Violence, Hope and Healing in Los Angeles County: The Storytelling Project was developed and implemented by artist Olga Koumoundouros in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Office of Violence Prevention housed within the Department of Public Health, and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture during her residency as Creative Strategist. The project was designed to humanize the data being collected about violence and to uplift the voices and stories of survivors and those most impacted by violence in its many forms.

Using methods based in oral storytelling traditions, Koumoundouros asked participants to share their experiences with violence, advice they had for others enduring similar experiences, and what they most wanted policy makers to know. She ended each session with a trauma-informed exercise known as the Havening Technique, which helped to ground participants in their current space and time.

 

Violence, Hope and Healing book image

Download and read a digital copy of the book.

 

Koumoundouros added an artistic element that served to contribute to the humanizing qualities of the project–participants were invited to have their portraits taken, in a location of their choosing, by photographer Johnny Pérez.

The recorded stories were transcribed and edited, with each story being shared back with the storyteller in its written form for final approval. A selection of 33 stories, many with accompanying portraits, were then compiled into the book.The book can also be found at LA County Library and other locations.