Category Archives: digital storytelling

7 diary dates for UK digital storytellers in Jan & Feb 2014

Information Session on the new Creative Europe programme
MEDIA Antenna Wales and Media Academy Wales present an information session on the new Creative Europe programme at the University of South Wales, Atrium Cardiff Campus on Thursday 16 January 2014.

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Guardian Masterclass on video journalism and digital storytelling

Learn what it takes to create powerful and engaging video journalism – technically and editorially – from multimedia journalists who have made hundreds of short films for the Guardian.
Dates: Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January 2014
Times: 10am-5.30pm
In London

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Social Media Exchange – Enhance your Digital Storytelling

By sounddelivery
Monday 27 January 2014 from 09:00 to 18:00 in London

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CEWN: Living Longer, Living Well

Creative Exchange Wales Network
29th January 2014. 9.30-4.30. ATRiuM Cardiff

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Digital Storytelling for Public Engagement

10:00 – 16:30 Wednesday 5 February 2014
JISC Meeting Rooms, Brettenham House, London

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Creative Citizens: the conference – Royal College of Art

London September 18-19 2014

Send your abstracts to creativecitizensproject@gmail.com by 5pm (GMT) on Monday 20th January 2014.

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Superhighways

Offers digital storytelling training for charities and social enterprises in south London. Various dates.

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There are more in Wales than you might expect, because this is where I’m based.

Is there photo-archiving software that does this?

I need to start getting a grip on my digital archives this Christmas.
It would speed things up if there were a piece of PC software that does this:

It lets you either lassoo or CRL + click select a bunch of files and then select year > month > day so that file something.jpg gets renamed 20071123-something.jpg and other selected files get the date at the beginning too.

I’ve used Lupas rename in the past, but it doesn’t quite do what I want.

The difference between digital storytelling and TV

SoundDelivery is an organisation led by Jude Habib which does fantastic media work in the community. I was recorded one-to-one at DS8 by Andrea Protheroe for SoundDelivery and I’m grateful to her for sending me the piece on Audio Boo. She said: “Very much enjoyed the conference and my first visit to Cardiff. Hope to return next year.”

 

How to use ‘swooping’ in your storytelling

I made a presentation to Cardiff Geek Speak this month about ‘swooping in storytelling‘ and they asked me to put my presentation online. I haven’t put the whole thing here but I have highlighted  out one section, which looks at some of the elements that make up…

A great story

 E.g. Walking with Maurice by Hanne Jones on the BBC Capture Wales website.

·         Starts with one incident and work out from that.

·         Has a clear point of view (Hanne’s was a personal take).

·         Makes you give a damn – I can’t define how to do this, but I did care for Hanne and her Granddad.

·         Has the stepping-stone-effect: when you reach the other bank you can see where you came from and how you got here.

·         Is told to be heard, not read.

·         Works well even without visuals; would be a great radio piece.

·         Is just long enough.

 

·         Plants mystery bombs (“I found my soulmate” – who is that?)

·         Explodes each mystery bomb, when it’s time (“Maurice is not just my special friend; he is also my Granddad.”)

·         Reveals surprises: “we take time to walk slowly”

 

·         Has swoops of scale: zooms the imagination out from a teardrop at the corner of an eye to a sweeping forest vista.

·         Has swoops of emotion: “cries when he’s happy … and when he’s sad”

·         May have swoops of time: Hanne aged 5, 15, 25, in the future, and then back again.

·         Sometimes has swoops of place: the forest, the garden swing, heaven …

 

·         Etc…

When the storyteller gets this swooping right, they can produce butterflies in the tummy of the person listening to their story. This kind of emotional response is what makes stories memorable and storytellers unforgettable.

Swooping in storytelling - Peregrine Falcon AlaS 01
Swooping in storytelling – photo by Paul Sullivan.

 

Originally written and published by Gareth Morlais on 27 June 2013

DS8 digital storytelling conference review 2013

Digital storytellers from as far afield as Japan to Norway and from Egypt to Canton gathered together in Cardiff on 14 June 2013 for the DS8 digital storytelling conference.

