Festival of Digital Storytelling 2008

Registration is now open for Wales’s third annual Festival of Digital Storytelling at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Thursday 5th and Friday 6 June 2008. And – wearing my DS Cymru member hat – I’d like to invite you to come 🙂

DS3, copyright Aberystwyth Arts CentreYes, DS3 has expanded to two days this year and, as it says on the website: “Whether you work in education, the community or as an artist, it is your opportunity to share experiences, explore new creative ideas, see the latest technological developments, look at examples of best practise in the U.K. and worldwide and celebrate the growing significance of Digital Storytelling”

I’m really looking forward to this year’s Festival, not least because the speakers who’ve agreed to take part are so good.

Jason Ohler, from Alaska, will be a familiar name to anyone who’s interested in Digital Storytelling in schools. He’ the author of ‘Digital Storytelling in the Classroom’. It should be interesting to see what the educationalists in the audience make of his evangelism for Digital Storytelling in the classroom, especially as Wales has the power to determine its own curriculum for schools. Might we see schools in Wales allocating sufficient resources and embedding the activity of Digital Storytelling in our classrooms in a revolutionary way? I personally hope so. Just imagine how that would impact on young Welsh people’s digital expression and storytelling skills and how much fun that would make school!

Gilly Adams is one of the most magnetic characters I’ve ever met. I sat in awe listening to her talk about how to help someone with their story as she addressed a group of 40 in Merthyr Tydfil in March. She was sharing decades of experience garnered from not only dozens of Digital Storytelling workshops but also her background in theatre, community radio plays and celebratory ritual performance. I guarantee that, if you want to learn something new about storytelling, you will if you come to listen to Gilly.

Two Digital Storytellers who have an historic connection with BBC Capture Wales are making the trip from Norway to Aberystwyth to share their experiences of setting up Digitale Fortellinger. Eli Lea and Hanne Jones set up their project with the aim of helping individuals to share their personal story on TV in Nordic countries. They’ve also done some interesting, pioneering work with museums. By the way, Hanne’s own Digital Story is one of my all-time favourites.

Pat Kane – half of Hue and Cry – wrote ‘The Play Ethic: A Manifesto for a Different Way of Living’ which “proposes the ‘player’ as a new identity for a productive, creative and meaningful life”. He’s coming from Scotland to Aberystwyth.

Also speaking or holding workshops or breakout sessions are Breaking Barriers; Canllaw Online; Cardiff University; Coleg Sir Gar, Llanelli; Culturenet Cymru; DS Cymru; Huw Davies; Monmouthshire County Council; University of Glamorgan George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling; Yale College, Wrexham; etc. as well as BBC Cymru Wales.

Between the keynotes there are sessions about where to go to get money to fund your grassroots project from people who’ve been very succesful in doing just that, creating ‘a digital story in ten clicks’, being young and telling stories, pedagogy, sustainability, new forms and social software, best ways of facilitating stories, an open mic story session, building digital communities, etc

So it’s a fantastic line-up and I hope you can come. You’ll be most welcome.

Longer form personal storytelling on Everest

I watched a recording of On Top of the World this lunchtime. This is the half-hour programme by Tori James, the first Welsh woman and youngest British woman ever to climb Everest. It was shot almost entirely using the kinds of devices anyone can buy in the High St. It’s a gripping, endearing piece of TV. Goes to show what can be done in the longer form, using attainable technology, when the storytelling’s done well. Full credit to producer Melanie Lindsell who worked closely with Tori on the storytelling, editing and post production.

If you live in the UK, for the next six days you can watch this programme on BBC iPlayer here:


Unknown Shonan

Kiyoko outlines the Unknown Shonan workshop processI’ve observed that working on stories in a group usually helps individuals to improve their story and I love watching how stories are improved, thanks to the group dynamics. That’s one of the reasons digital storytelling works so well as a group workshop activity.

One University of Tokyo project, called Unknown Shonan, is the first I’ve heard of that compares narratives arrived at individually with those arrived at by working in a group.

Shonan is Japan’s Brighton. It’s a bohemian seaside city about an hour by train from Tokyo. Universtiy of Tokyo researchers worked with participants, mixing historic photos with participant-taken ones where individuals are asked to make five-photo captioned narratives first individually and then in groups. They’ve already reached Phase II of the project and they’re comparing outputs at the moment. It’ll be interesting to hear the outcome and perhaps to start understanding what really improves stories when we share and discuss our stories collaboratively.

Tokyo Video Scrapbook

Tokyo and Mell Expo 2008 were absolutely mindblowing. A more considered summary of Mell Expo 2008 will follow. For now, with music by B’z, is a montage of (Ricoh) images and (Nokia N93) video clips that capture the flavour of the event and the trip. Hope you enjoy it: