Are you a Creative? A Storyteller?
A Lover of Culture and Our Human Spirit?
Agora is a culture sharing platform that explores the deeply personal ways that people connect through culture.
In ancient Greece, agora meant “the gathering place” and was the center of the athletic, artistic, business, spiritual and political life in the city.
In the spirit of fostering connection and collaboration, Agora is a platform for a diverse cross-section of people from around the world to create and share documentary art about the ways culture enables us to connect.
Agora welcomes your submissions of a video, photo essay, or digital print interview in which you feature someone and document a powerful cultural experience in their life.
"Stories have the power to create social change and inspire community."
~Terry Tempest Williams
Agora is presented by People Are Culture (PAC), which celebrates our unique differences and our shared human condition. We are advocates of curiosity, listening, identification and respect. We believe everyone matters and we each have valuable life lessons to share.
Need for Connection
The root of the word "culture" is the Latin "colere," which means to grow, cultivate and nurture.
Agora seeks to nurture connection.
In today’s global world we are more connected than ever before...and yet, paradoxically, many of us often feel more alone, alienated, different, and less-than.
The human need to feel connected is unmistakably universal - even if we each experience it in a uniquely personal way. As instinctive as it is to want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, there is no one among us who hasn't at one point or another felt disconnected, unheard, and on the outside looking in.
We believe the best way to connect with anyone is to ask questions, to listen, to seek to identify and not compare.
As a way to increase our understanding of each other, Agora is a platform for exploring and sharing with others the situations, circumstances, interactions, and emotions that are part of our daily lives. With documentary art, Agora looks at how we transmit those experiences via day-to-day culture.
"If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive."
Join our community!
By almost any definition, “culture” is a way of life.
Our focus is on making documentary art about ways culture is working in people’s lives. If we can present how people use their culture for richer lives, then perhaps we can help people find ways to navigate their own or other cultures in the most meaningful way.
There are many ways we connect via culture. In Agora, we focus on three:
Culture has been called “super organic” in that the same thing can mean different things to different people. For example, a tree is viewed differently to the botanist who studies it, the old woman who uses it for shade in the late summer afternoon, the farmer who picks its fruit, the motorist who collides with it and the young lovers who carve their initials in its trunk.
Create a piece of documentary art that explores someone’s experience in which two different cultural meanings intersected, and what happened.
By almost any definition, “culture” is a phenomenon that revolves around belonging. We belong to a culture because we share a language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, arts and other tangible and intangible ways of life.
Create a piece of documentary art that explores someone's powerful experience of belonging in their life. Where did it happen? When, why, how, and with whom? How did it feel?
Culture is a form of expression.
Create a piece of documentary art that explores someone’s experience of a particularly powerful cultural expression they witnessed, either within their own or another culture. What happened? Why did it move them? What did they learn?
Everyone Has an Untold Story
Many stories go untold because no one asked. Reach out to someone interesting and explain the Agora project. Ask them to tell you about a meaningful experience in their lives of one of these three ways culture is lived.
Document that conversation either with video, photography/text or in an interview. Go deep. Delve into the where, when, why, and with whom of their experience.
We can’t predict what you’ll hear and learn. But we are pretty sure it will be amazing!
We welcome your submission of a piece of documentary art to Agora. Formats include video shorts; digital print interviews; profiles; and photo essays. Your submission needs to feature someone’s experience of connection via culture, in the context of one of our three themes: Cultural Meaning; Belonging; and Cultural Expression.
We are looking for personal accounts that are thoughtful, authentic and from the heart. Your piece could be funny or poignant, shocking or anything in between...but it needs to be honest, insightful, empathetic and respectful.
We invite you to pitch us on your idea for a documentary art feature. Here's our submission guidelines.
Let Us Help Your Story Be Heard!
We are committed to helping your story be heard. If your piece is accepted for publication, we will promote it widely!
"Stories we live and tell provide coherence and meaning and orient our sense of purpose."
~Sharon Daloz Parks
Be Part of the Agora Culture-Sharing Community
Interested in a cross-cultural collaboration? Join the Agora community! By becoming a part of Agora, you can connect with others interested in documenting the stories of Cultural Connection for purposes of inspiration and collaboration!
The creative process can often be more fun and enriching if it's a collaboration. It's meaningful to partner with like-minded people who care about the same issues and themes you do. And it's also fascinating to see how people from different parts of the world bring different perspectives to a conversation and project. There are always more than one way to look at anything. Standing in someone else's shoes is eye-opening, and can lead to profound awakenings, ideas and accomplishments!
If you've been looking for a way to partner with someone from a different culture on a joint creative endeavor, the Agora Community may be for you!
Look for more on the Agora Community soon!
"We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling."
~Jimmy Neil Smith
Agora Welcomes Partnering with Educators and Life-Long Learners
Are you an educator? Looking for a fresh way to inspire curiosity, empathy and listening skills? Or seeking to help your students apply the hard skills you've taught them and get their work published?
Are you part of a senior community? Angora was founded by a senior. The platform honors the life experiences, perspective and wisdom of elders and offers inter-generational collaborations.
Agora offers an opportunity for learners of all ages to get out of themselves, expand their horizons, and dare to ask questions about someone else's livelihood, life and culture. Producing a piece of art or journalism is the icing on the cake!
Whether you teach high school history or social studies, or lead an M.A. program in journalism, tourism or anthropology, or are part of a senior community seeking a creative platform, we'd love to work with you. Agora is a catalyst for growing self confidence, fostering open-mindedness and creating connections.
Get in Touch!
For more information on participating in Agora or to submit a pitch, contact [email protected]