The host, Karen Lewis, co-director of the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling thanked the sponsors – the Arts Council of Wales  welcomed everyone on behalf of DS Cymru and introduced the first guest speaker. (All speakers’ biographies are on the DS8 site)

Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose

Personal factual participation & collaboration are themes running through Mandy Rose‘s Video Nation, Capture Wales and academic career. Speaking of her time with BBC Video Nation, she said: “I think the veto we gave Video Nation diarists to opt out of having their video shown was a first at the BBC.”

Mandy was one of the leaders at BBC Cymru Wales who set up and ran Capture Wales digital storytelling. It was 12 years ago that the first training workshop in Wales happened, led by Joe Lambert and Nina Mullen of CDS. Mandy credited Daniel Meadows, seconded from http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/ to BBC Wales, for his vision. For example, citing how Daniel ensured Capture Wales was more than just a broadcast project, how important it was that people took a copy of their story home with them from the workshop and how inspiration came from Mass-Observation, early radio documentary makers and from Ivan Illich’s ideas in Tools for Conviviality.

Mandy Rose is now senior research fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, University of the West of England. She’s studying and instigating globally collaborative interactive real-life projects. She ended by challenging traditional broadcasters to engage with emerging participative video content forms and projects.

Pip Hardy
Pip Hardy

Pip Hardy was a memorable guest speaker at DS6 in Aberystwyth. I’ll never forget the digital story she showed back then of an anguished nurse told to fit a catheter in a dying patient because it would be “good practice” for him. In DS8 Pip tacked the ethics of digital storytelling at DS8. Attribution, no-derivative3, non-commercial Creative Commons licenses are the ones @PilgrimPip uses for Patient Voices. Pip screened an early Patient Voices digital story about a ‘closed’ circumcised Somali woman in a maternity ward, and then led a discussion about ethical issues raised in it.

Other morning breakout sessions were: David Frohlich Mobile Digital Storytelling for Development. Grete Jamissen/Suzana Sukovic – Digital Storytelling in Education; Rose Thompson  – Digital Storytelling: Medical Education for the Google Generation. Of the last in this list, Mike Wilson @profmikew tweeted: “Rose Thompson on how Internet as narrative vehicle has changed power relationship in clinical situations. Patients taking the lead now.”

After lunch, there were two further cracking guest speakers and I attended an inspiring breakout led by an old friend….

Darcy Alexandra
Darcy Alexandra

Darcy Alexandra began her presentation by showing powerful protest films from south and central America. One of a silent protest by relatives of family members who had been ‘disappeared’ and another by a film-maker from El Salvador who returned to her village to film a survivor of a massacre there some years ago. She then spoke of her work in the Republic of Ireland with people who were waiting in an asylum centre for their cases to be heard in court. She showed a film by a Serbian visual artist Vukasin who spoke with palpable sadness of not being able to be there at the end of his mother’s life after she warned him not to return to his home as it wasn’t safe for him. As in the case of many refugees and asylum seekers and others moving from one country to another for their won and their families’  safety,  when Vukasin’s mother died he was not even able to attend her funeral.

There have however been two uplifting outcomes for Vukasin today:  he has ” received leave to remain in Ireland, and completed an MA in Visual Arts.” Do watch Vukasin’s digital story.

Yasmin Elayat
Yasmin Elayat

“What if we can get a country to write its own history?” The energy of young Egyptian video-makers and social media commentators was carried into DS8 like a flag by #18daysinEgypt’s Yasmin Elayat. She spoke of their use of social media in sharing the story of the revolution in Egypt by the people protesting. Tools like Mozilla Popcorn Maker help to add contextual metadata to each story when presenting unfolding events. And there were some stories I hadn’t heard before: like the lovers who met after making fleeting eye contact across a crowded Tarhir Square; the image of charging military rushing the photo journalist who captioned it ‘the image that nearly took me’; and the motorcycle-riders who rode where ambulances couldn’t reach and skidded into tear gas clouds to rescue the injured.

There was a great question at the end of Yasmin’s session, about the fragility of archives. Greece’s national broadcaster has just closed, said the questioner. What happens to these videos and stories if social media sites go under? This is a safeguarding question I’d like to explore some more. Especially considering how precious these artifacts are if the challenge is for individuals to collectively write their own history.

