News, Events, and Food for Thought

Join our 2024-25 Community Roots Cohort

Window Seat seeks cohort members for our 2024-25 Community Roots Oral History Project. Join our 2024-25 cohort as we document and share stories of LGBTQIA2S+ Pride!

June e-news

Our Summer Institute: Oral History in the Classroom and Community will be held on August 16th and 17th at Arbutus Folk School. (By the way, we moved to Arbutus last week!) It is open to all and offers educators 6 clock hours. We have also rescheduled our Community Storytelling Gathering for the last weekend of August. The format will be a bit simpler, but all the important components - food, storytelling, and nature - will be there. We hope you will join us. You can read all about this and other news. Please consider becoming a Friend of Community Storytelling by making a pledge this summer. We have some fun perks as gratitude for your support. Pledges of all sizes make a big difference.

Annual gathering postponed

Annual Gathering rescheduled for August 29th. See event for more info.

May e-news

What's New! May at Window Seat

April e-news

Upcoming events and chances to engage! April Creativity Salon, Growing Together performance, Arts Walk, and more.

Window Seat Invites New Board Members

We are an unconventional group who is trying to do this a bit differently. We're seeking others who are interested in the same. We are especially interested in people who are working in secondary or higher education, history or heritage, or are direct service providers. We are interested in expanding our work to engage with communities outside of Olympia.

2023 Annual Report

Thank you for joining us as we learn and grow by sharing our stories. See our 2023 highlights published!

March e-news

Bravery and Belonging, March Creativity Salon, Community Roots Exhibit, and more!

February e-news

Community Roots exhibit opening and events, Feb Creativity Salon, so many chances to engage!

January e-news

First Creativity Salon, Brave Practice young adult workshop, Community Roots Exhibit Opening save the date, and more!

Community Roots Exhibit Opening and Event Series

Join Window Seat for our Community Roots oral history project exhibit opening and event series.  We'll be hosting our Opening Gathering on February 8 at the Olympia Timberland Library, as well as facilitating "Documenting Ourselves: an oral history workshop for families and communities" on Feb 17 at TLC, "Places Where I Belong: A Playback Theatre Performance with Brave Practice Collective" on Feb 29 at OYAA, and "We Need Space! a Collaborative Zine-Making Workshop" on March 2 back at the Library. The exhibit will be on display through March 11, 2024.

End of year Giving 2023

End-of-Year Giving at Window Seat. Invest in community connectivity.

Creativity Salons

A monthly salon series for storytellers & artists engaging in the creative process. Come learn from and with other artists. Work on a creative project, build skills in your chosen artistic practice, and gain insight from other creatives during your process.

Stories Of Bravery: Playback Theatre Community Workshops

Join Brave Practice Playback Theatre Collective for our 2023-24 season of Playback Theatre improv workshops focused on community-building, leadership, and learning how to use theatre for social change.

December e-news

What's New! December at Window Seat. Creativity Salons, Brave Practice workshop, Community Roots Exhibit, and more.

Give Local 2023

Join us for Give Local 2023 - Nov 6-17.

Window Seat Featured on Lean In, Olympia podcast!

Meg was featured on the Lean In, Olympia podcast by Interfaith Works. Check out the video!

October e-news

What's New! October at Window Seat. Community Roots, Brave Practice, and more!

Community Roots Grows from Fire Recovery

It’s been almost two years since our community rallied to support Window Seat after we lost our space to the devastating fire in downtown Olympia. The outpouring of support, not just for us but for all who inhabited that space, is a testament to the deep value of collective care that our community embodies. ‍Our latest oral history project, Community Roots, has grown during this time of recovery and explores the roots of collective care in our community and its relationship to access to affordable space. It’s a story that is not unique to our community at this moment, but one that ties our collective experiences together across time and space in the United States.

Community Roots Crowdfunding Campaign

We need your help producing a new interactive exhibit, event series, and podcast featuring three historic community organizing efforts in Olympia, Washington!

September e-news

Stories of Bravery with Brave Practice, Olympia Indie Music History Project update, CIELO story from our archive, and more.

August e-news

Illuminate Pride, Brave Practice & TOGETHER!, Stories of Food, and more

Illuminate Pride LGBTQ+ Speaker Panel

What is bringing you queer joy? Come share with us at the community collage station and join us for the keynote panel at noon.

