When Dave Isay founded StoryCorps in 2003, he hoped to create a global archive of what he calls “the wisdom of humanity by empowering people to record face-to-face conversations that could be preserved and passed down from generation to generation. His hope, Isay says, was to to help create a world where welisten closely to each and recognize the beauty, grace and poetry in thelives and stories we find all around.” Twelve years later over 100,000 people have participated, interviewing family, friends and acquaintances alike using the non-profit’s StoryBooths, traveling MobileBooths and door-to-door recording services.
Last November TED recognized Isay’s incredible success by awarding him the 2015 TED Prize, which grants $1 million in funding to help the winner conceive and launch a project with potential to help spark global change. Today, 17 March 2015, Isay took to the esteemed TED stage in Vancouver to announce that he has leveraged this extraordinary opportunity to launch the StoryCorps app, which will put the power to preserve oral history into the hands of whoever owns a smartphone. The StoryCorps app fully facilitates the interview experience with easy-to-use tools that help people prepare questions, record high-quality audio from their devices and upload their conversations to an archive at the Library of Congress, where they can be listened to by other app users.
It’s an extraordinary leap for StoryCorps, who has always acted under the belief that asking others to share their voice empowers all; or as Isay remarks, the act of honoring a loved oneor a strangerin this way can help us recognize all that we share in common as human beings andremind us that every life matters equally and infinitely.
Lead image by Josh Rubin, screenshots courtesy of TED