Aske Dam
Aske Dam

I’ve known Aske Dam of IMA Norway for some time. He came to observe an early digital storytelling workshop I worked on with post-graduate students of Cardiff University’s JOMEC with Daniel Meadows and the rest of the Capture Wales team. Aske’s also worked extensively in Japan and is highly-respected by the people I know there. His breakout session was a call for communities to use local cinemas and cinema technology to share and respond to each others’ digital stories. Instead of showing PowerPoint slides, Aske made his presentation using the DLP (Digital Light Processing) digital cinema format on Chapter’s cinema projector.

Because I’m so interested in hyperlocal media, I was delighted when Aske showed examples of Japan’s early rural local cable TV broadcasts. Farming prices were chalked onto a blackboard, with a black-and-white camera pointing at it. Presenters dialled into the local police station live on camera and asked the officer if there had been any accidents today. Local stories were written by local people and then acted out live on TV by professional touring drama companies. Every piece of content was relevant to its local rural audience.

Aske also spoke of the importance of local radio after disasters like Japan’s 3/11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident in 2011. When mobile phone and other communications networks were down, lists of the survivors and those who’d been killed were drawn up in shop windows and local reporters would read the names on radio.

Other afternoon breakout sessions were by one of Britain’s busiest digital storytellers Alex Henry  about using iPad technology to capture memories of Newcastle’s heritage. And Carlotta Allum spoke about her Stretch Story Box project.

The afternoon was brought to a close with thanks to the organisers, speakers, sponsors (Arts Council of Wales) and a look ahead to an evening of storytelling later on at Chapter, Cardiff.

I’d summarise the theme of DS8 as being about citizens’ use of social media and digital storytelling in documenting events truthfully and in seeking justice.

This Wales digital storytelling conference review is something I’ve done every year. Because it’s so dark in the hall, I do apologise to the speakers for the poor quality of my photos.

If you’d like to read previous years’ reviews, here are the links:

DS7 (2012);  DS6 (2011); DS5 (2010); DS4 (2009), DS3 (2008) and DS2 (2007). Unfortunately, the record of DS1 is no longer online.

Storybird is working on multilingual story-sharing

I was delighted to read the news in Guardian Education about “E-publishing and digital storytelling”

They say Storybird harnesses “the power of great art to stimulate creative thoughts and writing and could be used in any language”. Well, now Storybird is working on a soultion. It would be great to see, for example, Welsh-language stories being made and shared on this platform.

The Guardian also gives honourable mentions to the Book Creator app and to Puppet Pals, Sock Puppets and Strip Design where students can design and make their own comic strips.

Running a personal storytelling workshop with a large group

This article is about running a storytelling workshop with a large group.

Canadian digital storyteller Kent Manning contacted Barrie Stephenson and I recently with a question: “I’m conducting a digital storytelling session next month for a group of 26 educators. I value the story circle part of the process as this is the way I was taught by the folks at CDS. Would you have any suggestions for conducting story circle time with such a large group? Would you have individuals share their stories with the large group? Small group sharing perhaps?”

Here’s what I suggest:

26 is a big group. You could either split it into three and hold three storycircles or here’s a suggestion that may help.

1. Pair people up and ask each to talk for two minutes about ‘the most remarkable day of my life’. Their partner takes notes and will relate their partner’s story in the next step.

2. Bring neighboring pairs together into six or seven groups of four. The tell each other’s stories of their big day to this small group.

3. Bring neighboring quads together into three groups of eight or so people for the Love/Hate game.

4. If you want one preparatory activity with all 26 together, Gilly Adams’s Match Game is the one I suggest.

5. Back to the three groups of eight will be the best way to develop the stories each participant intends to tell.

For other Story Circle activity ideas, see also this page with seven articles about helping people to capture their story in a digital storytelling workshop.

Photo is either by Huw Davies or Carwyn Evans. I can't remember which, sorry.
Kent got back in touch afterwards to say:

“I employed a couple of the strategies you mentioned at my DS session in New York City. The group was a close knit bunch and all had very good working relationships so small group interaction as you suggest below worked the best. And then we gathered as a larger group to talk about our stories.

The teachers came prepared to the workshop with story ideas and photos, so we used the morning as a writers workshop and most folks had a working draft by noon. It was at this point we started our conversations and story circles in depth.”

If you’ve worked with larger groups and have tips or experiences to share, feel free to use Comments.

Written and first published by Gareth Morlais on 5 May 2013.