When Twitter wanted to model for the world healthy conversations, they hired us to host 20,000 conversations across 40 cities over 10 days. This was Twitter’s largest consumer-facing experiential marketing campaign to date. Their Head of Global Brand Strategy Tweeted, “This is really the most meaningful work I’ve seen at Twitter ever. So inspiring and so moving.” Twitter reported that this activation had the highest “joy” sentiment index on Twitter of any activation they’d ever done.
Andover Public Schools brings the Inflatable_portal to different schools within the district, allowing for students of all ages to connect to portal sites around the world. Students develop familiarity and understanding of communities from Erbil, Iraq to Kigali, Rwanda, and engage directly with people they would never otherwise encounter. Teachers use the portal to enhance and globalize education with a curriculum that explores:
Shared_Studios placed a Portal at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for connections between museum-goers and displaced communities in Erbil, Iraq; Amman, Jordan; and Berlin, Germany. The exhibit connected the atrocities of the past and the refugee crises of the present, while humanizing complex geopolitical events that many attendees knew little about. These conversations created an opportunity for those impacted to share stories and dispel stereotypes, and a venue for dialogue between two groups who would otherwise never meet. As the Washington Post reported: “Roughly 1,600 visitors have used the portal since it arrived in December..., and many of those tourists and schoolchildren have filled the exhibit’s guest book with heartfelt reflections. It shows ‘what we wanted to achieve,’ said [Cameron Hudson, director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide], ‘which is the humanization of these conflicts, and for people to walk away with the idea that these aren’t just numbers, that these are individuals, and each individual has a story of survival.’”
Shared_Studios collaborated with Johns Hopkins University to bring together students in Baltimore, Beirut, and Gaza through virtual-exchange “hackathons.” Students form teams through the portal and work as one unit to solve a problem related to public health. The hackathon teaches participants transferable design skills as they tackle challenges facing refugee communities in Beirut and Gaza, emphasizing cultural literacy, teamwork, and design thinking.
Yale University has leveraged Portals for a majorresearch initiative designed to understand community perspectives on policing in the U.S. portals were placed in cities with high rates of incarceration and police-community interaction. The researcher was eliminated from the conversation, and individuals or small groups in different locations around the country were encouraged to step inside the portal and answer a simple prompt: “What do you think of the the police?” These conversations were recorded and anonymized and are being used for a range of research applications, including a forthcoming book. Read more on their research at www.portalspolicingproject.com.
As part of one of our largest community activations, Shared_Studios curated connections from Times Square, New York, for a month at the end of 2017. Those connections opened a window from the Square to sites around the world, creating encounters between New Yorkers and Afghanis, Swedes, Mexicans and more. This innovative feature activated an already iconic location by turning Times Square into a departure point for the world. In visiting Times Square, visitors found themselves in dialogue with distant and different communities.