Curtains open, lights on

The Capture Wales team has been holding a series of five Digital Storytelling Gatherings around Wales. We’ve held them in Caernarfon, Aberystwyth, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff. The final one – in Cardiff – was held today and it was fantastic!

More than 100 individuals who are actively involved in or interested  in facilitating digital storytelling activities in Wales have attended these days. Each day has been a chance for people who are involved in this work to meet others in their area, to enjoy watching stories together, learn a little about the history of digital storytelling, hear about recruiting participants (by Carwyn Evans), thinking about issues around ownership of story constituents (by Lisa Jones), technical challenges, sharing completed stories (me:), etc.

Daniel Meadows joined us at lunchtime. Daniel conducted the research into the proliferation of digital storytelling projects in Wales and it’s thanks to him that we had a starting point when inviting people to attend these events. Earlier in the day we’d watched Daniel’s digital story Polyphoto – one of the first digital stories I ever saw and one that left a lasting impression on me.

Something Capture Wales team member Gilly Adams said today in her story section really caught my attention. She said that watching a digital story is a little like taking a walk on a dark night past a house where the owner has left the curtains open and the lights on – you get a special glimpse of life inside. Gilly also used a stepping-stones analogy, saying that telling a story like this is  like crossing a river using stepping stones. You take a series of steps and yet when you reach the other side, you can still see the riverbank you set out from.

Capture Wales team member Lisa Heledd has been studying digital storytelling forms in detail for the past two years. This afternoon, she  outlined several different  forms of digital storytelling, saying that different forms unlock different types of story. As well as showing examples of stories she, Carwyn Evans and Huw Davies of the Capture Wales team have helped people to make using disposable cameras (In the Frame) and mobile phones, she showed examples of digital stories from Murmur Toronto, Postcard Secrets, Story Corps, etc. I’m looking forward to a presentation Lisa’s making tomorrow jointly with Susy Pratt at University of Glamorgan’s George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling Annual Lecture and Symposium 2008 – Storytelling and Authenticity.

At the end of the afternoon, we gave attendees two things to take home with them:

1. a box of long-handled cooks matches with instructions for the storycircle ‘match game’.
2. a booklet called ‘A Guide to Digital Storytelling by the Capture Wales team’. We’ll be publishing this guide on the Capture Wales website soon.

Happy St David’s Day

Happy St David’s Day
Here’s a short clip of a song sung by children at a school in south Wales to celebrate the national day of the patron saint of Wales, sung at Cardiff Castle on 1 March 2008. I’ve obscured the images of the children on purpose. Diolch i chi blant am godi calonnau pawb a gwneud i ni deimlo’n falch i fod yn Gymry.



Recorded using the excellent hand-held Zoom H2 audio recorder, with thanks to Zoom for the loan of this.