LCS is a grassroots organization, so when we are invited into new community, we start with listening and learning about their culture. With community leaders, we discuss their needs and cultural concerns, explain how we might help and work out together how that might fit in the local context. Local team leaders are appointed to control activities, evaluate progress and be our eyes and ears on the ground. We train local representatives—often teachers—to train younger students in the art of respectful story collection, quality image and audio capture and in the systematic use of digital media and the Internet.
Whilst stories are being collected, LCS representatives interface with local community and radio or media directors, drawing attention and support to the project and jointly assessing progress. This opens doors for the presenting the finished, edited stories and images, such as through successful multimedia exhibitions and radio programs, as well as blogs and websites- all with the support of the local communities. The result has been that the community members themselves have become very enthusiastic of this celebration of their own culture. This sense of ownership of the project and mission has carried over into subsequent story collecting zones or new story genres. Additionally, the populations not only have been exposed to the stories of their own heritage, but have started on a road of appropriate digital empowerment. They are, discovering ways to communicate with other members of their community and language group who may live hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.
LCS has established a technological and cultural model that has been tried and tested in different communities in different corners of the globe. Our methods are flexible, and have proven successful in two widely different minority oral cultures with differing historical, religious, geographic, political and lifestyle contexts. The people of the communities themselves decide on the specific activities and story genres that they hold as important, and how cultural impact should be measured. It is their testimonials of success that encourage us. We therefore feel our work has a general application to the re-vitalization of other threatened minority cultures. For example, we are encouraged by the great receptiveness and enthusiasm from communities during visits to Southern Ethiopia and First Nations Bands in British Columbia. The LCS vision and mission are unique and successful. We believe that our approach is both scalable, customizable and replicable.