As teachers and researchers of communication, we understand that different media channels resonate with audiences in different ways, to inspire, motivate, train, and provide resources to enable people to take action. Film has a particular ability to “make real” stories and emotions connected to social issues that scholarly publications and presentations might not. At the same time, social media and websites can “package” these stories and emotions in ways that a traditional documentary film, usually upwards of 30 minutes, often cannot do. This is why the Detroit Water Stories project opted for a “webisode model” to supplement the various scholarly and community-facing products that we are also co-producing with our partners and research participants.

Teaser for Detroit Water Stories project Webisode Series

Over the next few months, this page (and our accompanying YouTube channel) will host up to 10 webisodes that highlight, dissect and convey different aspects of the complex and resilient stories of Detroit’s water affordability crisis. Webisodes currently under production include:

  • “Understanding how we got here”: Historical and legal reasons behind the high cost of water in Detroit, from the 1950s through 2014 (Bankruptcy)
  • “Assistance is not affordability”: Detroit’s water affordability crisis and mass water shutoffs, 2014-2020
  • “Youth leaders of Detroit’s water affordability crisis”
  • “Standing on the shoulders of giants”: The legacy and impact of Mama Lila Cabbil (1944-2019)
  • “Lending a hand”: Grassroots organizing for water deliveries and bill payments
  • “Preaching beyond the choir”: Countering misinformation and disinformation

Please contact us if you would like to contribute to the webisodes in any way. All footage and audiovisual elements have either been purchased or voluntarily contributed by participants/owners (with due citation of their contributions). We are grateful to all our community partners, oral history participants, and others who have helped us in this effort.