Get to know Mohamed Abdullahi, our new Storytelling Intern

Mohamed Abdullahi recently joined the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods communications team as a Communications and Storytelling Intern. Mohamed came to us through the Cultural and Creative Workforce Development Program, an internship program developed by Northwest Folklife in collaboration with the Office of Economic Development and the Office of Arts and Culture. The program provides paid internships for Seattle’s young creatives, giving them opportunities to develop skills and connections within the creative industries and cultural sector. 

Get to know a little more about Mohamed in our brief Q&A below: 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born and raised in the state of Minnesota and moved to Seattle in 2011. I moved here at the start of high school, which was a huge and difficult transition for me as a teenager. I left all my friends and everything I knew back in Minnesota. But, it was time for a new start.   

Starting community college was the start of my career as a filmmaker. I started to shadow a couple of friends who were photographers, started watching more movies, and started writing. In 2015, I put out my first short film after watching a documentary about high school students working on a film with no budget. I was watching this documentary with my cousin and told him “this could be us.” He agreed and, with his photography skills and my ambition, we put together a short film.  

Looking back on my start as a filmmaker, I kind of smile a bit. I see how much I learned when it comes to production, how cameras work, the art of writing, and networking. One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the adversity I was going to consistently face. As a Black Muslim artist, I have to create opportunities for myself. I don’t have the help or necessary resources in order to create whatever I want. I make art with the strength of myself and my friends. With just a small group, I was able to do work for Puma, Adidas, editorial magazines, and high profile celebrities, and hold two art exhibitions in Seattle. 

What led you to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods? 

I was provided the opportunity to work as a Communications and Storytelling Intern through the Cultural and Creative Workforce Development Program at Northwest Folklife. It is truly an honor as the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) does wonderful work for the community. Speaking with the team and doing research, the mission and principles of DON is the epitome of community. Their goal is to provide resources and opportunities for people to create a sense of community and stronger connections for the neighborhoods. Reading about this and seeing how members of the team are extremely driven and passionate about these ideas, I was instantly drawn in and wanted to be a part of this. Being a resident of the greater Seattle area, I always wanted to be a part of a team and community that was motivated and passionate in providing opportunities and resources for the people of Seattle. As a Black Muslim artist, I understand how difficult it is to have accessible resources and opportunities, so seeing the work the Department of Neighborhoods does, made me want to work here. 

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship? 

I hope I can further understand and live up to the mission and goals of DON. I want to gain an understanding of what makes a community. I want to tell beautiful stories in the community and shed light on topics that are not usually discussed. I hope to provide a unique perspective and also be able to incorporate my background as a filmmaker into the work I am given. I hope I can lend a helping hand to the neighborhoods and help create stronger ties all around.   

What’s your favorite place in Seattle and why? 

I would say my favorite place in Seattle is Melo Café located in the Central District. It’s a recently opened café that is co-owned by one of my closest friends. They sell amazing juice, tea, coffee, pastries, and food. Going there is heartwarming because I’m able to see the amount of work my friend put in since the day she came up with the concept. Also, the juice is handcrafted and unbeatable!  

We are thrilled to welcome Mohamed to our team and look forward to all the community stories he will be sharing. Have an idea for a story you’d like us to cover, drop us a line at