July e-news

Pride tabling, Community Roots updates, and welcoming Diana to the Board!

Thanks for joining us at our annual gathering!

A recap of our 2023 second annual community storytelling fundraiser. Thank you for helping us celebrate where we have come this year, including highlights from Community Roots and Stories of Food, Food as Story, a performance by Brave Practice Playback Theatre Collective, and walk along the Sandy Beach trail at Tolmie State Park.

Community Oral History in the Classroom: A virtual Clock Hour offering for Washington State educators

Are you an educator interested in bringing oral history into your classroom? Join us for this 2-session virtual clock hour offering and gain oral history skills to be able to facilitate a community-based interviewing process and storytelling project in your classroom.

2022 Annual Report

Our 2022 Annual Report is Here!

Acting + Listening: Improvisational Theatre Workshop Series for young people

Have you heard? ASHHO and Window Seat Media are co-producing an interactive applied theatre workshop series in 2023! If you are between the ages of 14-24, come rehearse and co-perform with Brave Practice Playback Theatre collective on the 3rd Sundays on the month. We'll meet at ASHHO Cultural Community Center January - May 2023 to connect and express ourselves through theater and storytelling.

Community Roots: Join our 2023 Cohort!

Community Roots is a community oral history project that features elders in Washington’s South Sound who are artists, innovators, and change-makers. Join an upcoming cohort to help gather and share stories for the project in 2023!

Stories of food, food as story

Join us this winter for Stories of food, food as story: a workshop series exploring our history and cultural foodways. Revisit the past with curiosity, humility, care, and food!

Community Roots Event Series, September 2022

Join us September 9th through 11th for a series of artist talks, workshops, and performances! Celebrate our community’s rich arts, activism, and organizing traditions, share powerful stories and ideas, and ask what is possible.

June 26 Community Storytelling Circle - Finding Your Rainbow with Meli Bless

Join us for our June Community Storytelling Circle featuring Meli Bless (she/her). This event honors Pride Month and the ongoing contributions of LGBTQIA+ individuals in our community every day. We will gather to listen to Meli’s story, and move into breakout rooms to reflect on stories of finding rainbows in our own lives.

2022 Annual Community Storytelling Gathering & Fundraiser

Join us for our Community Storytelling Gathering and Fundraiser at Tolmie State Park on July 9th. It's such a beautiful location, and we're excited to launch what we hope will be an annual tradition that brings people together. We can only accommodate 50 people, so register now to save your spot!

May Community Storytelling Circle Building Bridges with Lin Crowley

Join us May 24 for our Community Storytelling Circle featuring 梁霖Lin Crowley (she/her), local educator, community-builder, Chinese-American, and first-generation immigrant. Lin will share a bit of her personal background and life’s work building bridges in our community. We will gather to listen to Lin’s story, and move into breakout rooms to reflect on moments of building bridges in our own lives. This event honors Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, as well as the ongoing contributions of Asian Pacific Americans in our community every day.

April Community Storytelling Circle: Writing to the other side of healing with Poet Laureate Ashly McBunch

Join us April 24 for an event in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Poetry Month with Olympia Poet Laureate Ashly McBunch (they/them). Ashly will read their poem Atomic 22 and guide a community conversation on consent and writing to heal. We will gather in a safe community space to listen and share stories.

Window Seat Media Awarded Grant from the American Historical Association

Window Seat Media is one of fifty grant recipients nation-wide. Funding will support a series of workshops and events this spring, summer and fall in conjunction with Window Seat’s community oral history project, "The Third Thirty: Honoring and Amplifying the Voices of South Sound Elders".

March Community Storytelling Circle: Storytelling with Harvest Moon, Quinault Storyteller

For "Keep Your Kwaylons Open," storytelling with Harvest Moon, we will listen to Harvest sing and share her original story of How Otter Brought the Water. Harvest will share a bit about where the story came from and her experience as an Indigenous Woman Storyteller. We will then reflect and share our own stories in breakout rooms inspired by the question: When was a time in your life when you “kept your kwaylons/ears open,” or not? Perhaps it's a moment where you acted or reacted like one of the characters in Harvest’s story.

February Community Storytelling Circle: An interview with Dr. Thelma Jackson

Join us virtually on February 27 @ 2pm to honor Black History Month: "Activating Grace," An interview with Dr. Thelma Jackson in conversation with Ava McGee.

