Category Archives: empowerment

New website for BBCA: see many of their 800 digital stories – and a bouncing rabbit

On Facebook today, Natasha James, manager of Breaking Barriers Community Arts*, announced the launch of the organisation’s brand new website:


“We have a new website We’d love you to check it out and give some feedback as well as enjoy watching some stories.”

Apart from viewing digital stories and community videos, the website gives details of Training the Trainers workshops, talks about how they develop and manage both digital storytelling and video projects (including video examples of past projects).

There are insights into the storytellers, such as Conway Caswell was part of a group of stroke victims who met regularly. He graduated with a degree in English Literature later in life, but ill health stopped him being able to complete his Masters. This story gave Conway an outlet for his love of writing and he sent a copy to each of his brothers at Christmas.

* In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I’m on BBCA’s board of directors.

Digital Storytelling Pod Ep02-Tamales and Stories with Cheryl Colan

This is the second episode of the audio podcast for digital storytellers: Digital Storytelling Pod with Gareth Morlais. (See ep01 too).

Podcast feed: Audio RSS (MP3)dspod-ep02.mp3

(Right-click and
‘Save Link As…’ if you’d like to save the audio mp3 file
‘Open Link in New Tab’ if you want to keep the shownotes open)

Cheryl Colan is a digital storyteller and trainer from Phoenix, Arizona, USA. I recorded this interview with Cheryl in Cardiff, Wales, July 2011. She was in the UK leading a Digital Storytelling summer school with Study Abroad Britain. She’s led digital training groups to Australia and her motto is Trust Your Story.

Shownotes: links
Cheryl Colan –
Shelley Rodrigo –
Jim Groom –
About Tamales (Mexican food)
Creative Commons –
DS106 – This is open online digital storytelling course that began at the University of Mary Washington and now thrives as a community of international learners.

There’s more about Cheryl in this Aberth Digital Storytelling Blog post.

The audio is released under Creative Commons license:
Creative Commons Licence
Digital Storytelling Pod Ep01 by Gareth Morlais is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Premila Gamage, Sri Lankan Digital Storyteller

It’s International Women’s Day today. This year’s theme centres on Empowering Rural Women. So today’s the day I want to talk about a digital storyteller I met in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in December 2011. Premila Gamage works at the Institute of Policy Studies, Colombo; in her spare time she’s taking the tools of digital storytelling to rural areas of Sri Lanka, encouraging people to tell their stories, publishing them online and helping people realise the dreams they outline in their stories.

I’d been was introduced to Premila via email by Sarah Copeland who’d met Premila because they were both studying at Leeds Metropolitan University. So Premila and I made arrangements to meet at her office in Colombo.

Premila Gamage

I could tell straight away that Premlia was a person with a strong social conscience. She’s been investigating digital inclusion and her speciality is Policy. Bearing in mind the evidence that digital storytelling can bring about policy change via health-related projects such as Patient Voices and Story Works in the UK, using such personal accounts in Sri Lanka sounds like a promising route to ignite social change.

Premila told me that she and her fellow digital storytellers have set up Lanka Community Information Initiative – – which works with “marginalized and disadvantaged communities to access new and old communication technologies to enhance their quality of life.”

Here’s an example of one of LCII’s digital stories. Umesha Lakshika gives a glimpse of life for students of the Prabhavi Resources Center, Werankatagoda, Ampara, Sri Lanka. The resource centre consists of a library, Nenasala (ICT centre and digital inclusion project) and classes.

Premila says would benefit from more digital storytelling equipment to help their work in rural areas of Sri Lanka. It doesn’t have to be brand new. If you’re able to contribute digital cameras, digital audio recorders, video cameras, laptops to, please contact them to make arrangements

I spoke with Premila via email earlier today and she said:

“At the moment we are working with Macaldeniya school and community – a very remote area in a tea estate – the most deprived members (of the Tamil ethnic group in Sri Lanka) are Estate Tamils. With the generous support of CILIP (Charted Institute of Library and Information Professionals) in the UK we built a library for the school and community. We finished with the first phase of the project – and opened the library. The next phase will be introducing DST for these people as we did in the other projects. We are desparately trying to find some support to carry out the second phase – the DST!”

Photos of the Macaldeniya project.

Further information.

International Women’s Day only comes around once a year, but the work that Premila Gamage and LCII does all year round in the poorest rural areas of Sri Lanka is really inspiring. So if you feel able to help, please do get in touch with LCII.

Designing a New Media Forest of Japan

The whole world remembers the 3.11 March 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.

Japanese participatory media research group MELL Platz is conducting a public research seminar on 10 December 2011 at the Tohoku University in Sendai, in the area which was so badly affected by the tragic events.

It’s called “Designing A New Media Forest of Japan: From Civic Generated Narratives and Memories of Post 3.11.”

The event begins with a workshop for participants to share their narratives and memories of the 3.11 east Japan great disaster.
This is followed by a panel discussion about the future media ecosystem (the Media Forest) of Japan after 3.11.

