivor and her close yet complex relationship to her activist granddaughter.