About the Project

In the midst of COVID-19, socialization and communication among community members have been deeply altered and many modes of engagement have been shut off. Charlotte Listens is an innovative approach to encouraging conversation and community-building with the goal of re-imagining collective narrative sharing. The contactless “storytelling payphone” experience seeks to redefine what community engagement can look in the midst of a pandemic by using a payphone as a form of asynchronous story-sharing. The contactless nature of the “Charlotte Listens” storytelling payphone allows participants to listen to the stories of others in Charlotte, share their own perspectives, and feel community connection, all while remaining safe.

How it Works

The “storytelling payphone” consists of a traditional payphone pedestal without the actual payphone inside. Instead, there is a panel with a QR code that, when scanned, prompts the user to call a designated storytelling phone number. By choosing from a panel of options, participants can listen to 5 different short stories which were recorded by previous participants. With the help of some guided story prompts, participants are then invited to share an anecdote or story of their own. All recordings are screened by the CAL team before being added so that none contain inappropriate or potentially emotionally-triggering content. As new stories are recorded on the payphone voicemail, the menu of story options is updated, so there will be different stories available to listen to from day to day.

Charlotte Listens Team

Charlotte Listens was created and developed by Sara Kate (SK) Baudhuin at the Charlotte Art League.