The ‘San José Story Map Project’ aims to use the power of stories to reveal San José in a new and different light. This two-year project will help create a digital map that showcases the rich histories and vibrant cultures found in our beloved City of San José and beyond.

The San José Story Map is part of San José State University's Deep Humanities Initiative. It promotes Socially Responsible Technology through a series of activities leading to the creation of an interactive, multimedia, digital San José Story Map.

During 2020 & 2021 year our team will be collecting the stories and testimonials that will provide content for the digital map. In addition to production workshops, the project team will organize an online story contest in 2021 through the San José Public Library network. Winning entries from the contest will be included in the digital map.

In the second year of the project, our team will build the virtual map of San José utilizing the stories/testimonials we collect. The stories/testimonials in the map will be multimedia (videos, photos, written text) and multigenre (poetry, prose, performance). They will uncover hidden histories, untold stories, and unheard voices from the diverse communities in San José.

Get Involved

Visit the The Curated SJ Story Map (Beta Site)

Screenshot of the San Jose Story Map. On the left a black and white print shows a dress hanging from a clothesline. On the right a pale blue map of San Jose displays markers of site of curated submissions for the San Jose Story Map.

For it’s first iteration 23 artists and writers were invited to submit their stories to the San José Story Map. Visit the Beta site here.

Add your story to the the Public San José Story Map Contest

Submit to the Poetic Postcards Poetry, Art, & Design Contest

Black and White Photograph Depicting an elementary school graduation ceremony in East San Jose. A mother takes a selfie with her daughter in the lower left hand corder. Behind them a young graduate is getting her picture taken while holding up a graduation certificate.

What San Jose is to you? Is it an iconic place? A life experience? A memory? A frame of mind? How would you capture something essential about the city on a postcard? *** Submission Deadline Extended through March 15! *** 

Join artist Emilio Banuelos and writer Sally Ashton who will lead a group of SJSU student writers and artists to consider just that. 

Poetic Postcard Submission & Registration Information

Deep Humanities Initiative

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

Center For Literary Arts

Workshops and Events

Upcoming Workshops and Events

February 25th, 2022
Creative Workshop:Free & Open to All SJSU Students
In this generative workshop you will have a chance to work together in a group and in pairs, if desired, to create collaborative postcards to contribute to the San Jose Story Map project. Generative prompts will help get you started.
March 4th, 2022
6pm-9pm pm
Live Workshops at SJMA
Join us at San José Museum of Art on the Circle of Palms in creative spaces for kids, teens and adults of all ages who are interested in safely gathering for an event full of communal art making to celebrate our beautiful city of San José. Admission to the Museum is free during the event and will include a music performance from SJ Jazz from 7-9pm.
March 12th, 2021
Live Workshops at School of Visual Philosophy
These workshops & kiosk activities are designed to get the San Jose Public excited and inspired to participate by sharing their story and putting their unique experience ‘on the map.’ We encourage everyone to help us map our community through personal stories, testimonials, and images.

Past Workshops and Events

September 24th, 2021
Creative Workshop:Free & Open to All SJSU Students
In this generative workshop you will have a chance to work together in a group and in pairs, if desired, to create collaborative postcards to contribute to the San Jose Story Map project. Generative prompts will help get you started.
November 5th, 2021
5-7pm pm
Workshop with Jenny Clendenen
Community workshop with author Jenny Clendenen co-hosted with the San José Public Library to generate submissions to the Online story contest.
Nevember 19th, 2021
Feedback Session: Free & Open to All SJSU Students
Feedback on work-in-progress for the Poetic Postcard & San José Story Map submissions.
October 28th, 2020
6:30-8:45 pm
Story Map Making with ArcGIS Online
Hosted by Kerry Rohrmeier, PhD AICP (she / her), Assistant Professor, San José State University Department of Urban & Regional Planning
November 4, 2020
Digital Artefacts: 3D Scanning & Lifecycles of Artificial Objects
Hosted by Rhonda Holberton, Professor of Digital Media Art, Department of Art & Art History SJSU
November 5, 2020
Vernacular Typography
A closer look at the typography that surrounds us - Diane Lee (she/her), Department of Design (Graphic Design)
November 6, 2020
Literary Arts Generative Workshop
For SJSU studnets
Lead writer: Peter Malae
November 8, 2020
Iterative/Sustainable/Generative Design
6:30 -7:30pm
Hosted by Kohar Scott, Assistant Professor Department of Design, SJSU
November 12, 2020
Wish You Were Here: Waterway Stories & Working with Postcard Templates in Photoshop
6:30 - 7:00 Digital Imagery & Waterway Stories Robin Lasser (she/her), Department of Art & Art History (Photography)

