2017-18 Visiting Fellow Children’s media producer Brett Pierce
Brett is the founder and Executive Director of Meridian Stories, a digital storytelling nonprofit for middle and high schoolers, now in its sixth year. Brett is currently the Co-Executive Producer of a radio drama, Sawa Shabab (Together Youth), targeting youth in South Sudan and recently completed four years as Co-Executive Producer of a ground-breaking TV series for Iraqi teens called Salam Shabab (Peace, Youth). Both programs are sponsored by the US Institute of Peace and Peace Tech Labs. He has worked extensively with Sesame Workshop in New York.
During his first visit to campus in February, Brett made a major presentation Women in South Sudan: Creating the Foundations of Power. Moderated by Dr. Katharine Heintz from the Communication Department, the discussion focused on the challenges—political, cultural, and technical—of producing media in a war-torn emerging state. Comments were provided by Communications faculty Sreela Sarkar and Tricia Creason-Valencia. His residency also included a collaboration with middle school students from St. Clare School in Santa Clara. With Brett’s guidance the students are creating videos to be presented at a community event in April and entered in a national competition. The February residency also included several classroom visits and discussions with faculty on storytelling and the challenges of producing media in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Brett Pierce concluded his residency with a variety of class visits, consultations with faculty, and a video project with middle school students from St. Clare's school. The videos, produced with students from Katharine Heinz's Communication class, were screened at a gala bringing together the Santa Clara and St. Clare's communities.