Mary Simons + Conversations From the Open Road 

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Conversations From the Open Road is an immersion journalism program for Vermont high school and college students. Our program spans nearly a year, and begins with a 2-week road trip to a front line community who are innovating and enacting inspiring responses to a particular issue. We— a crew of 6 students, a videographer and director—listen to those people directly impacted and learn from as many people as possible, seeking complexity and deep context. We gather audio and video footage, and each student ultimately crafts a short journalistic video expressing a thread of the whole story. Together this collection is shown to schools, festivals and community dialogues throughout the following year. In this way, students are injected into the collective conversation about potential solutions and to raise awareness for a more compassionate humanity in Vermont.

Tiny Houses, Wedging Open the Conversation About Housing and Community
with Mary Simons and youth journalists of Conversations From the Open Road, Ingrid Pixley, Stephen Marshall, and Mary Chapman
Community Vision Stage, 12:00pm

Tiny Houses are not the end-all-be-all answer to housing, however, tiny houses do wedge open conversations around expanding what we need to do to meet our communities’ growing housing needs. This panel will share personal experiences and efforts in their own communities and those they have visited.

Tiny House Villages Across the Country
with Mary Simons and the youth of Conversations from the Open Road
Story Stage, 4:00pm

Six Vermont high school students drove and took Amtrak across the country in order to see first-hand the many inspiring tiny house villages that are intentionally designed to create homes for people who struggle with housing security. We listened and learned from people now residing in the beautiful homes and also those people who made this happen in their communities.

We are excited to share a bit of what we experienced. We will be showing our journalistic video shorts about this project in January at community dialogues around Vermont.

—Celia Culcleasure, Illia Dennison, Kai Gilbert, Janessa Horgan, Abijah Palmer-Guest, Finn Rooney, and Tikko Freilich and Mary Simons

Erin Maile O'Keefe