The Rich Coast Project

Protecting cultural heritage through community storytelling and legal research in southern Caribbean Costa Rica

In partnership with
The Rich Coast Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of The Rich Coast Project must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

visit the project's website at www.therichcoastproject.org


I'm Katie Beck, the founder of The Rich Coast Project. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, I'm a graduate of Indiana University and Northeastern University School of Law. I first traveled to Costa Rica during college, and returned last year to spend my final semester of law school living on the southern Caribbean coast and learning about about the complicated land rights battle threatening to dispossess local Afro-Caribbean communities from their native lands.

The experience was life changing. It introduced me to a situation that combined many of my interests and topics I had been studying, and, more importantly, to people at once fiercely proud of their communities and traditions and on the verge of losing the very foundation of their existence: the land.

The Rich Coast Project was developed in an effort to help support and empower these communities to better understand the laws affecting them and advocate for more balanced policy that respects the historic rights of the area's native inhabitants. I've spent over a year thinking about this idea and talking it over with friends, colleagues, experts and local stakeholders. The shape and vision of the project has developed over time, but the goal has remained steady. The time has finally come to begin implementing this vision, and I'm thrilled to invite you along for the ride.

About The Rich Coast Project

The Rich Coast Project is about a place. It's a place with a rich history, a complicated present, and an uncertain future.

Settled by Afro-Caribbean farmers and fishermen in the early 1800's, it's a place where families have lived on the same plot of land for up to five generations, where folks remember a simpler time - not too long ago - before the road connected their small corner of the universe to the rest of the world and a trip to a neighboring community might mean days on foot through the forest. This was a community with its very own peaceful legal system, unique and highly effective medical practices, beautiful folk tales, as well as weekly customs like the “Pleasant Sunday Afternoon.”  This region embodied health, happiness and a strong community support system in which neighbors treated one another like family and shared whatever they had. It was an area of sustenance farming in which people lived harmoniously with their surroundings and maintained a symbiotic relationship with the Caribbean Sea and nearby rainforest.  

Today this is a place where environmental conservation measures are having the effect of squeezing out the very people who have cared for and called these lands home for centuries. Over the past several years, local landowners have been stripped of their property rights and economic development has been paralyzed. Homes and businesses have been threatened with demolition orders and residents have faced criminal charges for pursuing better lives for their families.

The threat to these communities is very real. They face losing their lands, their culture, and their very history. Residents are conscious of these challenges and working hard to protect their rights and reinforce their cultural traditions. The issues at hand are complex, and those who stand to lose the most aren't always in a position to have their voice heard.

The Rich Coast Project wants to make sure that these communities have a chance to tell their own story. We want to create a living archive of the Talamanca coast by collecting the stories of the people who call it home and hearing firsthand how these issues are impacting their communities and way of life. We’re teaming with law students, librarians and scholars from a range of disciplines to reconsider how conservation law works, and letting this community’s experience help us explore better approaches to the competing aims of environmental conservation and sustainable development.

The Rich Coast Project is about more than just a place. It’s about people. And with your help, they can continue to tell their story.

What We Have Accomplished

We've made great progress on the project so far, but there’s a lot more to do. So far we have set up a non-profit, found a fiscal sponsor to make sure your donations are tax-deductible, organized a team of lawyers, researchers, photographers and filmmakers, and developed several exciting partnerships, both in Costa Rica and in the United States. This year a group of law students at Northeastern University will research the issue from Boston, and experts in archival studies at Simmons College, the top rated program in the country, will help us develop a digital community archive.

What We Need & What You Get

Your contribution will help us buy equipment, work with experts from the Center for Digital Storytelling, and support a small team working on the ground in Costa Rica. Every contribution helps, and we're excited to offer a few rewards that will help you stay connected to the project's progress. You can also show your support by following along on social media, and spreading the word to your friends and family.

Where your money will go

  • Living and travel expenses of small on-the-ground team ($5,000)
  • Purchasing audiovisual equipment and hard drives ($8,000)
  • Hiring trained storytelling facilitators from the Center for Digital Storytelling to host multi-day community workshops in Talamanca ($12,000)
  • Administrative expenses: printing, phone calls, equipment insurance, staff stipends, rewards fulfillment, local translators, guides, and drivers, etc. ($8,500)
  • Fees to fiscal sponsor and indiegogo ($3,500)

What you will get in return

We are so excited about the rewards available to encourage your support of The Rich Coast Project. We've partnered with some generous and creative organizations to bring you several really unique perks.

  • $10 - For a small contribution you will become an official supporter of the Project and receive regular email updates about our progress this winter.
  • $25 - For a little bit more, you'll get regular email updates and the Rich Coast Project Audio Package. This package includes a digital download of 14-21 acoustic tracks recorded at our inaugural fundraising event, Fort Wayne Unplugged (special thanks to our friends at Riot House Records for making this live recording possible), as well as access to a series of podcasts that will include music by local Talamanca musicians and oral storytelling by native residents. The Fort Wayne Unplugged download will be available in December of 2013, and the podcasts will be available in spring of 2014.
  • $50 - Become the proud owner of a beautiful poster featuring original local artwork and the transcriptions of stories collected during the storytelling project. (See example below: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll) This unique perk is made possible by the great folks at Litographs, an innovative company that creates art entirely out of text and partners with the International Book Bank to send one new, high-quality book to a community in need for each poster they sell. This perk will be delivered via an email voucher for purchase on the Litographs website in early summer 2014. You will also get regular email updates.

  • $50 -  Get your own copy of the Center for Digital Storytelling’s essential Cookbook. Making media, like making a meal, requires guidance, learning from friends through the sharing of recipes, and expertise from those who spend their professional lives in the kitchen. The Digital Storytelling Cookbook shares our experience, some recipes, and some humor, to help readers get started with their own storytelling experiences. You'll also get regular email updates.
  • $75 - You will receive a copy of the soon to be published eBook by CDS Founder and Executive Director Joe Lambert - Seven Stages: Story and the Human Experience - how to unearth the stories embedded in our daily lives and use them to learn about ourselves, our relationships, and our place in the community. You'll also get regular email updates. (limit 20)
  • $100 - You'll get a hardcover photo-book of portraits and stories of local residents of Caribe Sur. We are working with local photographers to shoot the portraits of individuals involved in the storytelling project, and the accompanying text will be comprised of written narratives about their lives in Caribe Sur - memories of the past, examples of daily life, and hopes for the future. This limited edition item will be numbered and signed by the project's founder, and include an introduction written by the Rich Coast Project team. You'll also get regular email updates.

  • $250 - Receive a $100 discount to any Center for Digital Storytelling Standard Open Workshop or iPhone Worshop (Limit 5). You'll also get regular email updates.

    The Standard Workshop assists participants in designing and producing a three- to five-minute digital story. Participants craft and record first-person narratives, collect still images, video, and music with which to illustrate their pieces, and are guided through computer tutorials that enable them, with facilitator support, to edit their own stories. 

    CDS's two-and-a-half-day iPhone Workshop adapts the Standard Workshop curriculum to enable participants to explore tools for iPhone photography and video editing. CDS supports participants in producing two- to three-minute personal video stories on the iPhone platform. The workshop represents a great opportunity for educators, journalists, health and human services professionals, and interested media enthusiasts to learn about the iPhone as a multimedia production device.

  • $500 - Receive a $250 discount to enroll in one of CDS’s Introduction to Facilitation Institute Workshops. You'll also get regular email updates.

    As the profile of digital storytelling has grown, so has the demand for training facilitators. The Center for Digital Storytelling is now responding to this demand in a new way. We are launching a new Introduction to Facilitation Institute (IFI), and, separately, a certification program in digital storytelling facilitation.  

    The Institute consists of three workshops that can be taken back to back with each building on the content of the previous workshop. Prerequisite: a three-day Center for Digital Storytelling of CDS iPhone workshop. (Limit 5)

  • $1000 - Don't just watch the project unfold from your computer, join us in Costa Rica and become a part of the experience! For just $1250 (tax-deductible) dollars, we will set you up with housing for two people for four nights in southern Caribbean Costa Rica. Transportation is up to you, but once you arrive we will help you coordinate activities, introduce you to community stakeholders, and bring you along for photo and video shoots. The area has much to offer in both nature and culture, and some of the most beautiful beaches you'll ever see. This reward must be redeemed between 2/17/14 and 3/7/14. Contact therichcoastproject@gmail.com for more details and scheduling inquiries. You will, of course, also get regular email updates.

What happens if we raise less money?

If we don't meet our goal we will continue our fundraising efforts through other means up until our departure date in late December. If necessary, we can forego some of our equipment purchases or buy lower-end models of certain items. Our team is dedicated to making this project happen, and will do so if even remotely possible. Even after the indiegogo campaign ends, we will happily accept donations through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas.

What happens if we raise more money?

If we exceed our goal, we will put this money toward the editing phase that will follow our on-the-ground work. We have many big ideas for this project, and more funding will allow us to pursue the next steps of the process without spending our time and focus to fundraise and write grant proposals. We will also be able to hire a web developer and graphic designer to improve the quality and functionality of the website, and employ a translator to ensure that all of our materials are available in both English and Spanish.

Other Ways Can Help

Join the mailing list

Just follow the link below to sign up for The Rich Coast Newsletter. We won't bombard your inbox, but will be sure to send periodic updates about the progress we are making.

Click here to join the mailing list

Learn More

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at therichcoastproject@gmail.com. Visit the project's website at www.therichcoastproject.org for more information about the issue, the people involved, and the work of The Rich Coast Project.

Tell your friends!

Whether or not you can contribute financially, helping spread the word is just as important. We are active and continually providing updates on social media, so follow us and share our information with your networks! The more people who are aware of our project, the better our chances of raising the necessary funds. By emailing your friends about the project, posting a link to this page on Facebook, or spreading word on Twitter, you'll be giving us crucial, valuable support. Please help us reach as many people as possible!  






Thank you for your generous support of this important project!

Team on This Campaign: