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The Transforming Narratives Of Gun Violence Initiative (TNGVI) is a three-year partnership between Emerson College’s Engagement Lab, the Center for Gun Violence Prevention at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. This Boston-based collaboration is exploring narrative interventions to interrupt the crisis of gun violence through partnered studios in media, arts and communication. Multi-disciplinary studio classes at Emerson College work alongside community partners to understand the roots and impacts of gun violence narratives in media and co-create interventions. Through a collaborative design approach, this initiative centers those most impacted by the effects of gun violence, in the exploration and creation of narrative interventions to restore urgency, dignity, and humanity to this pervasive issue.
In 2019 the CDC released a report calling attention to gun violence as a pervasive public health crisis, growing steadily over the last two decades. The report shows that nearly every person who lives in America is impacted by gun violence. Almost half (44%) of Americans today know someone who has been shot by a gun and nearly every American will know someone who has been shot during their lifetime1.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, with 2020 and 2021 being the deadliest years in decades2.
How do we understand the experience and impact of gun violence on individuals, families, and communities? What are the narratives that we consume and who is controlling these narratives? Who are the victims, who are the perpetrators, and what are their stories? Are their stories told with dignity and with the urgency due a public health crisis? Or is gun violence so prevalent that it has become a normalized part of the American experience?