On the platform will be Kenji Kai (Sendai Mediateque), Martin Fackler (New York Times), Shin Mizukoshi (Univ. of Tokyo). Chairing the session will be Kuniko Sakata (Tohoku Univ.) and Kiyoko Toriumi (Univ. of Tokyo).
There’s more information on the MELL Platz website.
via @shinkeugri

Read also about some of the innovative projects of the “Media Exprimo” Shin Mizukoshi group.

Daniel Meadows – early photographic works (video)

Many readers of this blog will be familiar with the work of Daniel Meadows. He was founder and creative director of BBC Capture Wales and teaches digital storytelling module at Cardiff University. Before this, he was a well-known documentary photographer.

There are retrospective views of his work coming soon:

1. in the form of a new book called “Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s” by Val Williams. Published by Photoworks.

2. in an exhibition at the National Media Museum, Bradford, called “Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works” curated by Val Williams. It runs from 30th September 2011 – 19th February 2012.

Daniel has just published a video setting the scene, where he explains how he became a kind of “mediator for other people’s stories”. He also explains how he was drawn to digital storytelling because it’s “a kind of access-level but nevertheless elegant form that people can learn quickly”.

Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works from National Media Museum on Vimeo.

If you’d like to know more about Daniel and the retrospectives, and you live in the UK, buy the Financial Times on Saturday 3rd September 2011 for an eight-page preview in the FT Magazine.

As someone who’s admired Daniel’s work and ethos for many years, it’s great to see his work getting a wider airing this year.

Stories from the Sole at the Eisteddfod

I’ve been working at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham all this week and there have been some nice digital inclusion stories here that I’ve come across…

Age Cymru have been doing some great work in encouraging older people who aren’t currently using computers or the internet to get an idea of how digital tools might be able to enhance their lives.



Merched y Wawr – a Welsh women’s organisation – had the fantastic idea of raising money by auctioning famous women’s shoes. They called the campaign Sodlau’n Siarad / Stories from the Sole. The lovely touch was the story the auctioneers told about each pair. At the auction last night I heard Heledd Cynwal telling stories about the shoes as the bidding warmed up. The fact that the donors attached a story to their stilletos, slingbacks or daps made the shoes more desirable and the total raised higher.


Digital Stories may be ideal for Welsh TV channel S4C

This sounds like an interesting opportunity for someone who wants to pitch an idea for a series of Welsh-language digital stories to S4C. It’s from the Content section of S4C’s Vision for 2012 and Beyond (PDF).

“We will establish a new brand, Calon Cenedl (heart of the nation), a series of short programmes approximately three-minutes long to be broadcast at 20.25. The content will offer us the opportunity to exhibit the full range of Welsh life in a series of portrayals about areas, communities and people. This new brand can be extended to include half-hour programmes at other times during peak hours when the editorial strength of the idea merits it.”

Rami Malkawi needs people to make a digital story with his new prototype

Rami Malkawi is a Jordanian University of Glamorgan PhD researcher and he needs our help to try out his new wizard-based digital storytelling prototype for learning.

The tool works on most computers that can have Adobe Air and Flash installed and is a step-by-step digital storytelling ‘machine’.

The 30MB executable file is available from this SpeedyShare link or by clicking the link at the bottom of the first post of Rami’s blog.

The tool’s wizard guides users through the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling in a user-friendly way. Camtasia screen-capture software has been used to publish additional video tutorials on the blog. These guide users through the steps needed to make a digital story with this tool.

Rami’s now at the test/refine stage and I know he’d really appreciate hearing back from people who download and make a story with the tool. You can use the Comments form on Rami’s blog to do this. These comments and the stories made with the tool may form part of the evidence for his PhD Thesis.

In Wales, Communities 2.0 GEECs are among the testers; I’m looking forward to making a story with the tool; in Jordan, Rami’s conducting face-to-face trials right now.

All Rami needs now is for people around the world to download, make a story with the tool and give feedback. If you make a story, please send me a link too so I can highlight some here.

Rami’s project blog.
More about Rami on this blog.

Culture Shock! museums and galleries digital storytelling conference 29 Sept 2011

It’s always a treat to hear about a brand new digital storytelling conference. And here’s some news of a new one one this autumn in the north-east of England.

Culture Shock! is one of the biggest digital storytelling projects in the world. At the time of writing they’ve published 560 stories on their website and they’re holding a major conference at Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on Thursday 29 September 2011 – Culture Shock! 2011.

The conference programme looks really interesting: Alex Henry, project co-ordinator at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, talks about the Culture Shock! project itself; Barrie Stephenson of Digistories answers the question ‘What is digital storytelling?’; and there are sessions called ‘Digital Storytelling – why bother?’ and ‘Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy’.

Breakout sessions include ones about exploring hidden histories through digital storytelling; using the story circle to engage participants in the process; using the form to support lifelong learning; and the ethics of digital storytelling.

Registration is open now. Tickets cost £50 which includes refreshments and lunch.

Read more stories about Culture Shock! on this blog…

Culture Shock! 2011 flyer