Thank you for visiting the Storebox. The Storebox is project of the New Media Project at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. The case studies, collections, and exhibits you will find here were curated by students at Fordham University, in New York City. The case studies are drawn from all over the United States. From Indiana to New York to the digital “everywhere” – welcome!
The Storebox is a digital repository of Christian digital “experiments. If you have ever wondered what Christian communities, organizations, and leaders are doing with digital technologies, this is a place to learn. The Storebox is a place to gather as many different “case studies” as we can of what Christians are doing in the vast, expanding, intimate, connected, and interconnected landscape of new media. We are just getting started! Read more about the project, and submit a case study of your own (we can’t possibly know everything that is happening online, after all!).
The Storebox is comprised of three basic categories to organize information: case studies, collections, and exhibits.
Case studies are particular examples of how Christian communities, institutions, or leaders are using new media. For example, if a church has a Facebook page, that would be a case study. If a pastor has a blog, that’s a case study. A Tumblr blog, a You Tube channel, a Twitter account – all case studies.
Collections represent, well, collections of case studies that belong together because they are all created by the same institution, group, or person. If a church has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and an Instagram feed all three of those “case studies” are grouped together in a “collection.” So if you see a collection on this site, it is a way to look at all the digital experiments created by a person or group in one place. You can also find the individual case studies on their own.
Exhibits are groupings of case studies and collections around particular themes. As we gather case studies, we notice themes emerging. For example, we might focus on different ways individual blogs promote authority or charisma. Or how the theme of racial justice permeates various experiments online. Case studies and collections are more about gathering data and sharing it. Exhibits are our effort to make some sense of that data, in a more evaluative and analytical way.
We expect – and encourage – our users to arrive at different evaluations of the case studies collected here. The exhibits are part of the pedagogical value for the students who create and maintain this site, but they are by no means the only way to organize or reflect on the case studies. We hope you will browse the site, search for topics that interest you, and notice connections and themes of your own. Even better, if you know of case studies that we are not covering (and there are many, many out there that we are not covering!), please contact us and let us know!
The content on this site is curated by students at Fordham University in New York City, under the guidance of Dr. Kathryn Reklis. Students identify case studies, collect data about those case studies, create collections, upload everything to this website, and generate all the “meta data” (the “What is This” info you will find below every case study) for every case study and collection. Students also created all the exhibits, mostly working collaboratively with one another.
All the students are undergraduates at Fordham University in New York City. They got roped into this project when they signed up for Dr. Reklis’ course “Religion, Theology, and New Media.” Contributing case studies and creating exhibits is a major component of the course, and the students work all semester reading academic texts from theology, media studies, and communication theory in conversation with the work they do for this digital project. Because this site is part of a pedagogical experience, we can say without joking that it is a learning experience! A new group of students joins the project every academic year, contributing fresh ideas, new case studies, and new exhibits to the project.
You can read more about the students involved from every class here.
You can read more about Dr. Kathryn Reklis’ work here.
The Storebox is a project of a much larger initiative – the New Media Project at the Christian Theological Seminary. Founded in 2010, the New Media Project aims to help religious leaders think theologically about digital technology. In its first stage, the New Media Project undertook six qualitative case studies of Christian experiments with digital technology, especially new media. The Storebox grew out of the desire to cast a broader net and to create a digital repository for other digital experiments beyond those initial six. Whether you come to this site for inspiration or research, we hope it is a valuable place to start to take the measure of what is happening with new media in Christian spaces.
Because this project is unfolding in real time with an academic calendar and changing groups of students, we are only able to gather so many case studies in any given academic year. Like most researches, we started with what we knew: in this case, with case studies that had been suggested to us by people involved in the New Media Project – NMP research fellows, bloggers, or conference attendees. In the course of research, new case studies emerged (one blogger lead to another, for example). Because of the commitments of the New Media Project, and the necessity of some restraint to formulate a meaningful research agenda, we have focused on Christian communities based in the United States, mostly liberal Protestant, Catholic, or those that sit at the boundary of “spiritual” and “religious.” Sometimes these designations are clear. Sometimes they are not.
We are always looking for new case studies! If you know about a Christian community, institution, or individual engaged in a digital experiment – or you are engaged in one yourself – and you’d like to see it included in the Storebox, please contact us. We will respond to all inquiries and we would love to grow the reach of the Storebox so that it can map more thoroughly the range of experiments unfolding in digital space.