The Project Rebirth Educational Initiative

Studying Trauma and Recovery

The Project Rebirth Educational Initiative represents a collaboration between CNDLS and Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL). The initiative will unite people who are interested in studying trauma and recovery and will initially focus on the interview footage collected for Rebirth, a documentary film chronicling recovery following the trauma of September 11, 2001. The film is directed by Georgetown alumnus Jim Whitaker (C'90). Proceeds from the film will fund the Project Rebirth Center, dedicated to helping professionals and volunteer organizations prepare for, contend with, and recover from traumatic experiences.

Through the center and the educational initiative, Project Rebirth will:

  • Assemble responders, victims, educators, researchers, students, and professionals to share applied research on trauma and recovery 
  • Link people to tools that provide assistance in the midst of disasters 
  • Provide a space for victims, family members, and first responders to share stories and connect with one another.

CNDLS and CCNMTL are working to design educational uses for the Rebirth footage. Plans call for the development of a social learning environment that will allow students, faculty, and community members to edit, tag, annotate, and share clips of the footage with one another and reflect on the footage through blogs and multimedia digital stories. Not only will this learning environment allow for explorations of themes such as trauma, narrative, memory, and recovery, but it will also enable research on aspects of student learning, including metacognition, affect, and empathy.

Several faculty members have already incorporated the footage into their teaching, including Randy Bass (English), Bernie Cook (Film and Media Studies), and Beverly Sauer (MSB) at Georgetown, and George Bonnano (Teachers College), Frank Moretti (Teachers College), and Kathy Shear (School of Social Work) at Columbia.

More background on Project Rebirth can be found here.