The Center for Scholars & Storytellers (CSS) bridges the siloed worlds of research and media to proactively impact narratives for and about youth. Housed in UCLA’s Psychology Department, CSS works with academic and industry fellows, students and 50+ global collaborators. Our work is often featured in mainstream press (New York Times, USA Today, Associated Press) and entertainment industry trades. CSS frequently collaborates with industry giants like Disney, YouTube Kids and Warner Media. In August 2021, founder Dr. Yalda Uhls’ expertise was recognized by her field as she spoke on the main stage for the American Psychological Association. Two months later, Dr. Uhls and CSS hosted the inaugural Scholars & Storytellers Summit, fostering deep discussions of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in adolescent media at an invite-only event with 160 attendees from the entertainment industry, academia and LA-based youth organizations.
Drawing from the insights from our work, and learnings from the Summit, our proposal is to create a web-based hub with tools for storytellers (tip sheets, articles, resources) around 3 character virtues: curiosity, gratitude and humility. These 3 virtues were specifically chosen based on their intersectional opportunities with storytelling and DEI values.
The toolkit will be a user-friendly resource for content creators whose work includes storyline or characters that impact adolescents (youth ages 10-24). To build the hub, we will consult with subject matter experts and cull academic literature, and then apply our translational expertise to create user-friendly materials. The resulting resources will be widely publicized through our extensive network. Our goal is to create a practice with content creators to place character virtues front and center, in partnership with researchers and experts, as they create content for young people. Our multi-faceted approach includes social videos, podcasts, livestreams and workshops.