This year, our conversations at the Forum were organized around the theme of The Power of Proximity. In order to address inequality and injustice, we must more deeply understand the current status quo—and how to disrupt it. There is no other way to do this than to engage with and be close to, the people and communities facing deep and persistent biases of all kinds. We heard from community leaders, activists, social entrepreneurs, and innovators who brought a profound appreciation of our shared challenges and who have worked from within and side-by-side with communities to find solutions.
The Skoll World Forum has invited partners and other innovators to host a series of independently-organized Ecosystem Events in creation of Skoll Week, a comprehensive platform for global social and environmental progress. Skoll Week brings additional voices from across sectors and regions to Oxford to participate in rich dialogue, forge connections, and seize on the energy sparked by the Forum. The general public is also invited to join Forum plenary sessions and after-hours activities.
Directed by Artist Lynette Wallworth; Produced by Nicole Newnham
For the Amazonian Yawanawa, ‘medicine’ has the power to transport you in a vision to a world that lies within the world you know. At the request of the Yawanawa and Hushahu- their first woman shaman-artist Lynette Wallworth uses our technology like medicine, in hopes of fulfilling a dream of theirs: to open a portal within us to another way.
AWAVENA is a collaboration between a community and an artist, melding technology and transcendent experience so that a vision can be shared, and a story told of a people ascending from the edge of extinction.
AWAVENA is made at the invitation of, and in intimate collaboration with, the Yawanawa people during a time of both peril and potential for people, their forest, and the connected ecosystems that drive the planet.
The film aims not to provoke empathy for the Yawanawa people but is rather a gift from them, to those who will virtually visit their forest and receive this transmission — a gift that can shift our consciousness, changing the way we perceive the world and the decisions we make.
View AWAVENA in the Courtyard Marquee all week, and learn more about the film, the Yawanawa, and the filmmaker Thursday at 10:00am at The Art of Co-Creation: A Storytelling Model for Impact and Engagement.
Oculus VR For Good
Virtual reality has unlimited potential for gaming and entertainment, but it’s also a powerful way to drive important social change. Filmmakers everywhere see this and are pushing the boundaries of cinematic VR to tell stories with an impact. There’s also a large community of nonprofit organizations eager to embrace VR as a tool to raise awareness for causes in need of a voice. The Oculus team is excited to bring their latest innovations and storytelling achievements to the Forum. All week in the Courtyard Marquee, delegates can view VR films from the Oculus VR for Good program, which helps nonprofits and rising filmmakers bring a variety of social missions to life.
On Thursday at 1:30pm at Virtual Reality: Closing the Empathy Gap?, delegates can participate in a conversation including filmmaker Lindsay Branham and International Justice Mission founder, Gary Haugen, who will speak about their new virtual reality film, The Hidden, premiering at Tribeca Film Festival in late April.
In times of uncertainty, art is more than beauty. It is both a weapon and a shield in the battle for our identity, our dignity, and our safety. Art has the power to wake people up and serve as a catalyst for meaningful change. It is a compass in turbulent times, pointing the way to the future we want to live in.
Amplifier’s goal is to flip artists into activists and observers into participants. They invest in artists as social change agents—cultural creatives that embed activism in their practice to bring civic engagement into their artmaking. Their projects build on the foundation of free and open source art and the potentials when real-life art interventions and digital technology merge.
Amplifier aims to build bridges not walls, believing strongly in the innovative power of collaborations between nonprofits on the frontlines and the journalists, artists, and storytellers that most effectively move their messages through the world. All Amplifier art is free and open source. Become an amplifier, and help us move this art and these messages through the world. Visit their installation in the main lobby to talk with Amplifier about building a movement. Join other Forum attendees and share your manifesto about the power of proximity in your work in our video booth.
New Dimensions in Testimony
New Dimensions in Testimony revolutionizes the concept of oral history. Each specially recorded interview enables viewers to ask questions of the survivor about their life experiences and hear responses in real-time, lifelike conversation.
So far, 16 survivors —15 from the Holocaust and one from the 1937 Nanjing Massacre —have been interviewed for the project. Each survivor selected to participate has also given his or her testimony to the Institute for Visual History and Education’s Visual History Archive, which contains 55,000 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. But NDT is a new kind of initiative. The survivors were interviewed surrounded by cameras arranged in a ring to capture a three-dimensional recording of them telling their story in a new way, by answering questions that people are most likely to ask. Advanced language processing software and newly developed display techniques enable the interactive installation to be placed in museums, national monuments, or other locations, with emergent applications for mobile devices.