2021 Annual Report

Our 2021 Annual Report is Here!

Brave Practice at ASHHO for Walk with Erin on February 5

Window Seat Media and ASHHO Cultural Community and Job Training Center are co-producing a storytelling event directly following the monthly Walk with Erin Jones.

Community testimonials - Debe Edden

Debe was one of our featured storytellers for the Third Thirty project and has facilitated many of our community story circles and events. She speaks to the value of how Window Seat Media brings the community together to share stories.

Community testimonials - Ava McGee

Ava went through our community oral history training for the Third Thirty project and has conducted multiple interviews for the project. She is also a talented facilitator for many of our community story circles and events.

Community testimonials - Harvest Moon

Harvest was a featured storyteller in The Third Thirty oral history project, honoring and amplifying the voices of our elders. To greet the community, Harvest writes: “Weaving the Dream, Pan Silpaulos, Quinault meaning, ‘Time of Autumn.’ As Mother Earth brings change of seasons to shed their colorful leaves. The animals shed their coats for a warmer winter coat. Rivers and streams fill with rage as the nights of rain to cleanse and wash away, to bring forth a new transformation.”

Community testimonials - Lonnie Locke

Lonnie began the Looking Back, Moving Forward project to encourage a community collaborative dialogue on racism. The project originated from the discovery of written testimonials from three people each from different parts of the country: Oregon, California, and Selma, Alabama. They wrote of their experiences in Selma during the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The project is dedicated to bringing local residents together to dialogue about racism, its systemic impact on our community, and work in partnership for solutions. Learn more about Looking Back, Moving Forward at

Community testimonials - Evan Ferber

InhaleExhale is a community storytelling project that invites community members to explore and share their stories of death and dying. Our project launch in the fall of 2019 was a day of informational and interactive workshops, exhibits, Playback Theatre, and story sharing. Evan Ferber was one of the participants. Here he reflects on his experience, and what it sparked shortly after – a local group organizing to provide green burial here in Thurston County!

Join us for our end of year fundraising series

From now until the end of 2021, donate online to support community storytelling and local change-making and/or attend our two upcoming storytelling events - one online and one in-person Your donations support future community oral history and storytelling in the South Sound. Learn more about our campaign here. Thank you!

Window Seat 2022-25 Strategic Plan

We are currently working on updating our strategic plan and planning for future community oral history and storytelling projects. We appreciate you taking the time to offer your feedback and insights:

Spaces that Spark: End-of-year community fundraiser

Over the next several weeks for our Spaces that Spark community fundraiser, we'll shine a light on moments of synergy we’ve witnessed through our community storytelling work. Donate now to support local change-making in the South Sound region.

Reflections from the WSM Archive by Isabelle Haines

"Reading and/or listening to each narrator’s life story was an immersive, frequently delightful experience. But occasionally, I felt like a trespasser wading into deeply personal territory. I was not prepared for the vulnerability that each narrator brought to their interview. With unflinching honesty, they discussed the Great Depression, the internment of Japanese Americans, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, misogyny, racism, class divide, art, music, unplanned pregnancy, parenthood, curtailed ambitions, loneliness, joys and tragedies of all sorts. I trailed behind, adding in commas and periods." -Isabelle Haines, Community Stories Project Intern

We're Hiring!

We're Hiring! We’re entering into our 5th year at Window Seat Media and are eager for new energy, talents, and ideas so that we can grow and evolve in responsive and meaningful ways. We seek a responsive, thoughtful, and collaborative leader to deepen, strengthen, and grow our relationships with our South Sound community.

Constellating Lineage

Upcoming Workshop! Constellating Lineage is a 6-session workshop series that invites participants to explore their family history, heritage, and story(ies). Begins Saturday February 20.

The Third Thirty:December Story Circle

Beginning in December, we will share excerpts from the interviews we gather from The Third Thirty Oral History Project through a virtual story circle. After listening to a short audio story, story circle participants will have opportunity to reflect and share their own stories in response to a question or theme in facilitated large and small group conversations.

Reflections from InhaleExhale Community Confluence

I want to have my body prepared by the local Chevra Kadisha, the Sacred Society of volunteers who perform the ancient ritual of Tahara/Purification, washing and wrapping the body in a shroud in preparation for burial. How could I combine traditional Jewish burial practices with environmentally sound burial methods?

