Koreo Prize Review: Can compelling narratives create real change?

Stories have an incredible power to inform, inspire and challenge us. The entrants of the Koreo Prize did just that. TRVST’s Louis went along to their event to marvel at their creativity and probe a little deeper on why storytelling matters and how turn hype into real action for the SDGs.

This Tuesday’s event was a storytelling event where Koreo hosts a pop-up exhibition to celebrate the inaugural Koreo Prize & young changemakers by showcasing their work. Entrants sought to new perspectives on community resilience, gender equality, social mobility, wellbeing, social housing & food security, which are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

This was genuine engagement with social issues in the hands of some of the people that care most deeply about them. Koreo really does put this at the heart of what they do. Chatting with Ned Younger, Deputy Director at Koreo, he emphasised that

Something I’ve enjoyed about the Prize is that it’s been as much about the process as the outcome, and what you see tonight is the product of lots of discourse and iteration, from the people submitting, the judges, and the team at Koreo.”

It’s clear that behind every great film or presentation are real lives and storytelling.

We checked out the reality beyond the vibe and spoke finalists Anna Merryfield and Shamica Ruddock about their project Homes for Londoners . They were driven to draw attention to the complexity of being a community in the midst of the pressures of London social housing. They say “For us, film is an incredibly powerful medium for humanising political and social issues, and demonstrating the complexity of individual lives. We are both interested in telling the stories of people who have been left out of mainstream discourses and using film to find and show the nuances of everyday life.”

Mr Edwards appears in the Home For Londoners film. Credit: Shamica Ruddock and Anna Merryfield.
Raejuan appears in the Home For Londoners film. Credit: Shamica Ruddock and Anna Merryfield








The film’s audio has showcased these intentions perfectly. They aimed to “use the audio we had acquired to provide a deeper sense of who that person is, as opposed to just using a straight forward interview.

To collect interviews, we visited the individual’s homes and spent time with them having long discussions. We then clipped and layered the audio we collected to try and create a kind of ‘audio portrait’ of those individuals.”

Overall, watching their film was an evocative and powerful experience- I was left wondering where home was to me, and the difference between simply residing and being at ‘home’- whether that ‘home’ is far away, in the past or here and now. You can find their film here, https://vimeo.com/229625978

All this resonated with our ethos here at TRVST. We love connecting like-minded individuals for social good. We loved this event because film and storytelling facilitating the process of coming together around a social issue, especially when it engages people with a social issue that they won’t normally be engaged with, through the media of film that’s familiar and compelling to share.

After this great event, we were left with one burning question. Throughout the night we got an insight into a really wide variety of challenges different strata of society face on a daily basis – some of these issues are hiding in plain sight, and others need a light shining on them. Whilst raising awareness is a vital first step to addressing injustices, we left feeling energised – but also wondering “what’s next?”

How can the same electric energy that was present at the exhibition be harnessed to co-create disruptive solutions to the content on being masterfully displayed?

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