Transforming Narratives
of Gun Violence

A Powerful Launch

On December 2, 2021 the Emerson College Engagement Lab launched the Transforming Narratives of Gun Violence initiative alongside our partners, the Center for Gun Violence Prevention at Mass General Hospital and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. The virtual event, which drew over 270 participants, included remarks from our partners, special guests Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and City Councilor Andrea Campbell, and powerful performances by Caleb McCoy and artists from Teen Empowerment Studios (Breezy Bodden and Willington Vuelto). Check out the highlight reel below or view the full recording of the event.
Highlight reel from the December 2nd launch event.
Created by Marly Kaufman, Emerson College.
"This partnership will make Boston the leader in transforming the narrative of gun violence."

-Chaplain Clementina Chery, Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
According to the CDC, half of all adults in the U.S. know someone who has been shot by a gun. And nearly all of us will know someone in our lifetime. Close to 40,000 Americans die each year from firearm-related causes, whether homicide, suicide, or accident. This issue goes beyond politics - it is personal, it is communal, and it is a threat to public health.

Through the Transforming Narratives of Gun Violence initiative, we will explore narrative interventions to the crisis of gun violence as it is experienced locally in Boston and Massachusetts. We will seek to understand the role of stories - what is told, by whom, for whom, and how - and will explore art, media, and design as levers of change. We will center those most directly impacted by gun violence in creating narrative interventions and will amplify the ongoing work of survivors, doctors, advocates, and direct-service providers whose very lives tell a story of hope. 
Over the course of this three-year initiative, we will support over a dozen partnered studio classes at Emerson College, ranging from film and virtual reality, to performing arts and journalism. Through these partnered studios, Emerson students and faculty will work alongside community-based partners to learn about the issue of gun violence as it impacts individuals, families, and communities. Together they will design and create meaningful projects and performances.

Spring 2022 Classes

  • Film Production, Profs. Regge Life and Eric Gordon
  • Performing Solutions: A Dramatic Approach to Gun Violence Prevention, Prof. Dana Edell
Read more about these courses.

If you are interested in engaging with a partnered studio, please email
Visit the Website

Partner Spotlights

Investigators from the MGH Center for Gun Violence Prevention, with partners at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, have been awarded the 2021 Stepping Strong Center Injury Prevention Innovator award to develop a novel avatar/virtual reality-based platform to expand the Center’s gun violence prevention training curriculum. Read more about how this project will contribute to the Center's mission. 
Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month (November 20 - December 20) is a month-long effort to educate the public and policymakers about the impact of murder on families and communities and recognize the diverse contributions of the Survivor’s movement. Check out how the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute has been leading this effort to acknowledge survivors.
Two artists from Teen Empowerment Studios, Breezy Bodden and Willington Vuelto, performed at our Launch Event. Teen Empowerment has been engaging youth in organizing and advocacy for over 25 years. They have done powerful work in gun violence prevention, including the recent production of short film, "Senseless Smoke". "Senseless Smoke," which features a soundtrack by youth artists from TE Studios, explores a myriad of issues specific to violence in Boston centered around education, trauma and mental health.

In the News

Commentary: If we want to end gun violence, we need to change the narratives, Dorchester Reporter

How one college in Boston is helping prevent gun violence, University Business

Engagement Lab Partnership Looks to Change the Story of Gun Violence, Emerson Today

Interview with Jim Braude, GBH News
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