Guidelines for Storytellers

Welcome to the Atlas of the Civic Imagination. Here you will find advice for creating your stories as well as guidelines for publishing.

Note that publishing accounts are provided to storytellers (13+) through workshop coordinators/facilitators. You can also provide a storytelling account for yourself if you are a coordinator/facilitator. For participants who are under 18, workshop facilitators can be community coordinators, organizers, artists, media makers, librarians, or educators who create group accounts for their storyteller participants. If you are a storyteller who is 18+, you can contribute by setting up a coordinator/facilitator account first and a storyteller account second. If you are under 18 years old, want to participate as a storyteller, but have come here unaffiliated to an 18+ facilitator or participating site/organization, email us through the Civic Imagination Project query page.

Sign Up and Log In

When you are ready to work on your response, you must first Sign Up with the code you receive from your registered workshop coordinator/facilitator. Once you Sign Up you can then come back and Log In when needed.

Your response will be created upon logging in. Click on Edit Response to start to work on it. You can Save/Leave as Draft as you go.

If you have more than one response, click the Add Your Response button in the right-hand navigation to start a second one.

Getting Started

The Atlas of the Civic Imagination was created to provide individuals, groups and communities with an opportunity to share reflections, stories and accounts that connect the imagination and civics.  We invite you to add your voice and your stories to the ever growing collection. Your workshop facilitator will provide you with a Group participation code that will allow you to upload your story. If you are 18+, you can also create a coordinator/facilitator account.

The reflections and stories can be in any format - videos, sketches, audio, writing. Feel free to use any media!

You may begin to draft your response using any tools you would like (Google Docs, iMovie, etc.). When you are ready to work within the Atlas of the Civic Imagination publishing site, you must first Register and then Log In with a code provided by a registered 18+ workshop facilitator.

Composing and Editing

Individual or groups of storytellers are welcome to compose their responses using text, images, sound, and video. The site also supports embedded video and most things in an iframe, and you can upload a range of multimedia within each post. Each post begins with a Title and a Summary (280 character maximum). The summary will show up on the map and homepage along with any images you include. Upon publishing, Tags are required. Tags that are already in the system will display as you type and can choose from those, or create your own. Your Display Name is also required and your first name and last initial will be the default. Response fields you add can be reordered by dragging/dropping so that your response can appear in the order you decide.

Whether you are working on a piece of writing and/or composing with multimedia, it helps to work through a process of feedback, revision, and editing. Writing Our Future: American Creed allows you to save a draft before submitting your piece for publishing. You can even remove a published response, re-edit and then re-publish a piece if you want to make changes after publishing.

Your published post will be read by a diverse audience. Citing sources and providing links to relevant materials will help your audience learn more. Attributing the sources of any graphics, music, or other digital assets that you use honors the creative work of others while helping your readers learn about your sources.

Publishing and Sharing

Once your piece is finished, you will follow 4 steps to publish it.

  1. Click the Submit for Review button. You will be asked, “Ready to publish your response?”
  2. If so, select Tags for your response. Next, enter your public Display Name.
  3. Click Submit for Review.
  4. Your response will be submitted to your registered coordinator/facilitator who will do a final review and then post your responses to the public map and website.

We encourage you to share your writing beyond the Atlas of the Civic Imagination and social media share links are included on the website to make it easy for you to do so. As you prepare to publish and share, give some thought to the privacy considerations of peers and others in your community. See our Privacy Policy.

Finally, workshop facilitators should review our Terms of Use. In order to provide writers with a positive and inclusive platform, violations such as hate speech will not be tolerated and will be removed by administrators. Community members and readers should report problems or concerns to administrators by flagging content on the site using the Report a Problem feature or emailing us through the Civic Imagination Project query page.

Go to the Atlas of the Civic Imagination Participate page to get started.

The Atlas of the Civic Imagination is part of a partnership between the National Writing Project and the Civic Imagination Project.

We are committed to supporting people’s creative civic participation by providing a safe and supportive environment for imagination, writing, media creation, sharing, and publishing. Through its affiliation with the National Writing Project, the Atlas is COPPA compliant and facilitator-managed.