Archive meets storytelling

I’m hoping this is useful to people working in museums or with film archives….

I’ve written about Rhondda Lives! here before. This is a Valleys Kids Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, BBC Wales and the National Sound and Screen Archive of Wales.

I led a workshop held at Valleys Kids’ Soar Chapel at the end of November. This was a novel kind of digital storytelling experience because it fits edited, considered but unscripted personal reminiscence with existing archive footage shot in the Rhondda Valley between 1926-1986 or so. I’ll post a link to the stories from Aberth when they’re live.

Step 1  – attend public screening at Valley’s Kids (2hours)

Step 2  – Katrina Kirkwood of Valley’s Kids followed leads – people who wanted to tell a story in the workshop by visiting them in their home for research and to take a photo (1 hour)

Step 3  – morning storycircle led by BBC’s Lisa Heledd; afternoon story audio recording (unscripted) by BBC’s Carwyn Evans I (8 hours). The storycircle came about from a suggestion by Carwyn Evans who’d seen an early pilot I’d made where people spontaneously reacted to particular clips. Carwyn felt the reflection time of both the visits made by Katrina and the time together in the storycircle would not only result in more engaging stories but would also help to build a sense of community, comeradeship and fun between the participants. He was right on all counts.

Step 4  – directing BBC video editor Carwyn Jones as he fits archive footage to edited story audio recording (2 hours)

Step 5  – public end-of-workshop screening (1 hour)

The total time commitment we ended up asking the storytellers to make was around 14 hours, over five different days, across two months.

I’m publishing this workshop model in case it’s of interest to others in the digital storytelling community.

Special thanks to the storytellers; to Carwyn Evans, Lisa Heledd, Carwyn Jones, Katrina Kirkwood and Lona Wharton who made up the workshop week team; and to others involved in the project, including: Leighton Andrews, Cath Allen, Aled Eurig, Liz Girling,  Edith Hughes, Margaret Jervis, Lisa Jones, Karen Lewis,  Denise Lord, Robin Moore, Richard Morgan, Gareth Morris, Tim Neale, Dewi Vaughan Owen, Dafydd Pritchard, Gwenda Richards, Andy Roberts and Iain Tweedale.