Five ways to make your digital storytelling project more sustainable

1. move away from the ‘once in a lifetime experience’ approach. Make it feel like a process that can become more of a ‘routine’ than a ‘treat’ event.

2. get people making stories using accessible tools. E.g. free web-based editing tools they’ll be able to continue using after you’ve moved on.

3.reduce the resources participants need to take part. If people don’t have an archive of their own photos, help them take bespoke contemporary ones; if people don’t have much time, offer a form they can create in less time; meet people where they already gather; etc.

4. scale up activities. E.g. hold training the trainers workshops so you get a snowball effect as skills are transferred.

5. foster connections with other digital storytelling operations.

This is my summary of five suggestions made by Susie Pratt of University of Glamorgan at a presentation of BBC AHRC Knowledge Exchange Partnerships in Cardiff on 4 November. Here’s a link to the AHRC’s Funding Opportunity page. Susie is from the Digital and Social Engagement partnership research project at University of Glamorgan and the sustainability element of her and her colleagues’ research is only part of a thorough and useful study. During her presentation, Susie showed a digital story made by a young carer. Sometimes a line from a story stays with you long after you see the story; the storyteller showed a photo of here baby sister who’d died and said “we sprinkled her in a beautiful place nearby.”

Here’s an outline of the University of Glamorgan rationale, quoted from source:
"A Public Voice – access, digital story and interactive narrative digital storytelling is a new creative form. It amalgamates new technology, filmmaking, photography, music, story and social purpose. These activities cut across boundaries in the arts, democratising the process of media making and establishing an anti heroic position for the artist/storyteller. The concept that is being developed is one of an interactive and conversational media that represents digital stories as an extension of the quotidian storytelling of everyday life. The project will develop new understandings of how digital storytelling has developed to this point and ways it could progress in future. The BBC Capture Wales project and the community applications that have grown from it will provide a focus for the work. The research will explore new modes of expression through developing multi media applications especially mobile phone technology. "

Another seven research projects have already arisen from this partnership, including one by Cardiff University which examined user-generated content at the BBC which I’ll write about another time.

Kate Strudwick, Breaking Barriers,
Kate Strudwick, centre, of Breaking Barriers, which evolved into Breaking Barriers Community Arts

Written and first published by Gareth Morlais on 26 November 2008.

Vulcan Pub, Cardiff

Stories are as much about the place where they’re shared as anything else. The walls of the old Vulcan Hotel in Cardiff have heard some gems over the years.
My favourite Cardiff writer is John Williams who, I believe, is a regular drinker here, along with other Anglo-Welsh writers like Des Barry (who himself is a fan of digital storytelling). The pub’s been marked for demolition to make room for car parking in January 2009. There’s objection here to the removal of an important Cardiff landmark. There’s been talk of re-building it brick by brick at St Ffagan, the Welsh Folk Musem.

The Vulcan was packed to the gunnels just before last night’s Wales v New Zealand rugby game. The stories and tall tales were flying there last night. We need to hold on to the spaces where we share stories and I hope the Vulcan can survive the developers’ JCBs.
Vulcan Hotel Pub Cardiff

Call for entries for best use of archive footage award

Dec 1 is the deadline for submission for the Focal International Awards 2009 for best use of archive footage in all kinds of productions, including short films like digital stories. According to the rules:
1. they’ll only consider entries containing moving-image archive, not stills
2. there’s a £57.50 submission fee per entry.
David Puttnam will present the awards to the winners in London on 5 May 2009.

Remembrance stories

Here are two stories made especially to mark the fact that 90 years have passed since the end of World War I:

Rappel – this is a music collaboration between Newport’s MC Gareth Leaman (Versatile) and DJ Jamie Winchester, Pentalk Lab, at the Riverfront in Newport. I’ve always been drawn to the storytelling aspect of rap and I think the mixing of rap with images of WWI by these two musicians gives a respectful contemporary reflection on the horrors of the Great War.

My River – children from Llandogo Primary School in Monmouth remember their relatives who fought in WWl. The device of children holding their old family photos up for the video camera is especially effective.

These were both produced by those people in the films together with BBC Wales’s Melanie Lindsell as part of Ninety Years of Remembrance. The River will be transmitted at five to midnight on BBC 1 TV on Tuesday 11 November.

Evidence of benefits to support funding bid

I was asked earlier today for links to reports outlining benefits of digital storytelling to communities by someone drafting a funding bid. I thought it might be useful to share these links with you. Many of these link to PowerPoint and PDF files:

Case studies about DS and older people – scotland

Case study about working with second-generation immigrants: English at bottom of page


therapeutic-effects-of-digital-storytelling where I posted a blog entry urging people to feed into

Arts in Health Strategy Unfortunately, there’s no mention of DS in the strategy.

Young people:

you may be able to pull out a quote from ELI7021.pdf

Education/public service … springer

Anthropology/developing countries

Please feel free to add your own in the comments.