7:00 -8:00 Artist Presentation, Photoshop Exports, & Contest Submission Workshop Adrienne Defendi, MFA Candidate, Department of Art & Art History (Photography)
Novermber 14, 2020
Literary Arts Generative Workshop
For San José Community
Lead Writer: Sally Ashton
Novermber 19, 2020
Mapping Zoomspace
6:30 -8:00pm
Hosted by Jayme Yen - University of Washington


Here is how our story will unfold.

Our Creative Team

From the College of Humanities & Arts at SJSU

Rhonda Holberton

Rhonda Holberton, Assistant Professor of Digital Media at San José State University. Holberton is the co-director the San José Story Map project. Her multimedia installations make use of digital and interactive technologies integrated into traditional methods of art production. Her work is included in the collection of SFMoMA and has been exhibited at CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, FIFI Projects Mexico City; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, SF; San José Institute of Contemporary Art; and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Revathi Krishnaswamy

Revathi Krishnaswamy is co-leader of the San José Story Map project. She is a Professor in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at San José State University, and heads the Deep Humanities & Arts Initiative to promote responsible tech. She is currently a Public Voices Fellow with The OpEd Project.

Angelabelle Abarientos

Technical Developer
Angelabelle Abarientos is the Tech Developer on the SJ Story Map team. She is a new-media artist currently based in San José. She received her BFA in Digital Media Arts from San José State University in May 2020.

John Contreras

Management Planner
A 2nd year Spatial Art Graduate my rolls are managing planning: keeping track of deadlines, and making sure we are completing what we need to complete, helping with event promotion, etc,

Lucia Znamirowski

Project Manager
Hi, I am Lucia Znamirowski a Graduate student at SJSU, lover of cats, and the project manager.

Lacey Nein

Technical Manager
Lacey is currently a Digital Media Art MFA student at SJSU. She loves using new technologies and learning how to utilize them. Currently she is exploring how to use textiles for digital visualization.

Asra Siddiqui

Technical Developer


This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Wish You Were Here postcard design contest & exhibition

Wish You Were Here grew out of a series of brainstorming sessions with the Natalie & James Thompson Gallery and faculty from Art & Design departments at San José State University about ways to meaningfully connect the themes from the San José Story Map with the visual arts while sheltering in place. 

Students from across disciplines as well as the greater San José Public are invited to attend a series of workshops to help translate their personal experiences of living/working in San José into visual form that can be adapted into a postcard format.  The workshops will culminate in a design contest that runs from Nov 1 - Dec 1 and return 1 winning kiosk design (for postcard distribution and return) and 15 postcard designs that will be printed in runs of 500 each.  

In the Spring 2021, the Thompson Gallery will feature an exhibition of ‘correspondence art’ mailed to the gallery or dropped off to the kiosk. A digital exhibition of submitted designs (hosted by San José Story Map) will go live at the same time. 

Wish You Were Here serves as way to collect multidisciplinary contributions of visual & text based work focused on placemaking in San José with sub-themes of:

  • Sheltering in Place
  • Sustainability
  • Cultural History
  • Generational Connectivity
  • Transformation

To ground the students exploration of alternative exhibition formats, a panel featuring the directors of 5 Bay Area Alternative Art Exhibition Platforms will discuss the ways they have responded to Social Distancing as well as lasting impacts this time might have on platforms for art viewership and production.

Need help with a submission? Contact us at help0jstorymap@gmail.com