Humans of St. Louis co-founder, WashU MSW/MPH ‘16 grad, and documentary photographer, Lindy Drew, will present how and why HOSTL began and the evolution of the social media site from an artistic side project to a nonprofit with a team of 25 contributors. She’ll share the intricate details of approaching and interviewing a stranger on the streets of St. Louis, how collaborations with other companies have led to highlighting larger societal issues, and what crafting original and local content in the HOSTL style has meant for our city. She’ll talk about the art of storytelling in St. Louis, and how social work, public health, and photography play crucial roles in the body of work. Finally, through examples of photostories shared online and in print, she’ll teach how to approach and invite people to tell their stories, how to ask better questions, and how to be a better listener.
Students will better understand the importance of storytelling, especially through the Humans of movement. They’ll learn to ask open-ended questions and dig deeper in conversations with relevant follow up questions. They’ll exercise their listening skills and learn how to garner trust from a natural sense of curiosity while getting to know other people quickly. They can use the work to better inform their own educational and professional trajectories. And they’ll produce a greater appreciation of the art of storytelling by practicing themselves 1:1 or in small groups to experience what it’s like being the interviewer and then the interviewee.
Lindy Drew After studying at the University of Arizona and the International Center of Photography, Lindy traveled for three years in Latin America to share people’s stories in the spirit of documentary photography. Upon returning to the U.S., she worked with Casa de Sueños in Phoenix to help care for unaccompanied undocumented minors and reunify them with their family in the states. Lindy graduated in May 2016 from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis with a Masters of Social Work and Public Health. During her education, she co-founded Humans of St. Louis to have a creative break from classes while getting to better know St. Louis from meeting people on the street. By engaging strangers in insightful personal interviews, the HOSTL team and her produce visual stories that represent part of the larger community conversations and regional development taking place in St. Louis. Lindy produces new stories for HOSTL’s online presence, presents at institutions about the art of storytelling, and manages the book project’s local creative content team. www.lindydrew.com
Next Steps Humans of St. Louis uses a social work, public health, and documentary photography lens for capturing interviews and pictures. The storytelling can also be beneficial for those interested in journalism, marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, business, DEI, and equity work. With our upcoming book, those in fundraising, art, design, and publishing may also find HOSTL of interest. While Humans of St. Louis has the potential to reach and appeal to any number of people all around the world, the primary target market for Humans of St. Louis is individuals who live in Missouri or have a connection to the State and/or the City of St. Louis. Stories specifically highlight areas of economic growth, philanthropy, and local small businesses. They also address race, racial equity, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, community building, family, youth, aging, health, disease, education, discrimination, homelessness, poverty, cultural awareness, and more.
Resources for Continued Investigations Humans of St. Louis: Highlights Humans of New York: The Series Other Humans of site’s to follow: Dublin, Amsterdam, Newtown, Minneapolis, Bombay Instagram photo pages to follow: @StLouisGram, @PhotoFloodSTL, @StlFromAbove, @found.stlouis, @StickyNotesToSelfProject