On Returning

I am returning to work after reducing my hours during the stay-at-home order. With guidance from our Board, collaborators, and advisors, we are finding a path that we hope moves our work forward with renewed intention and care. I am feeling particularly grateful for the powerful storytellers of today - Ava DuVernay, Resmaa Menakem, and Bryan Stevenson, to name just a few - who are doing the imperative and courageous work of naming, contextualizing, and framing white supremacy in new and urgent ways.

InhaleExhale: An Experiment in Creative Collaboration

We invited (mostly local) visual and performing artists to share their questions, ideas, and stories about death and dying through the creation of original works. What resulted was a mosaic of voices and expression. The malleability of memory, the possibility of queer kinship, the interdependence of human and nonhuman, sound and body as conduit and connector, life as celebration...are some threads that weave these works together. We’re excited to share our experiment and their stories with you. Join us!

InhaleExhale: Honoring Life + Navigating the Journey of Death

Join us for our project launch! Workshops, playback theater, an exhibit, conversations and more! Together, we will consider our own stories around death, access new ideas and resources, and listen to stories in a variety of formats.

We’re Better Off When People Leave Us Alone

“The truth is that tourism, like any other capitalistic project, is about consumption for profit. But “place” isn’t an endlessly renewable commodity—it is someone’s home, and the communities who call it so rarely factor in fairly to our conceptions of travel as an enlightening project.”

The Third Thirty: A Community Storytelling Project

Do you love listening to people’s stories? Are there individuals in our South Sound community (or beyond) who have great stories to share? Join us as we continue to gather stories from community members between ages 60 and 90 as part of "The Third Thirty: A Community Storytelling Project."

Our 2017 Annual Report is Here!

January is our anniversary month here at Window Seat Media. On January 25, 2016 I filed the paperwork to turn this idea that had been percolating for quite some time into a nonprofit in the state of Washington.

Narrating the Communities We Want to Create

We all have rituals. One of mine is to turn up narratives that make me uncomfortable in my white skin. The Establishment is my daily dose of discomfort. This morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed while drinking my coffee, I came upon this article by Ijeoma Oluo: "White People Will Always Let You Down." The title stung; I knew I needed to read it.

Window Seat Media Welcomes New Board Member

Window Seat Media is a nimble organization that thrives on synergy, abundance thinking, and experimentation. We value relationships (human and place-based), multi-disciplinary collaboration, multi-vocality, equity, transparency, and trust. We are always seeking out folks who share our values to help guide our effort forward. We're thrilled to welcome Jessica Babcock to our Board, who embodies these values.

Writing and Revising "America"

Who decides what stories we hear and what are the implications? How does the process of constructing narratives impact group behavior? For the past 10 weeks, I had the good fortune of exploring these and other timely questions with a small cohort of students enrolled in The Evergreen State College's Grays Harbor Program.

Project Highlight: Building Resilience After The Khmer Rouge

Forty years ago, Cambodia faced a humanitarian crisis similar in scale what we're witnessing in Aleppo. Last month I interviewed Srey Ryser, the founder of the Cambodian Cultural Celebration, for a video I produced for Washington State Park's Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program. With her permission, I am sharing a bit of her story from our interview and video stills I gathered for the project.

The Resilience Project: Stories of Kindness, Strength, and Hope

The Resilience Project explores what underlies our human capacity to persevere. We’re curious about our ability to offer up kindness and hope – to ourselves and others – in the face of adversity and to have the strength to carry on. Our hope is that through this project we offer opportunities to slow down and delve deeply into one aspect of the human condition.

Seeking A Path Forward in the Aftermath of the Election

In times of great uncertainty, the need for role models feels more important than ever. If we choose to listen, we will find people who are creating opportunities to cultivate compassion, understanding, and healing. They are driven by an innate curiosity and a deep need for discovery rather than truth.

Snap Shots: Democratizing Engagement Through Sharing Stories

On Tuesday I traveled over the mountains to the Wenatchee Valley to an annual conference of conservation district staff. Window Seat Media was invited as a presenter to give a workshop in the communications and education track of the conference. Our workshop focused on the power and potential of community-driven storytelling to deeply engage our communities in our work.